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The forest in Sirinat National Park in the north of Phuket, Thailand
The forest in Sirinat National Park in the north of Phuket, Thailand

Image: tonjung

SIRINAT NATIONAL PARK - A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

All the way in the north of Phuket you find the Sirinat National Park. This national park of Phuket is about 90 km2 and consists mainly of sea (75%) and a quarter of land. In 1981, during the foundation of the park, it was called Nai Yang National Park. In 1992, the name was changed to Sirinat National Park in honour of Queen Sirikit’s 60th birthday. In that year the 10 km long Mai Khao Beach was also added to Sirinat National Park.

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The forest of Sirinat National Park adjacent to Nai Yang Beach

Image: Stock Foto.Touch

People…What a mess

Sometimes Sirinat National Park doesn’t look like a park at all. There are places where it feels quite touristy. There are luxury resorts and cosy restaurants, among other shops. The accommodations and other business owners feel involved and connected to the area, which is why the park is regularly kept clean. This is really necessary, because a lot of plastic and other rubbish can wash ashore from the sea. As a result, the beaches of the national park can be a mess.

The main entrance and Sirinat National Park fee

In the north of Nai Yang Beach is the main entrance and headquarters of Sirinat National Park. The park is open all year round from 06:00 – 18:00. Camping enthusiasts can even spend the night there. To enter Sirinat National Park you need to buy an entry ticket. Adults pay 200 baht and children half (100 baht).

Paying for your means of transportation

If you want, you can visit the park by car, scooter or bicycle. There is a big road through the park. With a bicycle you pay nothing, a scooter costs 20 baht and a car 30 baht. This is the case with more parks in Thailand, also during our visit to the Sai Ngam Hot Spring in Pai for example.

Asphalted road leading through the Sirinat National Park

Street food stalls can be found regularly at the main entrance and there are numerous excellent restaurants around the park located in Mai Khao, Nai Yang and Nai Thon.

Flora and fauna in het Sirinat National Park

Towards the coast, on the beach, the forests consist mainly of pine trees. These provide a beautiful image when looking from the beach. Besides different kinds of trees, there are also many colourful flowers and beautiful plants in the park. There even is a small mangrove forest with a number of lakes that flow into the sea via a meandering freshwater stream. For the rest, about three quarters of the park consists of sea with all the beautiful marine life that lives in it.

Sea grass in the Sirinat National Park on Phuket

Birds and monitor lizards

Not only in the water and on land but also in the air, the Sirinat National Park is well represented. No less than 125 different species of birds live here, a true paradise for the avid birder. Apart from birds, you are likely to come across a monitor lizard or another species here and there. Hopefully no snakes, because they live there too.

Turtles

Between November and February, leatherback and hawksbill turtles visit the beaches of Sirinat National Park in numbers. During these months, the eggs are laid and hatch. Unfortunately, the population has declined drastically in recent decades, but thanks to the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, there is still hope.

DID YOU KNOW?
The leatherback turtle is the largest sea turtle in the world. She can reach almost 250 cm in length and weighs between 800 and 900 grams. You can recognize the turtle by seven distinctive ridges across its back. Instead of a shell, this turtle has a leathery skin on its back, hence the name.

Statue of a leatherback turtle at Sirinat National Park on Phuket

In 2020, there was also good news… On 10 January 2020, a leatherback turtle laid her eggs on Nai Thon Beach. To protect the eggs and future turtles, the authorities dug up the nest and moved it to safety. The nest was moved to Nai Yang Beach where it was guarded day and night. After the little ones hatched, they crawled towards the open sea. Let’s hope some of these baby turtles will grow up to lay new eggs in Sirinat National Park!

Dogs

Spread out over the park’s beaches, stray dogs regularly lie enjoying the sea breeze in a self-dug pit. Many of these dogs are friendly rascals but you never know. So be careful, for example with small children. By the way, we are big fans of the Soi Dog Foundation, a beautiful initiative that dedicates itself year after year to the street dogs (and cats) in Thailand.

In the sea of the Sirinat National Park

The Sirinat National Park, on the north-western coast of Phuket, consists mostly of water. Tropical fish make grateful use of the many soft and hard corals in the area. Opposite Nai Yang Beach, you can snorkel very well when you visit Phuket.

There is good snorkelling in the sea opposite Nai Yang Beach in Phuket's Sirinat National Park.

Image: golconda

The four beaches of the Sirinat National Park in the north of Phuket

Apart from a forested area, Sirinat National Park consists of four beaches of which Mai Khao Beach is the largest and the most famous. The other beaches are Sai Kaew Beach, Nai Yang Beach and Nai Thon Beach. From north to south, we will discuss each beach in more detail.

Trees grazing on the beaches of Surinat National Park

Sai Kaew Beach

Sai Kaew Beach, also known as Haad Sai Kaeo, is the northernmost beach on Phuket. It’s so quiet that the beach feels deserted. The Sirinat Tourist Information Centre is located at Sai Kaew Beach. Often, this information centre is unmanned, so don’t bother going there for information. Where you should go for information is at the headquarters in the south, at Nai Yang Beach.

Sai Kaew Beach on Phuket at dusk

Image: g43stb

A good restaurant in this area is Sai Kaew Beach Restaurant. During your dinner you have a beautiful view over the Andaman Sea. Otherwise, there is not much to do on Sai Kaew Beach. If you are in the northern part of Phuket, you should visit the Sarasin Bridge, a bridge with a tragic love story

Mai Khao Beach

Since the early 1990s, Mai Khao Beach has been part of the Sirinat National Park. This beach, which is almost 11 kilometres long, is the longest beach on Phuket. Mai Khao Beach is located between Sai Kaew Beach and Nai Yang Beach and is known for the low-flying aeroplanes that are frequently photographed.

DID YOU KNOW?
Despite Mai Khao Beach being the longest beach on Phuket, Sirinat National Park is actually one of the smallest national parks in Thailand. Speaking of national parks…We absolutely love the Khao Sok National Park which you should definitely visit when traveling to Thailand!

Boeing low above Mai Khao Beach in Phuket

The long, mostly deserted beach of Mai Khao is ideal for a romantic walk at sunset. Swimming is possible, but pay attention to the warning flags. The sea can be treacherous because of swells and undercurrents. Swimming and especially snorkelling are better saved for your visit to Nai Yang Beach.

Beach walk  on Mai Khao Beach, Phuket

In the past, Mai Khao Beach used to be home to countless turtles laying their eggs, but unfortunately this has become a lot less nowadays. Fortunately, since 2002 there is the Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation that, together with the rangers of Sirinat National Park and other interested parties, is doing its utmost to protect the turtles and their eggs. Respect!

26 december Wildlife protection day. Protect the wildlife, keep the earth balance

December 26 Wildlife Protection Day | Image: Sirinat National Park (Facebook)

There are many fun things to do on Mai Khao Beach. Beside that you can eat very well in the many restaurants and sleep in beautiful resorts.

>>> More information about Mai Khao Beach can be found in our extensive article.

Nai Yang Beach

Nai Yang Beach is located below Mai Khao Beach and close to Phuket Airport. The beach has fine white powder sand and is two kilometres long. A lovely beach to sunbathe in the soft sand or on a beach bed. The sea is also a good place to be! Here you can paddle, swim, snorkel and much more. There are several restaurants and resorts, so you can enjoy this beautiful beach for days on end. Nai Yang Beach is a great place to spend your first or last days of a visit to Phuket.

>> You can read more about Nai Yang Beach in our extensive article.

Nai Thon Beach

Finally, Nai Thon Beach, a small beach about a kilometre long and hidden in a bay. This beach is the southernmost beach in the Sirinat National Park. The intimate beach is the address of a number of highly rated resorts and restaurant. Surf lovers can go to Ohm, and even if you want to learn to surf, Ohm will be happy to help you. A little further south there are two “secret” beaches.

>>> More information about Nai Thon Beach and the “secret” beaches can be found in our extensive article.

Spending the night in the Sirinat National Park

Seasoned camping enthusiasts will also get their money’s worth in the Sirinat National Park! You can pitch your own tent at the campsite or make it easy on yourself and book a bungalow. A pitch for a tent you bring costs 30 baht per person and a night in a bungalow costs 2,000 baht per night. To be honest, for that money we think you’d better book an accommodation in Mai Khao, Nai Yang or Nai Thon.

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How to get to the Sirinat National Park on Phuket?

The Sirinat National Park is less than a 15 minutes drive from Phuket’s airport. From the popular beaches such as Patong, Karon and Kata it is half an hour to an hour by car via Phuket’s main road. From Phuket Town you can reach the entrance of the park within 45 minutes by car.

ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS IN THE NORTH OF PHUKET

ATMOSPEHRIC IMAGES OF NORTH PHUKET
Check out Picture This #34, which contains various images of the Sarasin Bridge, Mai Khao Beach, Sirinat National Park, Nai Yang Beach, Nai Thon Beach and Trisara.

Last but not least

We would like to use this piece to thank the rangers and staff of the Sirinat National Park, and all others involved, for the work that is being done to protect nature in the northwest of Phuket. See the images below as an example. Great job, right?

Before cleaning on a beach in the Sirinat Natioanl Park on Phuket

Image: Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation

After cleaning on a beach in the Sirinat Natioanl Park on Phuket

Image: Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation

Check out our map of the northern part of Phuket

Especially for you, we’ve made a map of North Phuket. It shows the beaches, the best places to eat and drink, nice sights and other activities. Have fun!

See all our articles about Khao Sok National Park
Click here to view all our Ao Nang articles
Check all our In the Picture entries
Read all about Koh Tarutao here
Click here for all our Picture This artikelen
Click here to read more about the Similan Islands in Thailand
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