Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Muaeng National Park, formerly known as “Lampi Waterfall” and “Lampi Forest Park” was assigned to be managed and controlled by the National Park Division of the Royal Forest Department in Apr 1986. It is the 52nd national park of Thailand and covers an area of 72 km² or 45,000 rais.
Lampi Mountain – Thai Mueang Beach National Park is on the Andaman coast of Thailand. It consists of first, Tai Mueang Beach and second, the Lampi mountain range. To the west, Tai Mueang Beach ends at the Kham Bay Peninsula (Naa Yak or “giant face” mountain), and to the east there is a brackish water canal fed from the Lampi mountain range, covered by a fertile tropical rainforest. The Lampi range is comprised of several mountains with heights ranging between 40-100 m above sea level. The highest mountain is Kanim Mountain, in the north part of the park with a height of 622 m.
The park’s climate is defined by the southwestern monsoon wind which is strong between May-Oct. This wind brings moisture from the Indian Ocean and frequent rain during the green season. The park is not affected by the northeastern monsoon wind because the mountain range acts as a protective barrier reducing the wind speed. In Nov, the strong currents of the northeastern monsoon wind occasionally bring heavy rainfall. From Dec-Apr the park has a dry season with few clouds, little rain, and higher temperatures. The best time to visit the park is Dec-Apr.
The national park has six distinct ecosystems:
1. Sandy beach: The main element of the sandy beach ecosystem is the shoal area which serves as the primary habitat for several small marine animals, such as sea slugs and sand worms. These animals are essential to the ecosystem serving as a primary food source in the local food chain as well as to migratory birds, which flock to the area during the migratory season (Dec-Apr). Cover plants critical to the area include Goat’s foot creeper, Aeluropus lagopoides; some of the bush plants include Scaevola taccada and Pandanus.
2. Mangrove forest: The mangrove forests can be found along the brackish canals feeding the Andaman Sea. These forests connect many different ecosystems, providing a high production of biomass and supporting an abundance of life forms. These forests act as a barrier between the open sea and the inland, exhibiting this protective role during the 2004 tsunami by dissipating wave energy. Furthermore, they filter water that comes from higher ground, providing a safe nursery for sea life and preventing significant amounts of silt and nutrients from making it to the open sea. This protects both the sea from algae blooms and the coral reefs from silt damage. Several plant species include Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, Parviflora, and Bruguiera cylindrica.
3. Beach forest: The beach forest ecosystem develops from the sandy beach eastwards, from the park headquarters to Naa Yak Mountain. The forest thrives on the sea shore in the non-salty soil behind the high tide line and on seaside hills that have slightly brackish soil due to sea spray. Most plants growing in this area are salt-tolerant and shaped by the force of the wind. The forest helps reduce the amount of salty spray reaching the inland. The variety and composition of species and habitats occupying this ecosystem is unique. Many plants grow here, examples of which are: cassuarina equisetifolia, terminalia catappa, derris indica, and Barringtonia.
4. Swamp forest: Behind Thai Mueang Beach, swamp forests extend inland along the old sand dunes at the coastline. Thai Mueang is one of the few places along the Andaman coast with this type of ecosystem. The specific physical features and chemical substances in the swamp have forced the indigenous flora and fauna to make interesting adaptations in order to survive, giving rise to several rare and unique species.
5. Coral reef: The extensive coral reef system off the coast of Thai Mueang Beach is a newly discovered natural resource. The reef lies 400–700 m from the shore in 6–10 m of water. There are two distinct sections, the first measuring 1.7 km², and the second 1 km². The vast reef supports a diverse selection of over 100 types of coral, including species that have never been discovered elsewhere in Thailand Some of the more prevalent species of coral found in the area are Acropora and Porites.
6. Tropical rainforest: This rainforest is found in the mountainous areas of the park, where the waterfalls are located. It houses a diversity of flora and fauna and has created a number of economic opportunities for the people of the area, contributing to their sustainable ways of life. Several plant varieties include Dipterocarpus, Anisoptera costata, Hopea odorata, Bullet wood, rattan, and bamboo.