Prachuap Khiri Khan (including Hua Hin)
The provincial capital is a fishing port with a superb location beside beautiful curving bays and amongst steep mountain outcrops. About 100 kilometres to the north of Prachuap Khiri Khan is Hua Hin, Thailand's first beach resort which is renowned for golf and spa. Between Hua Hin and Prachuap Khiri Khan are Pran Buri with many boutique resorts and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park with soaring peaks, numerous caves and exotic bird life.
281 kilometers south of Bangkok, Hua Hin, which literally means stone head in Thai, is the oldest beach resort of the country and is still very popular. Clean white sand, crystal clear water and a tranquil atmosphere has continued to attract tourists in search of peaceful and relaxing holidays.
The town was originally known as Ban Samoe Rieng, or Ban Laem Hin (Stony Point Village). The construction of a railway station in the city as part of the Southern Railroad in the reign of King Rama VI resulted in making Hua Hin stand out from many quite fishing villages. In addition, the construction of a Summer Palace of King Rama VII totally transformed the village into a high-society resort town for royalty. Even today, the Royal Family continues to reside at the Palace for part of the year.
Hua Hin's consequence came with the opening of the Railway Hotel (known today as the Sofitel Central Hotel), an elegant Victorian-style resort hotel, and also the countrys first standard golf course. A cluster of royal and high-society residences gradually became more visible resulting in the transformation of the whole village into the first seaside resort of the country, where visitors could enjoy swimming, fishing, and golfing in the country's first standard golf course.
Today, Hua Hin is a well-established beach destination with word-class facilities coupled with a true sense of Thai hospitality. Despite its expansive growth and development as a luxurious destination, the splendor of Hua Hin remains intact. Remaining content in itself, Thailand's oldest seaside resort has never sought international recognition. It has continued to provide a peaceful and relaxed sanctuary in a picturesque environment that comes with a true sense of historical identity.
How To Get There By car
Drive along Highway No. 35 (Thon Buri-Pak Tho) passing Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram Provinces and then take Highway No. 4 to Hua Hin Total distance is 123 kilometers. Alternatively, it is possible to travel via Nakhon Pathom and Ratchaburi Provinces.
SGA scenic airline provides 3 - 4 flights daily to Hua Hin (45 minutes). For more information, call Bangkok call center (662) 535 7050 - 1or Hua Hin (6632) 522 300 - 1.
Buses from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal cost 110 bahts for 1st class (air-conditioned), 85 bahts for 2nd class (air-conditioned) and 61 bahts (ordinary). The trip takes about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Various agencies on Khao San Road in Bangkok operate minivans to Hua Hin for 150 baht per person. The bus leaves for Bangkok from a station next to Siripetchkasem Hotel. In addition, there are air-conditioned buses leaving for Chumpon Province (125 baht, 4 hours), Surat Thani Province (210 baht, 7hours), Phuket Province (305 baht, 10 hours) and Krabi Province (280 baht, 9 hours)
The trip takes about 3-3/4 hours from Bangkok; 1st class fare is 202 baht (rapid and express only), 2nd class is 102 baht (rapid and express only) and 3rd class is 44 baht. Call 1690 for more details.
Local buses/songthaews from Hua Hin to the Hat (beach) of Khao Takiap, Khao Tam and Suan Son cost 7-10 baht / person. These buses run from around 6 a.m. until 5.50 p.m.
Buses to Pranburi are 10 baht and leave from the same area of Chomsin Road.
Samlors may cost 40 baht / trip in to town.
Motorcycles and bicycles can be rented from a couple of places on Damnoen Kasem Road near the Jed Pee Nong Hotel. Motorcycle rates are from 150 baht to 200 baht per day for 100cc and 250 baht to 300 baht for 125cc. Occasionally larger bikes - 400 to 750cc - are available for 500 baht to 600 baht a day. Bicycles are 30 baht to 70 baht per day.
At the fishing pier visitors can charter boats to Ko Singtoh for 800 baht a day. On Hat Takiap it is possible to get cheaper fares for 700 baht.
Local Products Fabric
Batik cloth is an interesting souvenir that can easily be found in shops around the town. Souvenir shops can be found in the town of Hua Hin, mostly on Naret Damri Road, Decha Nuchit Road, Chomsin Road, Damnoen Kasem Road, and the nearby areas. Some best buys include the printed cotton and silk fabric called Khommaphat.
Ao Mae Ramphueng and Ao Bo Thonglang
Situated in the southern extremities of the province, both are scenic bays in the Bang Saphan district area. Travel about 75 kilometres south of Phrachuap Khiri Khan to Km. 399, turn left and continue for another 17 kilometres via Bang Saphan Market to Ao Mae Ramphueng. Ao Bo Thonglang is 4 kilometres away. Accommodation and seafood restaurants are available.
Hat Ban Krut
This quiet beach is situated mid-way between Amphoe Thap Sakae and Bang Saphan. A good view of the beach can be seen from the top of Thong Chai Mountain where a huge sitting Buddha image is situated. Accommodation is available along the beach.
Ko Thalu, Ko Sang, and Ko Sing
These three islands suitable for fishing can be reached within 20 minutes by boat from Ban Pak Khlong, 3 kilometres east of Bang Saphan.
Located opposite Klai Kangwon Palace, this is the first butterfly and herbal garden in Hua Hin. Surrounded by diverse local plants from all over Thailand, it features varied species of butterflies, birds, orchids, flowers and herbal plants. It opens daily from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Hat Hua Hin
Hat Hua Hin is a 5-kilometer white sandy beach lined with a wide range of accommodations, from bungalows to five-star hotels and resorts. Located at the sunrise side of the city, the beach runs from a rocky headland which separates it from a tiny fishing pier, and gently curves for some three kilometers to the south where the Giant Standing Buddha Sculpture is located at the foot of Khao Takiap. While offering a tranquil atmosphere, the beach is also the place for fun-filled activities ranging from jogging, walking, sun bathing, horse riding, kite boarding, and other kinds of water sports.
Hat Khao Tao
This small beach at the foot of Khao Tao Hill lies about 10 kilometers south of Hua Hin. It is located on a pine-fringed beach and is more secluded than Hua Hin. The signature of the place is a large Buddha image which faces out to the sea. Bungalows are available.
Hua Hin Arts and Crafts Center
Situated in an old typical house on Naepkhehat Road, the center features a private collection of contemporary works of many Thai artists-paintings, sculptures and local handicrafts, as well as old furniture and many pictures about Hua Hin in the past.
Hua Hin Railway Station
Built in the reign of King Rama VI, the station is one of Thailand's oldest railway stations. In addition, it is one of the country's most beautiful train stations with unique architecture. Its most striking feature is the splendid Royal Waiting Room constructed in the Thai architectural style. The room was relocated from Sanam Chan Palace in Nakhon Pathom Province during the reign of King Rama VI.
Hua Hin Night Market
The most colorful spot in Hua Hin during the night, the market offer a wide array of food, drinks, deserts, memorable souvenirs; all kinds of freshly-prepared dishes. Famous are Pad Thai, Hoi Thod, fresh seafood, Indian roti bread, coconut ice cream, etc. (the list is endless) This market will delight visitors wishing to savor the real taste of Hua Hin.
Khao Hin Lek Fai
Definitely a vantage point to see the whole town of Hua Hin, the hill is located approximately 3 kilometers west of the town. The best time to see the city is in the early morning.
Located near Khao Takiap, this steep hill lends its name to the temple that is located there. The temple belongs to a Buddhist denomination originally founded by King Rama IV and showcases a collection of large Buddha images dating back several hundred years.
Khao Takiap Vantage Point
This hill is situated at the southern end of Hua Hin, only 4 kilometers from the town. It can be easily reached by local minibus. Visitors can go up the hilltop to enjoy a bird's eye view of Hua Hin, which is one of the delightful views either during the day or night. There is a temple call Wat Khao Takiap situated on top of the hill. The nearby Khao Takiap Beach offers mostly bungalow accommodations. The giant golden Buddha Statue standing against the cliff has become a landmark of Khao Takiap.
Klai Kangwon Palace
In Thai, the name of the palace literally means far from worries. This summer palace consisting of 3 Spanish style mansions facing the sea was constructed to the north of Hua Hin under the royal command of King Rama Vll. Today, it is the permanent residence of the King.
It is open to the public daily from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Call (032) 511115 for more information. A permit must be obtained from the Royal Household Office prior to a visit.
Approximately 800 meters off the coast of Suan Son Beach is Ko Singto, a small island suitable for fishing and diving. Some boats for hire are available.
Namtok Pa La-u
This beautiful 11-tiered rock waterfall is located in the densely verdant forest in the area of Kaengkrajan National Park where various kinds of birds and butterflies are found, especially in the morning. Some levels of the waterfall can be reached along a trekking trail parallel to the stream. The best time to watch butterflies is from 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. In addition, visitors may be able to spot wild animals and several species of rare birds. The best time to visit the fall is from November to April when the fall is at its most beautiful. The waterfall can be reached by local transportation from Hua Hin for a distance of 63 kilometers. For more information, call the Kaeng Krachan National Park at 032 459293.
Suan Son Pradiphat
This beachside area belongs to the Army Welfare Office and is open to the public. It is at Kilometer 241, some 8 kilometers south of Hua Hin. This is a tranquil and relaxing place to visit with various restaurants and accommodations in the form of guesthouses, hotels and self-catering bungalows.
Sam Roi Yot National Park
Located 63 kilometres south of Hua Hin in the vicinity of Kui Buri district, this coastal national park covers an area of 98 square kilometres with limestone mountains, mangrove swamps, and beaches. It is also home to various kinds of local and migrating birds, which are plentiful from November to February. With a large number of ridges, Khao Sam Roi Yot (or the mountain of 300 peaks) stands as a landmark for seamen and also provides a good shelter for ships during a storm. To get to the park, follow the direction signs marking the remaining distances of 38 and 15 kilometres at Km. 256 and Km.286.5, respectively. Admission is 200 baht per person.
Attractions within the park area include:
Hat Sam Phraya, located 3.5 kilometres north of the park office, is a beautiful beach lined with pine trees. Accommodation is available.
Tham Kaeo is situated some 23 kilometres from Pran Buri or 15 kilometres north of the park office. This cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites. Oil lamps can be rented at a nearby village for exploring the cave.
Tham Sai ,is 9 kilometres north of the park office. Exploration inside the cave takes about half an hour. Oil lamps can be rented at nearby Khung Tanot Village.
Hat Laem Sala is located 16 kilometres north of the park office. It can be reached by boat or walking across a hill from Bang Pu Village. Walking up a beachside mountain for a while, visitors will arrive at a famous cave called "Tham Phraya Nakhon". The cave has a big hole through which a shaft of light reaches and permits the growth of various kinds of plants. Phra Thi Nang Khuha Kharuhat, a Thai style pavilion, lends the most attractive sight to the cave and has become the symbol of Prachuap Khiri Khan. It is a four-porched building first constructed in Bangkok in 1890 during the reign of King Rama V, then dismantled and moved to the cave where it was reconstructed. Its gable tops were raised by the King himself.
In addition, there is a viewpoint on Khao Daeng, 400 metres from the park office and Ban Khao Daeng, a canalside village, which is the starting point for a 1 hour boat trip to watch wild birds.
Lying some 5 kilometres south of the town, this beautiful curved bay, once a battlefield between the Thai and Japanese armies during the Second World War, is under the care of the Royal Thai Airforce. Part of the beach is lined with souvenir stalls. The remainder, and the greater part, is tranquil and largely untouched by commercialism. Accommodation should be reserved in advanced at the 53rd Squadron, Tel: 0 3261 1017, 0 3261 1031 ext. 2146.
Khao Chong Krachok
From the foot of the hill in the north of the town, up 395 steps, sits a much revered monastery. There is a small pagoda and a troop of playful monkeys. The hill also offers a splendid panorama of the coastline and seascape.
King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology
This Science Park was established at Wa Ko in 1989 to commemorate King Monkut (King Rama IV), who is regarded as the Father of Thai Science Study. In 1968 the King made a trip to Wa Ko to witness an eclipse of the sun after his astronomical forecast. A science museum with many sections for youth education, an aquarium and a butterfly garden situated in the compound can be visited every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park is located at Km.335 of Highway No. 4, about 12 kilometres from Prachuap Khiri Khan and 4 kilometres along a branch road. Call 0 3266 1098 for more information.
Pran Buri is some 30 kilometres south of Hua Hin. There are several beach resorts in peaceful atmosphere. The Pran Buri Forest Park occupies a large area with a 1-kilometre pine-fringed beach and mangrove nature trails.
Hat Wanakon National Park
23 kilometres from Prachuap Khiri Khan, this 38-square kilometre park is centred on a fine 7 kilometre-pine-fringed beach. Camping is permitted. Snorkelling around offshore islands, swimming, hiking and bird watching number among major attractions. Admission is 200 baht per person. Accommodation facilities are available.
Namtok Huai Yang National Park
This 16-square kilometre-park covers a forested area on the Tanao Si Mountain Range. A 5-layer waterfall, Namtok Huai Yang, near the park office is its main attraction. The highest elevation is the 1,251-metre Khao Luang mountain. Admission is 200 baht per person. Accommodation is available near the park headquarters.