Photo: A sala within a cave.

Thung Sam Roi Yot Wetlands

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Framed by a vast expanse of limestone peaks, a long wooden walkway leads over mirror-like water where reeds and lotuses mix with fish and the colourful birds that feast on them. Often left off itineraries due to a lack of good travel information from the national park, the freshwater wetlands known as Thung Sam Roi Yot should not be missed. Few places in Thailand are as peaceful.

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The place is usually deserted, too.

The place is usually deserted, too.

Connecting seven red-roofed pavilions in various states of repair, the walkway extends for hundreds of metres over the wetlands. Fish teem in the 30-square-kilometre marsh, their splashes and diving birds causing an occasional ripple. While most of the lotuses weren’t in bloom during our visit, we did appreciate the countless giant cat-tales swaying in the breeze.

A fragile ecosystem.

A fragile ecosystem.

Views gets better the further out you go, each pavilion providing welcome breaks from the sun. For minutes at a time, we stopped to watch graceful herons and kingfishers soar over the water’s surface, while other birds of prey glided far overhead. Though we’re not particularly into birdwatching, the diverse array of birdlife took our breath away.

Glimpse of a purple heron.

Glimpse of a purple heron.

The mountainous backdrop is what turns an already beautiful scene into sublime. Towering llimestone cliffs reflect dark grey and pale tan on the water while stretching a faint purple into the distance. While the coastal attractions are not to be missed, Khao Sam Roi Yot’s distinctive landscape cannot be fully appreciated without a visit to the wetlands.

10 of Sam Roi Yot's 300 peaks.

10 of Sam Roi Yot’s 300 peaks.

Back on land, we marveled as the soon-to-set sun reflected on the water. The only noise we could hear were the rumblings of a far-off thunderstorm. You simply won’t do better than this if seeking a quiet and romantic spot. There are even a few rowboats for a sunset paddle through the lily pads.

Utterly soothed.

Utterly soothed.

Basic Thai meals and drinks can be purchased in the on-site restaurant, or this is an excellent spot to bring a picnic. Camping is also available if you feel like sticking around. An observation tower is provided for birdwatchers; arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon for the most active birdlife, photogenic atmosphere and manageable temperatures.


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How to get there
The Thung Sam Roi Yot walkway is located in the northwestern corner of the national park near Rai Kao village, but getting here requires driving up (or down) around the mountains along Route 1021 if coming from the north (which is easier) or Route 2026 if coming from the south, then looping down (or up) along Route 4 (aka AH2). From the southbound lanes of Route 4, keep your eyes peeled for a blue sign that says only “Nature Study Center” pointing down a side road that’s also marked by larger signs for Wat Sam Roi Yot with pictures of local monks. Head straight through the village until you reach a yellow-and-brown sign pointing left towards “Lotus Swam”. After that left, go briefly straight, then right over the railroad tracks, then immediately right again, followed by a left through an old Chinese gate. This will put you on the road that winds past a Chinese temple and through the wetlands before cutting back towards the national park gate and parking area. It’s a full 40 km one-way trip from Bang Pu, or 30 from Phu Noi beach.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda
 Read up on where to eat on Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
 Read up on how to get to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park? Please read this.
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See below for more sights and activities in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park that are listed on Travelfish.org.


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Where are you planning on heading to after Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


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