Sirinat National Park
|Sirinat National Park|
Hat Nai Yang
|Location||Phuket Province, Thailand|
|Area||90 km2 (35 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation|
The park's total area is 90 square kilometres (35 sq mi), with 68 square kilometres (26 sq mi) of marine area and 22 square kilometres (8.5 sq mi) land-based. The park comprises four main beaches: Hat Nai Thon, Hat Nai Yang, Hat Mai Khao, Hat Sai Kaeo. Hat Mai Khao is Phuket's longest beach.
The park was originally known as Nai Yang National Park and designated Thailand's 51st national park on 13 July 1981. It was renamed Sirinat National Park in 1992.
A 2014 Bangkok Post editorial said that "The latest questionable development in the sad saga of Sirinat National Park in Phuket province raises serious and vexing issues. Among the most pertinent is the old paradox of 'Who will watch the watchers?' The Royal Thai Navy has moved into the precious park on the pretext of providing security. But the threats to this little jewel of national land are not physical, and heavily armed military men provide no solution at all".
Sirinat National Park is best known for its well-preserved white sand beaches. Also, Hat Mai Khao and Hat Nai Yang are both sea turtle nesting areas. Between November and February sea turtles come to lay eggs on these beaches.
Flora and fauna
The park's beach forests, approximately 2 square kilometres (0.77 sq mi) in area, consist of numerous tree species with the effect of providing a windbreak during tropical storms and stabilising the beach sands. Tree species include Common Ironwood, Tulip tree, tropical almond, White Barringtonia, Cajeput Tree, Alexandrian laurel, screwpine, Ashoka tree, black plum, elephant apple and morning glory.
Sirinat National Park also hosts a small area (1 square kilometre) of mangrove forest, located where freshwater and seawater mix in estuarine areas. Tree species here include red mangrove, white mangrove, black mangrove, cannonball mangrove, looking-glass mangrove and Ceriops. Other plant species include Rhizophora apiculata and Derris trifoliata.
Coral reefs are located in the marine section of the park at a distance of 700 metres (2,300 ft) to 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) offshore. Reef species include plate coral, soft coral, sea fan and sea anemone.