Photo: Ao Manao: A classic spot for an iced drink.

Haad Wanakorn National Park

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This intsy wintsy national park roughly midway between Prachuap Khiri Khan and Namtok Huay Yang National Park offers deserted beach scenes and plentiful bird spotting.

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Photo of Haad Wanakorn National Park

Gazetted in 1995, Haad Wanakorn National Marine Park is Thailand’s smallest park at just 38 square kilometres, of which 23 is coastal scrub and woodland and 15 is marine, including the two small islands of Ko Chai and Ko Thaisi.

The woods are pleasant for walking in and contain a wide variety of birdlife, while the pristine beach is pretty good for swimming. North of the park headquarters is a rocky coastal section where you can do a bit of snorkelling if the water is clear, though we have not jumped in ourselves. There are also a series of hiking trails and both bicycles and inner tubes are available at the park information centre.

A small restaurant is located down by the beach and going on the number of table settings lined up under the trees the park must get busy at times -- when we visited midweek in August it was totally deserted. Accommodation is available at the northern reaches of the park, still walking distance from the restaurant.

Park entrance fee is minimal. Food vendors and shops are situated near the park buildings but if you want to stay here, you’ll have to bring a tent.

The park entrance, clearly marked in English, is 23 kilometres south of Prachuap Khiri Khan off highway 4, then a three-kilometre road takes you down to the beach and park offices. Some basic information is available in English. If you have no transport, take any southbound bus and ask to be let off at Wanakorn, then you will have to walk the remaining three kilometres as there is no transport from the highway to the office.

Park admission is 100 baht for foreigners and while there is a 20 baht surcharge for motorbikes, it may not be levied.

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