Sam Roi Yot National Park
98-sq-km 'Three Hundred Peaks' national park includes some
of the finest examples of shoreline habitat remaining in Thailand.
Located on the western seaboard of the Gulf of Thailand at
the thinnest part of the southern isthmus, the park includes
fine beaches, caves and wetland habitats. Limestone hills,
rising as high as 605 meters, present fine views of the coast
Sam Roi Yot is one of the country's best bird watching sites.
It is particularly notable for migratory shore birds and waterfowl.
Of 275 recorded bird species, 60 are mainly confined within
the park. Sightings include rare species such as the purple
heron (one of only two breeding sites in Thailand), white-bellied
sea eagle, and spotted and imperial eagles. Mammals include
the goat-antelope or serow, still widespread in the park,
slow loris, Malayan porcupine, crab-eating macaque, mongoose,
leopard cat and leopard. Irrawaddy dolphins can sometimes
be seen offshore.
can see the main attractions along the hiking trails that
criss-cross the park. The Khao Krachom trail leads to the
top of the tallest hill, near the center of the park. Steep
trails lead to the fine beaches of Sam Phraya and Laem Sala
or alternatively boats can be hired from Ban Bang Pu. A popular
trip is the two-hour boat cruise along the Khao Daeng Canal,
from near the park headquarters. Passing through mangroves
and wetland habitats, the trip is most popular at sunset.
park has three outstanding caves. Phraya Nakhon Cave can be
reached on foot from Ban Bang Pu or by boat. The trail is
steep and rocky. Tham Phraya Nakhon has two sinkholes and
a pavilion built for a visit by King Rama V in 1896. The cave
was named for Phraya Nakhon, ruler of the city-state of Nakhon
Si Thammarat, who inadvertently discovered it over 200 years
ago when a gale forced his ship ashore.
tunnels and interlinked chambers characterize Kaeo Cave. You
can rent a lamp to see the calcite-encrusted walls, which
glisten like jewels, giving it the name 'Crystal Cave'. Sai
Cave is located off the road between Sam Phraya Beach and
Pranburi. A 20-minute climb gets you to the single large cavern
where villagers rent out lamps to see the calcified 'waterfalls'.
Sam Roi Yot is located about 320 km south of Bangkok or 37
km south of Pranburi. Songthaews run from Pranburi to Ban
Bang Pu from where you have to walk to the park headquarters.
Better is to charter a vehicle for around 300 baht for the
whole trip. Forestry Department bungalows for eight to 20
people are available at the park headquarters or at Sam Phraya
Beach. Tents can also be hired. Restaurants are available
at both the park headquarters and at Sam Phraya Beach. For
advanced reservations, call the Forestry Department in Bangkok
on +66 2 561-4292.
best time to visit the park is between September and March
when the migratory birds are present in great numbers. Bring
along binoculars or hire a pair from the park headquarters.
Bring along mosquito repellant too. King Mongkut died from
malaria two months after contracting the disease at Khao Sam
Roi Yot. There isn't much risk of malaria these days, but
the mosquitoes can still be irritating.
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