Prachuap Khiri Khan is the capital of the province with the same name and can be reached quite easily from Hua Hin (and therefore also from Bangkok). It’s a small fishing town and therefore does not attract to many tourists at the time being. Nevertheless there is a design hotel (probably the only place that is super vacant most of the time) in town and a few typical hotel developments are to be seen. Most accommodation however are small hotels or guesthouses and fit into the charming sea side atmosphere of PKK (Prachuap Khiri Khan).
How to go to Prachuap Khiri Khan
We went there by van from Hua Hin since we couldn’t stand Hua Hin any longer. The advertised time is 2.5 hours but the trip easily lasts 3 to 4 hours depending on the traffic and the amount of stops the vans do in between. Nevertheless vans are a decent option since they will only charge you 80 THB per person for a trip down south.
Alternatively, as always, you could jump on a coach, taxi or limousine but, coming from Hua Hin, the van is probably the best choice. If you’re coming from Bangkok or any other province besides Chumpon (also van service available) it probably makes sense to either opt in for the bus or the train. For the way PKK to BKK we opted for the bus since train times and prices (most good deals have already been booked) weren’t that great. Having that said it’s worth mentioning that the train station is easy to reach though and that quite a few trains are stopping on their way from the south to Bangkok.
By the way: If you want to leave PKK again, the bus station isn’t that huge so better be sure to ask for the way since it’s quite easy to overlook when there’s not a bus parking in front of it. It’s located close to the police station (after the police turn left, 100 meters on the right hand side – coming from the beach side of town) but still can easily be missed.
Where to stay in Prachuap Khiri Khan
We ended up in the Sunbeach Guesthouse and this was, up to now, easily one of the best guesthouse I ever stayed in. Located just across the Prachuap Khiri Khan bay (lots of fishing boats to see) this family run guesthouse offers incredible accommodation for a super decent price. We paid 700 THB / person and lived like in a fantastic hotel. Incredibly friendly staff, swimming pool, room cleaning, fridge, working WiFi, etc.
I reserved the room in advance since we traveled during Thai public holidays so I wanted to make sure that we would have a roof over our heads and the Sunbeach Guesthouse always replied to my emails within 30 minutes. I’m still amazed by that. They offer only eight rooms what makes it even more charming.
For more details check pictures on facebook – but be assured this guesthouse was really good and I’m not getting any commission for saying that.
What to do in Prachuap Khiri Khan
Well if you are an action seeking party junkie PKK might not be for you. If you are looking for a few scenic spots and some relaxing time then this is your place to go (instead of Hua Hin). The main strip of PKK is alongside the bay and sees a fair share of seafood restaurants and a few cafes. Besides that PKK hosts a small night market and once in a while (public holidays for example) a pretty cool ‘walking street’ / festival with lots of good food.
Since PKK beach itself isn’t that much of a bathing beach (remember: fishery) you might want to check out Ao Manao – a bay within the area of the airforce base. Yes, you heard that right. You will have to enter the airforce base (no problem, sometimes you will be asked to sign your name – don’t worry, that’s common) and follow the signs there until you reach the bay. Over there you will find some beachside shops and food courts (where you can find AMAZING SomTam (Papaya Salad)) and some tourist styles hammocks and umbrellas. The water is quite shallow and warm so you will have to walk a bit until you can swim. The view however is pretty cool and totally worth it. In addition, if it’s not a Thai holiday at the time of your visit, you won’t see to many other people there.
If this all is a bit too touristic for you (I’d understand) simply take your bike or motorcycle (yes, you should rent one) and ride around the next corner (either stop before the next military check point or pass it – with a smile – the guard will appreciate it) and find yourself some awesomely quiet bays and soft sand just for yourself. Don’t take to many pictures though and don’t litter – you’re on a military base and those guys carry weapons. Just saying (because you would totally deserve being punished if you mess this beautiful place up) :P
Myanmar isn’t far (12km) so some might like to head over there and do some border shopping. However please be advised that it’s not an invitation for visa runs. Those times are, mostly, over.
Looking from the beach up to the mountain you’ll see a buddhist sala and a Thai flag. This means you can go there, if you are fit. It’s quite exhausting and at some points quite steep (ropes are needed to continue the climb). Don’t wear flip flops or take it too easy. It’s worth the effort but make sure you’re prepared.
The historical park lies within the airforce base and is close to the royal residence. That’s why you will have to pass a few more military guards. Smile and nod at them. They will feel more important and let you pass without hesitation. Nice area to hang out.
Ao Khan Kadai
Wat Ao Noi is a temple with a cave nearby. If you have some time, visit it. It’s nice. The wat is made of seashells and the cave is also nice to check out.
Kao Chong Krachok
395 steps to Wat Thamikaran that can be worth it. You’ll find a revered monastery housing and a famous Buddha footprint. The monastery belongs to Wat Thamikaran which is also known as Wat Khao Chong Krachok. You’ll get a pretty cool view up there (especially during sunrise) but you have to be able to fight off (or ignore) the huge amounts of monkeys that live there. They’ll chase you and your stuff in order to get something of ‘value’ from you.