About Khao Sam Roi Yot
Covering about 98 km², Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is located on the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province right south of Hua Hin. It is the first marine national park of Thailand.
Khao Sam Roi Yot means "The mountain with three hundred peaks" and refers to a series of limestone hills along the Gulf of Thailand with the highest one at 605 meters asl. The northwest corner of the mountain range is called Thung Sam Roi Yot and is mainly freshwater marsh covering nearly 37% of the national park which makes it the largest wetlands area in Thailand.
The main attractions of the national park are Phraya Nakhon Cave with its iconic royal pavilion and huge chamber, Kaeo Cave and Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh. The park is also a nice destination for its rich wildlife in freshwater marsh and mangrove forests, beautiful beaches, limestone islands, trails and viewpoints. It is easily accessible, only 60 km south from Hua Hin and nearly 3 hours from Bangkok.
The rainy season in the national park is May to November with the most rainfall in September to November. The rest of the year is quite dry.
Khao Sam Roi Yot is home to a great diversity of bird species making it another great destination for birders. Around 355 bird species recorded from the park, half of them migratory birds. It is one of the best places in Thailand to see waterbirds on the flight path between Asia and Australia around January/February. Few of the interesting bird species that has only been recorded in the park are Jack snipe, purple swamphen, spotted crake and water rail. Few other birds to mention are; Malaysian plover, Kentish plover, white-bellied sea eagle, greater spotted eagle, oriental hobby, eastern marsh harrier, spoon-billed sandpiper.
The forests on the mountains are home to some mammals like fishing cat, dusky leaf monkey, crab-eating macaque, Malayan porcupine, Indochinese serow, Sunda slow loris and barking deer. Dolphins are regularly seen off the coast, although not guaranteed there is a good chance to spot some by boat trips that can be arranged from most hotels in the area. Occasionally irrawaddy dolphins also shows up near the coast.
Sam Roi Yot leaf-toed gecko (Dixonius kaweesaki) and striped-throated rock gecko (Cnemaspis lineogularis) are two species that’s currently only known to be found in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. South Asian bockadam (Cerberus rynchops) is a snake species very common in mangrove forests and canals, with a little bit of effort can easily be found along the small canals near Khao Daeng Village. Many of the most common snake species in the region can also be found in the national park.
Getting there & get around
The main visitor center, headquarters and some attractions are situated on the south side of the national park.
Getting to the park
It is not possible to get to the park with public transportation options. A private vehicle needed, either own car/bike or with taxi arrangements.
If is possible to arrange a day trip from Hua Hin to Khao Sam Roi Yot for 2,000 Baht. Please see our taxi details page for more info.
Get around in the park
The distances between attractions are too big to walk. There are not many trees along the roads for shadow, so, try walking between attractions can be very uncomfortable in sunny days. A private car/bike/bicycle needed for sure.
Entrance fees & opening times
An entrance fee needs to be paid only when the main attractions are visited. The entrance fee is valid at all attractions during a day. No entrance fee to be paid when driving through the park to get to the villages, hotels etc.
The entrance fees are 200 Baht for adults and 100 Baht for children, Thai citizens to pay 40 Baht for adults and 20 Baht for children.
There are many villages in the park, so there is no closure time to drive through the park. However attractions have opening times from 8 am until around 4 to 4:30 pm, every day and all year round.
The main must see attraction of Khao Sam Roi Yot is the impressively big Phraya Nakhon Cave and the Royal Pavilion inside it. It is the most iconic attractions of the park and the province.
The national park has quite an impressive bird record and very popular among birders. The area east side of the mountain range through the park has quite a unique habitat for some freshwater birds. The boardwalk over the freshwater marsh is a popular destination. This side of the park has an impressive view of the mountains from the boardwalk.
Khao Daeng Viewpoint is quite an obvious place to visit in combination with a visit to Phraya Nakhon Cave. It has an impressive view over the area.
Other activities to fill a days planning are; a boat trip through the mangrove forests, visiting two other caves or relax on one of the beaches.
While the dusky leaf monkeys can be seen any day at Laem Sala Beach, the long-tailed macaques can be found at Khao Daeng Viewpoint parking area or around headquarters. Most of the other mammals are very rare to see, they hold to forested habitats deep inside the park in montane areas.
A day trip to Khao Sam Roi Yot can be combined with a trip to Kui Buri Wildlife Watching Area to see wild elephants. In case, visitors are advised to leave Khao Sam Roi Yot latest around 2 pm to reach the elephant watching area in time. The wildlife watching area is in Kui Buri National Park, separate entrance fees applied there. For more info, please visit our Kui Buri National Park section.
Stay & eat
It is possible to camp at Laem Sala Beach and Sam Phraya Beach. Tents available at both beaches from 150 Baht for 2 people, 225 Baht for 3 people and 300 Baht for 4 people. Accessories can be rent per person; pillow 10 Baht, blanket 10 Baht, sleeping bag 30 Baht, sheet 20 Baht.
There are only two bungalows available for rent near the headquarters, one is for 1,000 Baht for 5 people, the other is 1,400 Baht for 5 people.
There are few bungalows at Laem Sala Beach; 1,600 Baht for 6 people, 2,000 Baht for 8 people and 2,200 Baht for 9 people.
A significant discount will apply to all bungalows when booked for Mon-Thu.
Bungalows can be booked through DNP website in advance. As the money transfer must be done within 2 days and the fact that it takes a longer time with transfers from abroad, it is only possible to book from within Thailand only. Payments can be done at 7-Eleven convenience stores or banks.
There are restaurants at Laem Sala Beach and Sam Phraya Beach campsites. Many other restaurants are spread out in the park, a bunch of cheaper options can be found at the car park area of Phraya Nakhon and Laem Sala Beach entrance.
Attractions of Khao Sam Roi Yot
Phraya Nakhon Cave
Being the main attraction of the national park, this cave consists of two sinkholes. There is a four-gable roofed royal pavillion called Phra Thinang Khuha Kharuhat, built in 1890 for King Rama V's visits. This pavillion became an iconic symbol of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. In right time of year, when the sunlight shines from a certain angle through a sinkhole above the pavilion, the sinkhole opening illuminates a nice beam of light over the pavillion, creating a spectacular view.
The cave is accessible from the Laem Sala beach by a 430 meters long, steep and rocky trail up to 130 meters asl. Once reached the cave entrance, a trail gradually descends down to the center of the cave. The trail may be slippery during the rainy seasons.
Laem Sala Beach & Campsite
A km wide and shallow white beach 16 km northeast of the headquarters. The beach is accessible by a 350 m long rocky trail over a hill or by boat, takes around 20 minutes to reach by foot. The boat trip is 400 Baht (max 6 people) for a round trip.
The beach area has a smaller visitor center, a restaurant, bungalows, a camping ground and showers/toilet facilities. There is also a nice viewpoint from a hill at the north end of the beach. The main attraction of the national park, Phraya Nakhon Cave is accessible by a trail from this beach.
There are few bungalows for rent at Laem Sala Beach. See above “Stay & Eat” for more info.
Located on the south side of the national park, it is in a convenient distance to most of the main attractions of the park. There are few smaller trails around the HQ, a watchtower and basic facilities.
There used to be a campsite next to the HQ, but closed due to long-tailed macaques tearing apart tent doors, getting in and damaging personal belonging of campers in search for food. Visitors are advised to get to the other two campsites on nearby beaches listed below. Apart from the trail up to Khao Daeng Viewpoint 700 meters away, all longer trails up to the mountains from HQ area are closed permanently. These trails used for patrolling rangers only.
Khao Daeng Viewpoint
A viewpoint at a 157 meters peak accessible by a trail around 700 meters from the headquarters. This viewpoint has an impressive 360° view over the surrounding valley and mountains. Long-tailed macaques and birds are common in the area. There is a parking space where the trail starts uphill. The trail is rocky all the way up and quite steep. No ranger accompany needed to walk the trail up, it is easy to follow, no risk of getting lost.
Khao Daeng Canal
It is a canal through mangrove forests that flows around Khao Daeng Mountain around 1.5 km from headquarters. It is possible to take a boat trip from a temple area near the Khao Daeng Village. Best time for the tour is on late afternoon, it takes about one hour, gives possibility to to enjoy beautiful views of the mangrove forests and limestone hills rising around.
A boat tour costs 500 Baht per group of max 6 people, can only be arranged on the spot.
Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh
Located on the northwest corner of the national park, it is the largest freshwater marsh in Thailand, home to many species of waterbirds, songbirds, amphibians and various wetland species. The marsh is registered as Ramsar site by Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for recognition of important wetlands. The views of the mountains at Thung Sam Roi Yot side are more impressive compared to the east side.
There is a restaurant and a smaller camping ground near the visitor center but there are no tents available for rent. There are also a few bungalows for park employees, these may become available for rent when not in use by the park staff, from as cheap as 300 Baht per night.
Boardwalk over marsh area
A 1 km long wooden boardwalk over the freshwater marsh next to the visitor center, with great views over the surroundings. Many bird species, especially the purple swamphen can be seen around.
This boardwalk was broken for many years but repaired in late 2019, fully accessible.
Sam Phraya Beach & Campsite
A nice and quiet beach a bit over 5 km north east from headquarters, lined with pine trees. There are no accommodation options in and around the beach, but there is a campsite with basic facilities. It is possible to rent a tent, see above “Stay & eat” for more info.
There is a very good restaurant at Sam Phraya Beach, open 7 am to 9 pm Mon to Fri or until 10 pm during the busy week-ends and holidays.
Accessible by a 250 meters long trail from the nearby road, this impressive cave with few huge chambers is situated 16 km from the headquarters towards the Bang Pu village. It consists of stalactites and stalagmites with very rocky surface. The cave has two entrances and takes approximately 20-25 minutes to walk through from one entrance to the other. Bats can be seen hanging from the ceiling and with a bit of luck Asian forest scorpions may be spotted too.
A ranger accompany needed to walk through the cave, can be arranged at the entrance if available.
A cave consists of stalactites and stalagmites. It is accessible by a 300 meters long trail from the road near the coast, approximately 9 km northeast from the headquarters. There are torches available for rent during the week-days but the cave is lit up for free due to high amount of visits from local tourists on week-ends.
Where to go next?
Few other national parks in the area, some near, others not;
Kaeng Krachan National Park - the largest and one of the best national parks in Thailand. It is not easy to see the impressive wildlife in the park, but with good effort and continuous visit it is possible.
Kui Buri National Park - the only national park in Thailand where wild elephant sighting is guaranteed almost any day of the year.
Erawan Falls - in Erawan National Park, in Kanchanaburi Province. Probably the most popular waterfall in the country by foreign tourists.
Khao Yai National Park - northeast from Bangkok, no doubt the best national park in the country for regular tourists. Very easy to see a good number of some common mammal species here any given day.
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