Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park is located in the Phang Nga Province of Thailand.
Khao Lak-Lam Ru is named after two of its tallest peaks, Lam Ru and Khao Lak. Khao Lak is also the name of a coastal area dotted with villages. The park is just off Phetkasem Road (Route 4), and it is 19 miles (30 km) south of Takua Pa and 71 miles (115 km) north of Phuket City.
The park has an area of 48 square miles (125 sq km), and it thus covers parts of four districts: Takua Pa, Mueang Phang Nga, Thai Mueang, and Kapong.
The park’s facilities include four bungalows where visitors may spend the night. They are located near the park headquarters and visitor’s center as are the restrooms and several restaurants. One is operated by the park, while the others are privately owned. The park restaurant sits on a hill and provides guests with a view of the sea. Even though the park does not have designated campsites, visitors may do so.
History of Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park
Khao Lak-Lam Ru was originally a seashore park. In 1984, however, the government enlarged it to protect the main drain basin in the province. The park thus encompassed forests and mountains that were further inland. In August 1991, Khao Lak-Lam Ru officially became the 66th national park in Thailand.
The Indian Ocean Tsunami of December 2004 devastated Khao Lak, which suffered more fatalities than any other region in Thailand. Over 4,000 people were killed. The vegetation has since grown back, and the hotels, restaurants, and other buildings have either been rebuilt or replaced.
National Park Flora and Fauna
On account of its size, Khao Lak-Lam Ru boasts several different ecosystems including mountains, rain forest, mangrove forest, and beach forest. The tallest mountain stands 3533.5 feet (1077 m). The shore also encompasses several different ecosystems including sand beach, stone beach, and coral reef. There are also rivers; the two main rivers are the Phang Nga River and the Ta Gua Pa River.
Among the many tree species in the forests are the champak tree (Magnolia champaca), ditabark tree (Alstonia scholaris), and the taikian (Hopea odorata). Several different species of the Dipterocarpus genus grow in the area, as do many ferns and orchids.
Various cashew trees grow closer to shore. Other tree species near the beach include the putat (Barringtonia asiatica) and the screw-pine (Pandanus odorifer).
The park has a number of butterflies, especially in the rainforest. Examples include Stichophthalma godfreyi, Troides amphrysus ruficollis, and Troides aecus thomsoni. The last two belong to a genus commonly known as the “birdwings,” and they are members of the swallowtail family.
Amphibians in the park include the Asian giant toad, Heymon’s froglet, and the southern big-headed frog. Fans of reptiles might find the reticulated python, white-lipped pit viper, Malayan pit viper, iridescent earth snake, and the Bengal monitor.
Bird watchers may find see bushy-crest hornbill, crested serpent eagle, emerald dove, homrai, oriental pied hornbill, scarlet minivet, and white-bellied sea eagle.
Mammals in the area include macaques, bats, Malayan porcupine, Asian bearcat (binturong), Malaysian weasel, Malaysian tapir, black giant squirrel, langurs, and flying lemur (colugo).
The park’s marine areas are home to several species of sea slugs, moray eels, and sea cucumbers. There are also feather stars, lizardfish, Long Tom, tiger cowrie, and giant murex.
National Park Attractions
The park has several waterfalls. Lam Ru Waterfall is the largest and boasts five tiers. Ton Chong Fa is also large and has a pool at its base where visitors may swim. It is also near two nature trails. One is 3.1 miles (5 km) long and takes about two hours to complete, while the other is 4.3 miles (7 km) and takes around five hours to complete.
Other waterfalls include Hin Lat, Ton Pling and Lam Phrao. The first one isn’t far from Lam Ru.
The International Tsunami Museum is dedicated to tsunamis in general and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in particular. It is housed in a two-story building along Phetkasem Road. The remains of the Thai Navy boat 813 is on the museum’s property and bears witness to the incredible power of the tsunami which had carried it 1.2 miles (2 km) inland. Admission costs 100 baht and the hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Part of the park runs along the coast of the Andaman Sea. There are thus a multitude of beaches in or near the park. Hat Khao Lak lies within the park, and at roughly five miles (eight km) long, it is one of the larger beaches in the area. It actually consists of three smaller beaches lying side by side. Bang Niang Beach is the northernmost beach, Nang Thong Beach is in the middle, and Sunset Beach is in the south. All three beaches boast white sand and are near resorts. Visitors can relax, go swimming, or go snorkelling.
There is another Khao Lak Beach a few miles to the south of the Khao-Lak Lam Ru Park’s headquarters. It is sometimes described as the “original” Khao Lak Beach because it was known by that name before Hat Khao Lak was given its name. The “original” Khao Lak Beach also consists of three neighboring beaches: Poseidon Beach, Khao Lak Beach, and Secluded Beach. Khao Lak Beach is near a small village called Ban Khao Lak.
Phang Nga Elephant Park is about 9.1 miles (14.7 km) southeast of Khao Lak-Lam Ru Park. It is located near a small village called Thung Ka Ngok. The elephant park opened in 2015 and is operated by a family that has worked with elephants for over 150 years. It offers two educational programs including one tailored for families with small children. The programs are about four hours long, and visitors will have to book their visits in advance.
The Sea Turtle Conservation Center, also known as the Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center or “Turtle Heaven”, is a few miles south of the park. It was originally established in 1985 as the Phang Na Mollusk Culture Research Station. In 2002, it adopted its current name and missions, which include operating a turtle sanctuary. Four endangered species of sea turtle live in the Andaman Sea: Ridley Sea Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, and Green Turtle. The sanctuary not only cares for sick and injured turtles, it also shelters baby turtles until they are around eight months old. The year holds a Turtle Release Festival every March. The Center is open from 8:30 to 4:30, and admission costs 20 baht.
Park Entrance Price: 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children.
The park is open every day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.