After leaving the hustle and bustle of the city of Bangkok we came back down to a part of Phuket we visited 18 months ago. While on a mission to visit Soi Dog Foundation, we decided to stay nearby in Nai Yang Beach meaning we were staying near the airport. This time we were drawn to the beauty of the beaches within Sirinat National Park.
What is Sirinat National Park?
Sirinat National Park is located on the northwestern coast of Phuket Island, famous for its pine-fringed beaches. The Sirinat National park is a place that is protected and looked after to ensure the natural habitants can continue to live there peacefully. There are 3 main beaches located in the park Nai Yang, Nai Thon and Mai Khao. Mai Khao is famous for its nesting turtles including leatherbacks and hawksbills. Within the park, you will also find coral reefs clustering in the waters offshore.
The purpose of the national park is to protect the natural habitats of mole crabs, nesting turtles and seashells. They are also working on preserving the forests within the park to save plant life and wild animals. Sirinat National Park is actually one of the smallest national parks in the country but nowhere near less important. The park itself is thin on the ground in terms of activities. It is much more of a place to sit and relax on the stunning white sand and swim in the crystal blue water.
If you are looking to visit Sirinat National Park there are some things you will need to know before you do…
Like many national parks, there is an entry fee, this one is no different. While we walked from our hostel to the beach we were able to walk right onto the beach on the other side of the border of the park and along the beach. We then left the beach to find a cafe located on the outskirts of the national park, when leaving this was no issue but returning we were asked to pay an entry fee.
The prices for adult foreigners are 200 baht per person and child foreigners are 100 baht per person. It is considerably lower for locals at 20 baht for children and 40 baht for adults. As you can see in the image below there is no price for vehicle fee (in English). So, unfortunately, I am not sure whether you are charged by the vehicle or by the number of people.
My initial research led me to believe that only vehicles had to pay the entry fee and did not apply to pedestrians. Are you looking at staying at a resort located in the Sirinat National Park you may be charged the entry fee if you get a taxi. If you want to avoid this I would ask the driver to take you to the border and walk from there. While you may need taking to the door check to see if your hotel/ resort offer a shuttle service and if they charge for entry fee.
Walking The Sirinat National Park
If you are wanting to walk through the national park you can pay at either end of the checkpoints or walk along the beach. The checkpoints appear to be mainly for vehicles but pedestrians would be stopped too on the main road.
The information online points me in the direction of foreigners paying much more than locals to enter the park. I am not completely sure why that is and if it is a strict procedure. Truthfully when we were asked to pay it felt like a scam. Whether it was or not was a different question, there were 2 women at the checkpoint not in official uniform. They were neither wearing a uniform or had a badge of authenticity.
I would personally pay if I knew 100% that the money was going to the national park. But as I didn’t feel it was I didn’t want to hand money to anyone that didn’t look like an official representative.
The above screenshot shows where we had lunch, you can see the green section is the national park and the beach. There are two main roads that run parallel from one side of the park to the other. While we didn’t want to pay the 200 baht per person entry fee. We were told we could walk the other street just by the checkpoint for free. Below is the route we actually returned to using the back road which was free. The back road seemed like it was still part of the park but it was littered with plastic bottles, taxis and rubbish.
If you are looking at going to Sirinat National Park, I would advise not paying the 200 baht. If you feel it is necessary and with an official personnel. And walking the back road and along the beach to avoid the checkpoints. There isn’t a checkpoint along the beach to stop pedestrians for an entry fee so it is free to walk along.
Visiting Nai Yang Beach
Nai Yang Beach is just one of the beaches within Sirinat National Park. It is also the closest to Phuket International airport making it an easy stop off choice. While the area isn’t overwhelmed with restaurants, bars and cafés it is a beautiful spot to visit. Especially if you are looking for some peace and quiet.
Within the last 2 years, there have been many developments going on in the surrounding area. Which is bringing more cafés, bars and resorts to the area making it more of a tourist spot. They are wanting to make Sirinat National Park a more well-known spot for not just locals to visit but tourists.
I would check with your resort if you decide to leave do you have to pay each time you exit and re-enter. Or if you get a pass with your hotel/resort package, within the national park. Alternatively, if you are looking to stay in the surrounding areas of the Sirinat National Park. If you would like to enter the park for the beach would you need to pay every time? Unfortunately, this is something I cannot find out and would be subject to term within your hotel stay.
I wouldn’t let you put this off as I feel there are ways around it and it is worth coming to see. The beaches are much quieter and cleaner as well as peaceful. The sea is crystal clear and is amazing for snorkelling and fish spotting.
If you are looking to stay at a resort by the beach you will find plenty to choose from. To help you here are some of the nearest available. There are a range of places to stay from 5-star resorts to hostels to suit every budget.
If you are looking to visit the Sirinat National Park I would get a taxi to as close as you can. I would then walk the rest of the way as you can really take in the beauty of the scenery. The park is still quite small at Nai Yang Beach but there are two other beaches. If you are staying in a resort within the park boundaries I would check with the hotel if you have to pay entry.
Have you been to the park and explored the other beaches? Or paid the entry fee or know any more information on the park please let me know in the comments below. Also, do you have a favourite beach at Sirinat National Park? If so let me know in the comments and why.
If you are travelling around Thailand and find yourself wondering what to do in Bangkok check out our 2 days in Bangkok post. Also, if you are looking for more to explore in the Phuket area check out our Phuket Old Town post.