Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
Located in the west of Thai Gulf, in the territory of Kuiburi District, Sam Roi Yot Sub District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is Thailand's first coastal National Park in 1996, covering the area of approximately 98.8 sq.km. The landscape is high steep limestone mountains by the beautiful coast, matching with plain area stand by the sea, which are marshy beach and shallow sea pond. There are limestones islands nearby the coast e.g., Sattakut Island, Kho Ram Island, Nom Sao Island, Rawing Island, Rawang Island and Khi Nok Island. The flat area with stagnant water through the year on the west of the park is Thung Sam Roi Yot, which is the large freshwater marsh, covering around 36.8 sq.km.
The name Khao Sam Roi Yot can be translated into "The Mountain With Three Hundred Peaks", a series of magnificent grey limestone mountains, which rise dramatically from the Gulf of Thailand and adjacent coastal marsh to a maximum height of 605 m.
The wooded mountains make it a site of outstanding natural beauty, but it is the freshwater marsh and coastal habitats (an important stopover and breeding area for birds), that gives the park great ecological significance. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park also has great recreational and educational value. It offers the visitor a tremendous variety of attractions. These include fine sandy beaches, spectacular caves, superb mountain viewpoints, offshore islands, forest trails, boat.
excursions, and estuarine and mangrove habitats, all within a relatively small area. This unparalleled variety of habitats makes it one of the most interesting national parks in Thailand.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park contains a diverse array of habitats: ten distinctive habitat zones in all. One of the most interesting is the dry limestone mountains. These are sparsely covered by dwarf evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs which grow in the thin soils and on the barren rock. The average rainfall is just over a metre, falling mainly between August and November. This quickly drains away so plants have had to adapt to this unique environment. A mixed deciduous forest, including areas of secondary growth and bamboo grows on the foothills and in the valleys.
Thung Sam Roi Yot, the largest freshwater marsh in Thailand, provides an important environment for a large number of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has recognized these fragile wetlands as a site of global importance. Other areas of habitat include scrub, salt pan, cultivated areas, mudflats, brackish waters, mangroves, sand beaches, offshore islets, and open sea.
The geological characteristic here is very high steep limestone that becomes the high steep cliffs as well as the deep abyss. The highest peak of the hills is 605 meters above the mean sea level. The most fascinating are Khao Yai, Khao Tham Prathun, Khao Daeng, Khao Khan Ban Dai and etc. The limestone land had been worn away by natural impact till became caves or abyss such as Tam Kaeo, Tam Sai, Tam Phraya Nakhon Cave and etc.
Phraya Nakhon Cave
This vast cavern high on a hill with a royal history is a favourite destination for visitors to the park. The cave is actually two large sinkholes, the roofs of which have collapsed allowing sunlight & rain to reach the floor, where trees have rooted reaching for the ceiling.
The cave was named for Phraya Nakhon, a former ruler who discovered it over 200 years ago after being forced ashore by a violent storm. The central focus within the cave is a four-gabled roofed pavillion bathed by natural light, which was built for the visit of King Rama V on June 20th, 1890.
This royal pavillion has become the symbol of the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan. King Rama VII visited the cave in June 1926, and one can view the signatures left by both kings on the walls. King Bhumipol (King Rama IX), the present King of Thailand has twice visited Phraya Nakhon continuing the royal legacy.
Phraya Nakhon Cave can be reached from Laem Sala Beach, by a steep rocky trail, 430 m. long and rising to a height of 130m., taking about 30 minute to climb. Caution should be used and proper footwear worn as the rock is sharp and can be slippery.
Located in the Chan Valley, 16 kilometers far from the headquarters to Bang Pu. It is a beautiful cave that has clear and translucent stalactites and stalagmites. Walking in the cave is quite hard because of the dark and unsmooth floor with full of small and big stones, so that pressure lantern or flashlight will be needed and the park's officers have to be guide leaders in the cave tour trip approximately 2 hours.
Khao Daeng Viewpoint
400 meters on the asphalt street from the headquarter and another 300 meters going up to the hill, taking around 30 minutes, there is a viewpoint at the peak that stands 157 meters above the mean sea level. The time for a very good view is in early morning about 5.30 am. because we could see the sun rise from the rim of the sea at Ban Khao Daeng as well as the other beautiful surrounding. And also birds, sam crab-eating macaques, monkeys and semnopithecus that come out to find foods in the early morning too.
Khao Daeng Canal
1.5 kilometers from the headquarters, the popular activity for tourists is a boat trip by rent a boat from Ban Khao Daeng along the canal around 3-4 kilometers, approximately 1 hour taken per round. During the boat triping with a mangrove forest view, the tourists would see various kinds of birds. The most appropriated time for this trip is 16.30-17.30 because this is the sunset time.
Laem Sala Beach
This cape has a fine sandy beach protected on three sides by limestone hills, and when approached from the sea it appears to be an island. Amongst the plantation of casuarina (a pine like tree), you will find a restaurant, bungalows, a camping area, a small visitor center, a picnic shelter, and washrooms. Laem Sala is accessible either by land or water.
A boat, holding up to 10 persons, can be hired from Bang Pu Village for the trip, which takes about 30 minutes. Laem Sala Beach can also be reached by taking a steep, but well constructed trail, starting near the seashore about 200 m. from the village's temple. This 20 minutes walk offers a splendid views of the coast and offshore islands.