Under The Boardwalk!
On a writing assignment to Hua Hin, Thailand, we discovered this wooden walkway built by the Parks Department that allows visitors to do a one-km circuit through the mangrove forest in the area. Located only 30 kilometres south of Hua Hin, at the mouth of the Pranburi River into the Gulf of Thailand, the forest covers an area of 3.17 km² and is said to be the largest mangrove forest in Thailand. Here a couple of nature trails allow visitors a glimpse of the wealth of life sustained by them. The beach route takes you along a path through the sea pine trees running alongside the water’s edge. But the most popular one starts in front of the visitors’ centre. Large crab sculptures flank a sturdy raised wooden walkway that trails one-kilometre deep into the vegetation. Along the way signboards point out the different types of flora and fauna. Expect to see kingfisher birds, egrets, red claw crabs, mudskippers, white claw fiddler crabs, mud lobsters, and the Merder’s Mangrove Crab that is commonly used in the popular Thai papaya salad, somtam. One sign informs that more than 82 species of fish and 12 kinds of shrimp move through mangrove roots during high tide. At a point the walkway ascends allowing a bird’s eye view of the vegetation with hills in the distance. You can also add to your experience by taking a long-tail boat for a trip around the mangroves and up the Pranburi River.