Prachuap Khiri Khan
Prachuap Khiri Khan (ประจวบคีรีขันธ) is a coastal town of roughly 27,000 inhabitants (2012) in Western Thailand, roughly 100 km south of Hua Hin and 200 km north of Chumphon. Culturally it could be considered part of the Central Plains, but is geographically connected to Southern Thailand as it is a part of the Malay Peninsula. It possesses various interesting tourism attractions such as beaches, islands, forests and mountains.
Thailand's royal family and especially former kings were the first to set this location on the map as the original seashore destination in Thailand. The long white sandy beaches themselves are clean, spotless and pretty, much more so than Pattaya's, and the sea is relatively clean. Besides just sunbathing snorkelling and swimming, visitors can also enjoy golf, spas, caves, peaks, waterfalls, shops, seafood and nearby national parks. The town is warm and laid-back making it ideal for families and couples.
Prachuap Khiri Khan is in fact more of a holiday destination with local Thais than foreigners. Many Bangkokians purchase condominiums here. This guarantees a bit of a quiet atmosphere if you are fed up with noisy foreign tourists at their favourite locations, such as Pattaya or Ko Samui.
Prachuap Khiri Khan Province covers an area of 6,368 square kilometres. It is a long and narrow coast stretching to the south. At the Singkhon Pass in the Mueang district, there is a border crossing into Burma. Near there, the distance from the Burmese border to the Gulf of Thailand is only 11 km. The length of the province from the north to the south is approximately 212 km.
Once known as Muang Bang Nong Rom, Prachuap Khiri Khan was left to decay after the sacking of Ayutthaya at the end of the 18th century. The town was rebuilt at the mouth of the Ron River during the 19th century and renamed Prachuap Khiri Khan.
It was an old seaside resort during the reign of King Rama V. From historical evidence, Prachuap Khiri Khan was a location of Mueang Na Rang during the Ayutthaya period. In the reign of King Rama II of Rattanakosin, a new city was established at the mouth of the I Rom Canal and was named Mueang Bang Nang Rom. During the reign of King Rama IV, Mueang Bang Nang Rom, Mueang Kui, and Mueang Khlong Wan were combined into Mueang Prachuap Khiri Khan which means "city of mountains". The city hall was situated at Mueang Kui until 1898, when it was moved to Ao Ko Lak or Ao Prachuap, the location of Mueang Prachuap Khiri Khan today.
From Bangkok, there are 2 routes as follows:
First Route Take the Thonburi–Pak Tho Rd (Hwy 35), passing Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, and turn left into Phetchakasem Rd (Hwy 4), passing Phetchaburi into Prachuap Khiri Khan. The total distance is about 280 km or 3.5 hr.
Second Route Take Phetchakasem Rd or Hwy 4, passing Phutthamonthon, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, and Phetchaburi into Prachuap Khiri Khan. The total distance is approximately 320 km or 4 hours.
From the Southern Bus Terminal on Borommaratchachonnani Rd, the Transport Company Ltd offers various daily bus services: Bangkok–Prachuap Khiri Khan; Bangkok–Hua Hin; Bangkok–Pran Buri; and Bangkok–Bang Saphan. Companies providing bus services on the Bangkok–Prachuap Khiri Khan route are the Hua Hin–Pran Tour Co., Ltd., Tel. +66 2 8846191-2 (04:00-22:20), the Phuttan Tour Co., Ltd., Tel. +66 2 4355302, +66 2 4357414 or Prachuap Khiri Khan Office, Tel. +66 32 611411 (06:00–01:00), the Bang Saphan Tour Co., Ltd., Tel. +66 2 4355105, +66 2 8848895 or Bang Saphan Office, Tel. +66 32 691267 or Ban Krut Office, Tel. +66 32 695074 (Bus leaves at 07:30 and from Ban Krut at 12:30 There is also a 07:30 bus provided on Saturdays.) For further information, contact the Southern Bus Terminal Tel. +66 2 4351199, +66 2 4347192, +66 2 4355605.
From Hualamphong Railway Station, there are many southbound trains daily passing through Prachuap Khiri Khan. A typical one is the second-class Train 43 to Hua Hin, Pranburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan, departing Bangkok at 08:05 and arriving at Hua Hin at 11:26, then Prachuap Khiri Khan at 12:28. Fare is 455 baht. For further information, contact the State Railway of Thailand at Tel. 1690, +66 2 2204334.
Nok Air operates a daily flight between Bangkok (Don Mueang, DMK) and Chumphon airport (CJM), the closest airport. Hua Hin has no scheduled domestic air services.
The town itself is small enough to get around on foot. For access to the beaches you can easily catch a tuk-tuk. Tuk-tuks are popular for short and quick journeys. Fares must be bargained in advance.
Pedal-powered rickshaws ("samlor") are for relatively short distances. Short rides within the town cost between 20 and 30 baht. Longer rides may cost as much as 50 baht.
Songthaews travel fixed routes when on-duty and pick up as many passengers as they can and drop them off as they reach their destinations. Off-duty songthaews can be hired just as if they were taxis.
Motorbikes can be hired but it is advised to be extremely careful when hiring a motorbike. Use only a reputable agency.
For those travelling only short distances, bicycles can be rented downtown.
You can rent a car at Sombat Car Rent & Taxi Service, located on 204/3 Thanon Sukjai (phone 032-601 109) English and German Speaking. Prices start from 1500 THB / day
Motorbike taxis are the most popular form of public transportation in town and the prices are low (some bargaining is advised before getting on). Trips cost about 10-40 baht depending on the distance. Make sure the driver has a helmet of good quality for you.
Boats can be hired at the pier for travel to nearby islands.
- Ao Manao Beach. It lies several kilometres south of the town. It is on Wing 5, an air force base, so you must pass by guard posts at either end to get to the beach. This is a formality. Just slow down, salute, and get waved through. Chaises longues and beach umbrellas can be rented for 10 baht. Free.
- City Gate. Reputedly one of the prettiest in Thailand. Free.
- Wat Thammikaram. Excellent views of the bay and city, with wild monkeys (Macaques) owning the place. Free.
You can rent sea kayaks at the vet's office near the waterfront. Don't hesitate to ring as she is not always in the front of the store.
On Ao Manao you can ride horses, do some archery and have a Western BBQ.
Also on Wing 5 there are lovely monkeys (langurs) you can feed (much friendlier then the Macaques on the mountain).
Another nice trip is to see the Waghor Aquarium which is part of the King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science & Technology, except when there's a class of Thai school kids with a teacher narrating the aquarium over the speaker system...
There is a little breakfast joint/ice cream parlour near the night market where you can buy organic coconut-shaped soaps, massage oils, and body scrubs. Great quality for a more than reasonable price. They make great gifts.
- Krua Chaiwat, 143/1 Sarachip Rd, ☎ . 09:00-20:30. Dynamite little restaurant serving Thai and Western food at very reasonable prices. Fast and efficient service. Frequently packed with both Thai and Westerners, a sign of good food and fair pricing. Meal for two, 200 baht.
- Night Market (Kong Kiat Rd). Open every night and offers a variety of meals for around 25-30 baht.
- Shoreline Restaurants. There are a few restaurants along the shoreline. The first one, in the vicinity of the Suksant Hotel offers great crab with curry for 100 baht. The next one over has great green pepper hot plate crab.
- Vegetarian restaurant. early morning till 15.00 or so. In the vicinity of the Suksant Hotel,the street south of Suksant H. with a tiny garden outside. Look for the yellow sign indicating vegetarian fare. It offers jasmine rice or natural rice with two curry toppings for 30 baht (as of 2014), etc. It is run by religiously motivated women, and sells a variety of vegetarian/health products, teas, coffees etc.
- Khum Chao Lai Hotel (On the Prachuap Khiri Khan Rd (the one which leads from the northwest almost directly to Wat Thammikaram) where minibuses from Bangkok arrive. From the train station take Kong Kiat Rd (direction to the beach, turn left at the Phitak Chat Rd and when you reach Prachuap Khiri Khan Rd you turn left again and you'll reach the hotel after 200 m. Total distance about 15-20 min.). Clean, friendly hotel. Staff doesn't speak a lot of English, but it's sufficient. 250+ baht.
- Maggie's Homestay, 5 Soi Tampramuk 4, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Maggie's is a lovely traditional Thai family house, set in a shady garden. The quiet Tampramuk St runs in from the beach road between the Suksant and Had Tong Hotels and the house is about 100 m from the sea, and about 400 m from the train station. Large lounging areas in the garden and inside, cable TV, free use of kitchen, dining areas. Clean bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi in every room and in the garden. Laundry service, scooter and bicycle hire. Clean, cosy, quiet and friendly. 150 baht for a single bedroom up to 500 baht for the largest family room..
- Suksant Hotel. The plumbing is in a horrible state when it comes to the higher levels, to the point where the toilet would simply not flush. 400+ baht.
- Yuttichai Hotel. Clean, friendly family-style hotel on Kong Kiat Rd, which is the street leading from the train station in the direction towards the town pier. Free Wi-Fi, laundry and scooter rental services are also available. Single room for 150 baht with shared bath and double rooms with shared bath from 230 baht, more for en suite baths.
- Hadthong Hotel. Still Prachuap's only true full-service hotel option, the Hadthong has seen better days, but offers reasonably spacious rooms with views of the bay on the water side. It is centrally located, only a stones throw to the pier in the middle of the bay. Rates vary slightly, with a good buffet breakfast included. 950-1,050 baht.
- Prachuap Beach Hotel (South of the centre of town). Rooms are nicely appointed, modern and comfortable. Most have great views over the bay and town. The staff are eager to help and parking is available on the ground level. The breakfast noodle and wonton shop next door is highly recommended to start the day. Double rooms cost 650 baht a night and larger family rooms are available. 650+ baht.
- Sun Beach Guesthouse, 160 Chai Talay Rd, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Impeccably clean establishment across the road from the bay. There is not really a beach here. Pool, air-con, free Wi-Fi. Small restaurant serving breakfast. Sell assorted beer and soft drinks. Rooms have ample electrical outlets, not always a given in this price range. The only drawback is the many signs advising you what you can and cannot do. Staff not particularly friendly or helpful. 900+ baht.
There is an Internet cafe down Salacheep Rd near the school.
|Routes through Prachuap Khiri Khan|
|Bangkok ← Hua Hin ←||N S||→ Ban Krut → Butterworth|
|Bangkok ← Hua Hin ←||N S||→ Ban Krut → Sadao|