For travelers wishing to explore the wonders of nature in Southern Thailand, National Parks provide the best resources to achieve this goal. High-end, middle-range or a budget holiday, Koh Lanta embraces all kinds of travelers, at any time, any season. If you are in Koh Lanta, paradise is where you are now.
Blessed with an amazing wealth of flora, fauna, reefs and pristine beaches, the Krabi region makes appreciation of its natural beauty easy via the showcasing of its National Parks. These designated national parks offer the perfect opportunity to see nature as it was intended; they were established to conserve natural resources for future generationKoh Lanta National Parks and for educational and recreational purposes. After World War II, the population of Thailand increased rapidly and this boom led to an increase in the demand for natural resources. The purpose of Thailand’s National parks is to preserve natural resources for the education and recreation of the public. National Parks are a living showcase of natural treasures, and managing a National Park is a balancing act between conservation and the economy. Put simply, it is eco tourism.
At the southern part of Koh Lanta Yai sits Mu Koh Lanta National Park, Thailand’s 62nd National Park. Established in 1990, according to the order of Mr. Chuan Leekpai, Prime Minister and supporter of the Wild Animal and Plant Foundation of Thailand (www.warthai.org), it covers an area of 134 square kilometres, or 83,750 Rais. Unprecedented views, white sandy beaches and boat trips are three main reasons to drop by Mu Koh Lanta National Park. It is great destination for trekking and animal spotting, for a picnic, day-trip swimming, a one-hour jungle trek, or just to sit and chill out. Maybe even just to breathe.
The route to the National Park is a tad dusty and bumpy to say the least. A normal city-car will have a hard time climbing up and down the mountainous dirt passage, but more recently the last three kilometres have been paved. Many still choose to visit on motorbike, but it does take a little experience, especially in the wetter months. With an immense variety of tropical evergreen to mixed deciduous forests, the trip is enhanced by a richness of flowering trees and plants all providing endless botanical discoveries. Arriving at the designated parking area you are greeted by an imposing rock formation that is guarded by its overseeing lighthouse. The headquarters of the National Park are located here. This lighthouse itself overlooks two small bays, with the southernmost one Ta Nod Beach, being one of Lanta’s prettiest gems.
Ta Nod Beach is said to be the last piece of paradise on Koh Lanta Yai, and is actually a cape. Thais call it ‘Laem Tanod’ – ‘laem’ being cape in Thai. This wonderful beach is delightful and tranquil, protected as it was on our day there from the nor-westerly winds, by the lighthouse cape. Ta Nod Beach is usually un-crowded as not many people have the time or the enthusiasm to come to this place and when they do, they don’t stay all day. As picturesque as Ta Nod beach is, you should take some time to climb up to the Lighthouse via the designated track, to see the views from the top that can prove to be far more striking, exquisite and dramatic. From the high cliffs you will see turquoise water from a birds-eye view, the neighbouring Koh Ngai, Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Nai. Once up, you’ll get a better panoramic view of the park. Here you will realize that Koh Lanta offers the best of both worlds with exotic beaches and tropical forest.
The spacious open parkland comes complete with an array of shaded picnic tables, large Thai salas and some of the cleanest toilets you will ever find in Thailand. It is of a triangular shape, with one tip protruding into the sea and has prominent sugar palms on it, while the other side has high cliffs covered with the monsoon forest. The contrast to the beach at your left and right is also evident, with many rocky tidal pools on the northern side for observing numerous marine-lives at low tide. For the more energetic bush walking trails also criss-cross the park.
For our group it was a day of fun and relaxation and one that is highly recommended for inclusion in your discovery of the island of Koh Lanta, one of Thailand’s best-kept secrets. Whether it is chilling out at a quiet retreat or full-throttle action that visitors are looking for, Koh Lanta has something for everyone.
Activities: Beach, Camping, Nature trail study. Bungalow accommodation is available. Camping in the Mu Koh Lanta National Park is allowed but you must notify the park in advance at N. 5, Tambon Koh Lanta Yai, Amphoe Koh Lanta, Krabi, 81150, Tel. 075 629018-9. Alternatively, contact the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Flora, Tel. 02 5620760 or visit www.dnp.go.th
The page on Koh Lanta is the following: www.dnp.go.th/parkreserve/forprint.asp?npid=49&lg=2