If you are traveling between Bangkok and southern Thailand, spend a few days at Khao Sam Roi Yut National Park, a place still largely unaffected by mass tourism.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, or park of the "mountains with 300 peaks", presents an utterly beautiful landscape to visitors: limestone massifs against a backdrop of deserted beaches, caves and marshes, forest hiking trails – this is a little corner of paradise you simply have to visit when staying in Thailand.
Hikers can explore the national park via its hiking trails. The best known of them begins at the park's bungalows and takes you on a half hour walk up through the forest to the Phraya Nakon Cave. The cave actually consists of twin chambers, both partially open at the ceiling and both containing vegetation. A royal pavilion was built for the king's visit in 1890 in the second one. The structure is illuminated by the sun's rays at certain times. This cave is a beautiful place to go and see.
On the route up, look into the trees: you may see dusky leaf monkeys, wonderful dark-furred animals with white rings around their eyes. On the way back, make the most of the park's beautiful deserted beaches and take a little time out to do a spot of bathing.
For the chance to enjoy superb panoramic views over the park, climb up to the Khao Dang view point. Here, once again, it's quite steep going through the jungle, but you should get the opportunity to see plenty of monkeys. Your efforts will be rewarded by superb, 360-degree panoramic views over villages, shrimp farms, the sea and limestone rock formations. If you are climbing up to watch the sunset, take some mosquito repellent with you: these little insects seem do everything they can to spoil the moment.
Equip yourself with a torch (if you don't have one, there are certain rangers you can hire them from) and head off to explore the park's numerous caves.
If you want to feel like a real cave explorer, visit Kaeo Cave, a large cave that takes about thirty minutes to completely explore. There are opportunities to see stalagmites, stalactites and bats here, as well as other small creatures that inhabit the dark…
It's sometimes necessary to get down on all fours to pass through the narrow sections; and I advise you to wear good shoes: the rock can be slippery. Kaeo Cave is an unusual and interesting place to visit, though anyone suffering from claustrophobia should give it a miss. Another place also worth seeing is Sai Cave, with its stalactites and stalagmites.
It takes around thirty minutes to get to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park from Hua Hin and a little over three hours from Bangkok. The ideal way to explore the park's 98 square kilometers is by hiring a scooter. Tip: choose a helmet equipped with a visor or return before nightfall if you want to avoid being blinded by clouds of mosquitoes hitting you in the eyes. If you want to stay overnight, there are bungalows you can rent from the park rangers. An alternative option is to stay at accommodation in the nearby town of Pran Buri.