Thailand

Khao Sam Roi Yot: The Mountain with Three Hundred Peaks

Stu Brown

Stu Brown

January 30, 2017

I had no idea what to expect when I was teaching English in Thailand and joined a bunch of like-minded adventurous Westerners that had invited me to tag along to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park early one Sunday morning. In fact, nobody seemed to have any clue of where they were going other than the fact that we had been told that it was really beautiful and had a few caves and waterfalls that we could hike to. As such, it seemed a good idea to embark on this journey and oh boy was it a pleasant surprise when we arrived at “The Mountain with Three Hundred Peaks”!

The following showcases the best of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. You have to be quite strange if it doesn’t make you want to visit this heaven on earth bursting with limestone cliffs, Thailand’s largest freshwater marshland, waterfalls, caves, white sand beaches, indigenous wildlife and sunsets that will never escape your memory. What a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Hua Hin city this was.

 

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Khao Daeng Viewpoint

Incredible view from Khao Daeng Viewpoint

There are two options for getting from the national park’s headquarters to Laem Sala Beach and Phraya Nakhon Cave – both two areas you cannot leave this national park without visiting.

The Khao Daeng Viewpoint is located on an isolated limestone cliff with picturesque 360 degree views of the surrounding coastline, islands and lush mountains.

This viewpoint is found along the quick and easy 20-minute trail to Laem Sala Beach – an alternative to the 3 to 5 minute long-tail boat ride that is available at 85 Baht per person for those that wish to save their energy for the hike to the cave. Photo by Andrew Jacona

Khao Daeng Canal

Limestone cliffs accompany travelers on the Khao Daeng Boat Tour in Thailand

The boat ride tours through the Mangrove forests is a must do when visiting Khao Sam Roi Yot, especially if you are a bird enthusiast and crazy about water activities. Jump aboard a long-tail boat with one of the friendly national park guides just in time to catch the eye-melting sunsets that grace the area and you will not regret a second of it. Photo by Mangrove Action Action Project

Sam Phraya Beach

Sam Phraya beach is the less visited beach at Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Being the first coastal national park to bless Thailand, this national park comes with more than just limestone cliffs with spectacular views. Sam Phraya Beach stretches out over 2 km of white sand lined with tons of pine trees. Sam Phraya Beach is slightly less visited compared to Laem Sala Beach making it one of the most tranquil spots to reside when visiting the national park.

A restaurant sits in between the pine trees and allows a shady escape from the hot sun for some food and refreshments. Although no bungalows are present, the adventurous spirit can rent a tent for 210 Baht for the night and enjoy a night out under the stars listening to the sounds of nature put you to sleep. Photo by Khao Sam Roi Yot

Sai Cave and Kaeo Cave

Entrance to the Sai Cave at Khao Sam Roi Yot national park

Sai Cave is situated about 9 km north-east from the national park headquarters and can only be accessed via a 300 metre trail on the coastline road. Stalagmites and stalactites are scattered throughout the cave’s interior creating a beautiful display for geology enthusiasts and all that enjoy true natural beauty.

The cave is rather dark so I highly advise you to rent a torch or lantern from the national park if visiting during the week – the cave is lit up during weekends however.

Very similar to the likes of Sai Cave, Kaeo Cave is located 16 km from the national park’s headquarters towards Bang Pu Village. Stalactites and stalagmites are scattered throughout this cave and the slightly rougher surfaces in this cave make it mandatory to visit with one of the park guides. Photo by Hua Hin 4 Rent

Phraya Nakhon Cave

The royal pavilion lit up in Phraya Nakhon Cave

Phraya Nakhon Cave is the most popular and prestigious sight to visit on Khao Sam Roi Yot. The cave consists of 2 different sink-holes which were formed when the cave collapsed many years ago. This lights up the royal pavilion which goes by the name of Phra Thinang Khuha Kharuhat which was created for King Rama V’s visits to the cave.

It also represents Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. The discovery of this cave dates back to over 200 years ago by the Thai ruler, Phraya Nakhon, who was forced to head ashore to Laem Sala Beach during a storm. Since its discovery, it has been the most visited sight by all Thai rulers. Photo by Amazing Places on Earth

Laem Sala Beach

Laem Sala Beach is the most beautiful beach in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Located at the foot of the trail which leads visitors up to Phraya Nakhon Cave, Laem Sala Beach boasts a 1 km stretch of white sand and a perfect combination of tropical palm and pine trees. This beach has a unique island feel to it which sets it apart from other areas on the park with various uninhabited islands viewable in the distance and it can only be accessed via a long-tail boat or 20-minute hike from the park’s headquarters.

A very laid-back restaurant is situated in amongst the trees with a great variety of meals and both alcoholic and soft drinks. Both bungalows and tents can be rented to stay overnight at Laem Sala Beach. Please note this – this beach is so damn beautiful, you will find it hard to leave so make sure that you have ample time to explore other areas of the national park if you find yourself on Laem Sala Beach. But hey, that’s not a bad thing.

Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh

Bueng-Bua-Thung-Sam-Roi-Yot

The largest freshwater marsh in Thailand located to the north-west of the park, Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh boasts the best views of the mountains and limestone cliffs in the whole of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.

It also comprises the highest amount and variety of wildlife species in the park with waterbirds, songbirds, various other wetland species, and amphibians ever so present. The 1 km wooden board walk which sits over the marshland next to the visitor centre provides spectacular views with a vast variety of birdlife to be seen.

Accommodation is quite scarce here but visitors are allowed to camp if they bring their own tents along. Photo by  Siam Van Travel

Sunsets

Beautiful sunset at Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh

On the western side of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park one can see some exquisite sunsets – a perfect end to the perfect day. This photo was taken on the wooden board-walk at Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh. Photo by Siam Van Travel 

Accommodation

As mentioned earlier, accommodation comes in all sorts in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. Bungalows and camping sites are scattered along Laem Sala Beach, while a campsite is also present along the shores of Sam Phraya Beach. If you are to visit Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh and wish to stay the night on this corner of the park, you will need to bring along your own tent.

 

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