Sunday, February 22, 2009

Khao Sam Roi Yot

A very beautiful coastal area not that far from the touristic hotspot Hua Hin is the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. The name Khao Sam Roi Yot (เขาสามร้อยยอด) means threehundred mountain peaks, which already gives an idea on the nature of the park. It consists of a group of hills directly at the shore to the Gulf of Thailand, with a plain wetland surrounded by the hills. And even though the park established in 1966 was the first Marine National Park in Thailand, most of the area is in fact on shore - of the total area of 98.08 km² only 20.88 km² is marine.

Though the freshwater marshes surrounded by the hills are the most valuable natural resource, several shrimp farms have been established there, not just destroying the original landscape directly, but also the surroundings from the toxic wastes. If you look at the area with Google Earth you can clearly see all these artificial lakes lacking all the natural green plant cover. A real shame in my opinion.

Wile from a protectionists look these wetlands are the most important landform of the park, for the normal visitor the small sandy beach and the coastal hills are the more interesting views. When we went there - two cars fully packed with Thai people and one Farang - at first they somehow managed to convice the park officer that we are only heading into the park area to buy seafood and thus saved to pay the entrance fee. But then at the fishing village of Bang Pu it has a big parking lot, and from there a food path around one hill to the Sam Phraya beach. The path was only quite steep in some parts and thus quite tiring with the strong sunny, but very well built and easy to walk. While it is also possible to hire a boat to get around the cape, from the path one has much better views on the scenery.

Then from the beach one has to walk up another food path, this one even more steep and along a dry river bed, to reach the highlight of the park. Within a cave with the roof collapsed it has a Sala erected when King Chulalongkorn visited there in 1890. On the cave wall it also has the royal emblems of King Vajiravudh and Bhumibol, who also visited there. The most beautiful photos of that Sala show it illuminated by the sunlight falling through the cave roof, in mine it was already (or still) in the shadow. This Sala is such a significant building it forms the provincial symbol of Prachuap Khiri Khan, but even without it the place would be much worth to visit just by its natural beauty.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Lucky you I had to pay! I was a little disappointed the day we went because of the lack of birds but I think that was more poor timing on my part.