Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park- Thailand
Updated: Sep 21, 2020
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#samroiyot National Park is an easy day trip from #HuaHin #Thailand. If you love nature, your eyes will have no shortage of limestone cliffs to behold on your time in the park. After all its name means The Mountain with 300 Peaks.
We stayed at Holiday Inn in Hua Hin (#holidayinnnavavana ) and enjoyed the attached waterpark (tickets included with your stay) and the kids LOVED it. We will definitely be back simply because the Holiday Inn is always kid friendly with food and activities that the whole family can love, and you can’t beat having a waterpark to fill the time and drain their energy. They also have a gorgeous roof-top pool if a waterpark isn't appealing. Check out my video of the room layout & view!
However, it is not directly on the beach, so if that is important to you then you’ll want to stay elsewhere or just know you'll need to take a taxi to the beach. Hua Hin was our first stop on our longer road-trip down to the south of Thailand. After settling into the hotel we spent the afternoon enjoying the waterpark and stayed there for dinner and an early bedtime.
The next day was our only day to see Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, so we headed out early. I’d encourage you to review the Thai National Park website as it has the main attractions listed along with links for google map locations available for easier finding. Depending on how much time you have, you could spend 2 days visiting the various attractions within the national park. We only had 1 day so we chose to forego the caves as most were a decent walk or hike from the nearest parking and would be more difficult with young kids. If we were kid-free we would have gone to at least one cave!
After finding the welcome center, we paid our entrance fee and went directly to the Khao Daeng Viewpoint. With 4 young kids age 6 and younger, we are limited in the amount of hiking we are able to do. I had read that this viewpoint was quite steep and rocky climb, but I figured we could do it. Well… I was mostly wrong! From the very beginning, the trail is incredibly rocky… the “trail” is made of large and small rocks for the entire way up with some trees to hold onto and occasional arrows to keep you on the path. I should have taken the surprised looks from the park attendants as an indication of our chances in completing the hike. Our older son (4 years old) refused to even go. He is not typically scared, but for some reason being told he would have to climb the rocks was terrifying to him. So he stayed back with our driver while I went up with the 1 year old on my back, my husband had our 2 year old on his back, and our 6 year old was very excited. I’ll be honest – if you don’t love to hike and aren’t in great shape… be prepared to take several breaks if you are insistent on trying.
Maybe I would have made it to the top if I wasn’t carrying a 30 lb toddler on my back… but there are no guarantees about that! I ended up turning back about ½ way up and did not regret it at all!!! My husband continued all the way to the top (wearing flip flops btw!!) with the 6 year old and 2 year old. The last ~ 1/3 of the way was practically bear crawling upward on the rocks. Once again… no regret for turning away when I did! But Tim & Isabelle were so proud to have made it to the top, and I’m thankful they survived the hike.
The hike took a lot longer than we anticipated and drained our energy so we set out to find lunch and rest for a little while. There are a few restaurant options to choose from within the National Park depending where you are. The closest restaurant we found was a Thai restaurant at Sam Phraya Beach which served a large selection of Thai food and had clean toilets near-by. The kids enjoyed playing at the beach while waiting for food. We actually met another family with 4 children that were approximately the same age as ours. It was so fun to connect and laugh about the experiences and challenges we share. One of my favorite parts of living and traveling abroad are the people we get to meet. Sometimes for just a 10 minute conversation, sometimes for a few hours. But it's always a reminder of how we all crave connection with others and I just love hearing peoples stories.
From there we went to the Khao Daeng Canal to take a boat ride through the mangrove forests. It was about an hour long, and the canal goes inland while you can sit back and enjoy the view, although the boat motor is quite loud so it's not exactly quiet while the boat is moving.
It was midday so it was hot and the tide was relatively low. There were a few birds and a monitor lizard that we saw but most of the wildlife was hiding from the heat. We did, however see so many guppies! The kids thought they were so fun and just kept noticing them and laughed as they skipped across the mud. After going inland, the boat turned around and actually went all the way out to the ocean, passing many parked fishing boats along the way. You really got a sense of the little local fishing community and then we had a fantastic view of the mountains.
By the afternoon, we were realizing the kids only had enough energy left for one more activity, so we decided to go to the Freshwater Marsh and the Bueng Bua Boardwalk. It did not disappoint! We wish we had saved enough time to go on a canoe ride through the area… it would be especially gorgeous in the evening. It is this beautifully large area of marshy wetland, with birds and plants all settled at the foot of the mountains and a sprawling boardwalk to venture out on. It was gorgeous with the sun lighting up the limestone cliffs and the birds waking up for their evening activities.
Somehow, and I have no idea how, the kids still had energy to play at the waterpark again when we got back to the hotel! If you haven’t thought about this before… room service is your friend when the kids are tired and you just need to get food in their tummy and straight to bed! No need to go to a restaurant and wait for food with tired kids who don’t want to sit quietly! We have done this many times when necessary because we can simultaneously order room service while getting kids showered and mostly ready for bed. They can eat quickly and then straight to bed while we have our room service dinner waiting for us to enjoy quietly without kids.
As we were soon to find out, Khao Sam Roi Yot was only the beginning of the limestone wonders that adorn Southern Thailand. The next morning we packed up and headed further south to Khao Sok National Park for an adventure in the rainforest!