Living in Thailand for quite some time now, we still stumble across amazing places that are truly undiscovered. What makes that even funnier for us is that one of us is a Thai national so you would think we would know all the good places by default. When we visited Khao Sam Roi National Park for the first time, we were impressed and pissed off at the same time – impressed by the variety of ecosystems available in the same locations and pissed off that we hadn’t discovered this place sooner.
Khao Sam Roi Yot (translating to “mountain of 300 peaks,”) is located about 60 miles south of Hua Hin in Thailand along the south-western coast. This location is blessed with a variety of ecosystems making it a blast for tourists who want nature in various forms. Khao Sam Roi Yot combines limestone mountains, freshwater marshlands, coastal beaches, shrimp fishing, cave exploration, offshore islands and mangrove swamps. We are not bird watchers but the park office told us it is home to over 316 species of birds and over 50 species of mammals. Not many other places in Thailand provide beaches, caves, wildlife and mountain scenery all in one place.
Khao Sam Roi Yot: Best Things to See & Do
One can honestly spend a good portion of their day at Khao Sam Roi with over ten different area to check out and visit (not including the resorts and shrimp farms). Here are some of the major attractions we’d recommend you explore:
First, visit the Park Office – you won’t be able to go anywhere without a pass so just purchase a full day pass to all attractions. They run for about THB 200 per person.
Next, check out Khao Daeng Mountain (Khao Daeng) which is about 400 meters from the park office. It is a 30-minute climb (make sure to wear shoes) that takes you to an elevation of 157 meters. A panoramic view of the coastal area and mountain scenery are the rewards. Visit at dawn to catch a glimpse of the sunrise from the sea, and watch the wildlife come out for breakfast. No feeding the animals though!
You can check out Sam Phraya Beach (Hat Sam Phraya) which is a beautiful beach with accommodation facilities. Great idea to check in and then continue on your way. They also offer motorbike rentals if needed. A restaurant and washrooms are also available.
Related: Thailand’s Best Beaches
For some cool down try Sai Cave. You first need to climb a bit up the mountain but then a huge cave welcomes you with a cool, fresh breeze. Nothing says mystery, like exploring a stalactite and stalagmite riddled cavern. Usually, there is a guide who takes you down the cave (for free). Watch out for the bats!
If you have a set of wheels, take a drive to Laem Sala Beach. To reach the beach one needs to go by boat or cross from Bang Pu Village. Here you can also find Phraya Nakhon Cave. Phraya Nakhon Cave is about 400 meters from Sala Beach and is actually two large sinkholes, the roofs of which have collapsed allowing sunlight and rain to reach the floor, where trees have grown reaching for the ceiling. It is home to the famous photographed Royal Pavilion of King Rama V of 1890.
Lastly, there is Khao Daeng Canal. This canal can be cruised from Khao Daeng Temple and offers a way to explore the mangrove forests and also watch birds. Hire a boat in Khao Daeng village. A 10 passenger boat takes a 1.5 to 2 hours cruise along the canal providing sights of various species of birds and trees. The best time is in the early morning or late afternoon (about 4 to 5 pm). It really is an amazing way to end the day.
Related: Unusual Places to Visit in Thailand
Getting to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
With Khao Sam Roi Yot being about 250 km from Bangkok, there are a few options to take, depending on how much you want to see and how much you want to spend. Of course, the easiest way would be to hop in a car (or rent one) and drive the 3 to 4-hour route directly to the park.
Keep in mind though that there’s no direct public transport to Khao Sam Roi national park from Bangkok so you need to go past to Pranburi first. Here are a few of your options.
Train: You can also hop on a train that departs from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station at around 3:00 pm and stops in Pranburi six hours later. Fares for the train run from THB 50 for third class up to THB 250 for first class. The train also stops in Hua Hin if you want to take a detour.
Bus: Many of the southbound buses from Bangkok’s Sai Tai Mai terminal, stop in Pranburi and leave regularly throughout the day. You won’t always see a sign for Pranburi on the ticket booths, so make sure to ask any booth advertising buses to Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon or Surat Thani. Buses from southern points can also drop passengers in Pranburi.
Once in Pranburi, Songthaews (pickup trucks with railings in the back for seating) run every 30 minutes and cost about 50 baht per person from 8:00 to 16:00. Otherwise, you can hire a private songthaew or car for THB 500, or motorbike taxi for THB 200. Be sure to tell the driver your specific destination.
Now you have an excuse to escape the hustle and bustle of traditional tourist destinations. Make sure to add Khao Sam Roi Yot to your dream list. There is always more information available on the park’s website.