Khao Sam Roi Yot Marine National Park.
Khao Sam Roi Yot Marine National Park was declared as the first coastal park in Thailand on June 28th, 1996. The park is located about 60km south of Hua Hin, in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan. The name Khao Sam Roi Yot can be translated into 'The Mountain with Three Hundred Peaks'. The geological characteristic here is very high steep limestone that becomes the high steep cliffs as well as the deep abyss. The highest peak of the hills is 605 meters above the mean sea level. The most fascinating are Khao Yai, Khao Tham Prathun, Khao Daeng, Khao Khan Ban Dai and etc. The limestone land had been worn away by natural impact till became caves or abyss such as Tam Kaeo, Tam Sai, Tam Phraya Nakhon Cave and etc.
The wooded mountains make it a site of outstanding natural beauty, but it is the freshwater marsh and coastal habitats that gives the park great ecological significance. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park also has great recreational and educational value. It offers the visitors many attractions: fine sandy beaches, spectacular caves, superb mountain viewpoints, offshore islands, forest trails, boat excursions, and estuarine and mangrove habitats, all within relatively small area. This unparalleled variety of habitats makes it one of the most interesting national parks in Thailand.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park contains a diverse array of habitats: ten distinctive habitat zones in all. One of the most interesting is the dry limestone mountains. These are sparsely covered by dwarf evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, which grow in the thin soils and on the barren rock. The average rainfall is just over a metre, falling mainly between August and November. This quickly drains away so plants have had to adapt to this unique environment. A mixed deciduous forest, including areas of secondary growth and bamboo grows on the foothills and in the valleys.
Thung Sam Roi Yot, the largest freshwater marsh in Thailand, provides an important environment for a large number of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has recognized these fragile westlands as a site of global importance. Other areas of habitat include scrub, salt pan, cultivated areas, mudflats, brackish waters, mangroves, sand beaches , offshore islets, and open sea.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park has become a popular spot with bird watchers due to the approximately 300 recorded species found here and due to the park's accessibility. The park is one of the best locations in thailand to observe shorebirds. Between September and November hundreds of migratory shorebirds from Siberia, China, and Northern Europe arrive at the mudflats to feed and rest, before continuing their journey south. Some will spend the winter months (November to March) here. These birds will begin the long return journey to their northern breeding grounds between March and May. The freshwater marsh near the vilage of Rong Jay provides a good opportunity to view a number of large waterbirds, songbirds and raptors. The marsh is one of only two sites in Thailand where the Purple Heron breeds.