Sirinat National Park is a spectacular stretch of natural beauty in Phuket with the most scenic beaches in the world with white sands and dazzling waters on the island. Located on the northwest coast of Phuket Island, about 30 km away from Phuket Town, right next to Phuket airport about 15 minutes away. It covers 22 km of coastal land and 68 km of sea.
Founded in 1981, the Sirinat National Park has more than three-quarters of the marine territory of its entire area. Formerly known as Nai Yang National Park, it was renamed Sirinat National Park in 1992. The area was then also extended to include Mai Khao Beach as a part of the 60th birthday celebrations of Queen Sirikit.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Sirinat National Park is from November to April. Except for May to October, the rest of the year is quite dry. It rains the most in May, September, and October.
Getting In and Around
There are no dedicated public transportation options to get to the park, but the northern edge of the park is within walking distance from the airport. Most Songthaews or Minivans going to the airport can be used to get to the park.
The best way to get to the national park is by renting a bike from the many bike rental stores. Other than that, there are private taxis and cars that one can hire.
Once you’re in the park, there are only two options, either by foot or by your own vehicle if you have one.
Entrance Fees and Timings
The entrance fees for foreign nationals are 200 Baht for adults and 100 Baht for children. The park is open from 6 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week. The only time of the year when the park is closed is from 1st June until 31st July every year.
Sirinat National Park has around 130 bird species, including some rare ones such as Nicobar pigeon, Pied triller, Brown-winged Kingfisher, Mangrove Pitta, Grey-and-buff Woodpecker, House crow, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Black-and-red Broadbill, Chinese Egret, Pied Imperial Pigeon.
The other common birds in the park are Common tailorbird, Large-billed crow, Black drongo, Brown Shrike, Olive-backed Sunbird, Streak-eared Bulbul, Oriental Magpie-robin, Common Myna, Greater Coucal, Barn Swallow, Spotted Dove.
Various reptile and fish species such as Monitor lizards, Mangrove Pit Viper, Turtle, Mudskipper, Shrimp, Mullet, Grouper, and Garfish are seen in the mangrove forests.
Sirinat National Park is best known for its four spectacular beaches, Hat Nai Thon, Hat Nai Yang, Hat Mai Khao, and Hat Sai Kaeo, which are quite popular with tourists. Both Hat Mai and Hat Nai Yang are known for the turtles that lay their eggs from November to February every year.
The crystal blue waters feature large, healthy coral reefs. There are three main beaches located in the park, namely Nai Yang, Nai Thon, and Mai Khao. Mai Khao Beach in particular is known for sea turtle nesting including leatherbacks and hawksbill.
Mai Khao Beach
Mai Khao is the longest beach in Phuket, spanning about 9-10 km in length from around Phuket airport to the island's northern edge. Once known as an important sanctuary for sea turtles, no more turtle eggs have been seen here since 2013 due to poaching of eggs and irregular development of resorts close by.
Nai Yang Beach
This beach is adjacent to the visitor center area and the headquarters of the national park to the south of Phuket Airport. There are plenty of resorts around this beach despite being inside the national park.
Nai Thon Beach
This beach is on the southern coast of the park. Here again many resorts are seen along the beach despite being on the national park grounds.
Sai Kaeo Beach
Sai Kaeo Beach is a captivating endless beach located just beyond Mai Khao Beach and before Sarasin bridge. The boundary between Mai Kao Beach and Haad Sai Kaeo is very blurred, but it stretches all the way from Phuket Airport to the bridge connecting the island to the mainland.
Things to Do
Sirinat National Park is not only about beaches and forests. It has an array of activities available for tourists, including boat trips, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Known for some of the best diving, scuba, or snorkeling in the world, these beaches have some of the most gorgeous coral reefs. The best beach for swimming is Hat Nai Yang. Hat Mai Khao is great for long walks.
The Mangrove Forest is also worth exploring. The Sirinat National Park is a haven for avid bird watchers with an abundance of a variety of unusual birds such as Chestnut-capped Bee-eaters, Black Collared Myna, and Green Imperial Pigeon. Similarly, the flora and fauna that fill the forest can be highly educational.
Places to Stay and Eat
The park has plenty of resorts in and around the park, however, it never gets too overcrowded. It is a place that is protected and nurtured to ensure that the natural habitats can continue to live there peacefully.
A designated open area for camping is available at the park, however, no tents or camping gear can be rented. Setting up one’s tent in this area costs 30 Baht a night.
Bungalows are available for rent in the headquarters area. A total of 12 bungalows of various sizes, all with a single room for two people, starting at 2000 Baht per night. Besides the park bungalows, there are plenty of resorts and hotels in and around the park.
The park restaurant is open from 9 am to 7 pm. However, there are many other restaurants in and around the park.
A visit to Sirinat National Park can be an enriching experience for wildlife enthusiasts and also for people who’re simply looking at spending some quiet time absorbing the beauty of nature.
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