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 were the first to set this location on the map as the original beach resort 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 for 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 13 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 at Mueang Kui until 1898, when it was moved to Ao Ko Lak or Ao Prachuap, the site of Mueang Prachuap Khiri Khan today.
From Bangkok, there are two 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.
For an inexpensive and fast way to go from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), book the inexpensive daily express bus from Bangkok airport (BKK) to Hua Hin, then hop on a taxi or mini-bus for a ride to the city of Prachuap. The bus fare is 269 baht (Mar 2017) or about US$7. To view the bus schedule and to book, visit Roong Reuang Coach Co. [dead link].
From Hualamphong railway station in Bangkok, 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.
- 1 Prachuap Khiri Khan railway station.
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 agreed 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, 204/3 Thanon Sukjai (phone 032-601 109) English and German Speaking. Prices start from 1,500 baht per 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 (อ่าวมะนาว). 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 20 baht. Ao Manao was a battlefield in World War II between Thai and Japanese armies. It is a clean beach suitable for swimming. Opposite the beach stands Khao Lom Muak. At ebb tide, a long sand bar will appear. At the summit of Khao Lom Muak, there is a replica of the Buddha's footprint. At the foot of the mountain stands a shrine of Chaopho Khao Lom Muak. On Ao Manao you can ride horses, do some archery and have a Western BBQ. Free.
- City Pillar. Reputedly one of the prettiest in Thailand. The photo on this page is of the gate, typical of most towns in Thailand. The pillar is near the pier and is the pride of the townspeople. Free.
- 1 Monkey Temple (Wat Thammikaram). The "monkey temple", Wat Thammikaram, is just north of town on a steep hill. Many monkeys (macaques) live in the temple and a monkey fountain statue is at the base of the hill. The temple provides excellent views of the bay and countryside, and many locals there go to feed or watch the monkeys.
- Wat Khao Hinturn. Surreal temple formed / built around a formation of giant rocks, it's outside the town located at this location Definitely worth a visit. To get a taste of the surreal experience visit their website first: http://watkhaohinturn.net/
- Hat Wanakon National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหาดวนกร). It is a mixed deciduous forest generally comprising sparse woods and various shed-leaf plants mixed together such as Phai Pa and Bambusa bambos Originally, this area was a planted forest, mixed with a natural-grown one, which was just recovered. Fish found are fresh-water fish such as catfish, snake-headed fish, climbing perch, Nile tilapia, and various kinds of sea fish. The beach is 7 kilometres long, lined with Horsetail trees.
- Khao Chong Krachok (เขาช่องกระจก). A small mountain where a large number of stump-tailed macaques reside. Its entrance is behind the City Hall with 396 steps to the summit, being a height of 245 metres from sea level. It is the location of Wat Khao Chong Krachok where a replica of the Buddha's footprint and the relics of the Buddha, which the king came to attend its containing ceremony on 12 June 1958, and planted a bodhi tree, are enshrined.
- Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาสามร้อยยอด). It includes high and steep limestone mountains by the beach and a wet mud plain beach combining with shallow sea, as well as limestone islets lined up near the shore, where various kinds of birds reside during November and February. It was named a national park on 28 June 1966, the fourth national park of the country and the first marine national park of Thailand. There are many attractions within the park: Khao Daeng View Point, Tham Sai, Thung Sam Rot, and Hat Laem Sala.
- Ko Thalu, Ko Sang, Ko Sing (เกาะทะลุ เกาะสังข์ เกาะสิงห์). Small islands close to one another. Beaches, mountains and coconut groves with abundant white sandy beaches such as Ao Muk (อ่าวมุก), surrounded by a scenic atmosphere, white sand and a nicely coloured sea and corals.
- Namtok Huai Yang (น้ำตกห้วยยาง). A small nine-tiered waterfall near the office of the Huai Yang National Park. It is popular for those wanting to relax due to its scenery and interesting nature study route.
- Pran Buri Forest Park (วนอุทยานปราณบุรี). Pran Buri Forest Park possesses a white sandy beach that is shady with a one kilometre line of pine trees on the east of the park. Moreover, from the park, the scenery of the sea, are the islands of Ko Singto, Khao Takiap and Khao Tao. This forest originally began as a royal project under the patronage of Queen Sirikit.
- Rajabhakti Park (7 km S of Hua Hin). Larger than life statues of seven prominent Thai kings.
- Waghor Aquarium. Part of the King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology.
- Sea Kayaking. 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.
- Fair to Commemorate the Heroic Deeds of 8 December 1941 (Wing 53, Mueang Prachuap Khiri Khan). At Ao Manao within the compound of Wing 53, Mueang Prachuap Khiri Khan, from 7–10 December to commemorate and honour the heroic deeds of the Thai civilians, police, and soldiers battled the invading Japanese army at Ao Manao on 8 December 1941. There are air force exhibitions, booths offering local products, and various entertainments such as Lam Tat, a performance presenting an exchange of impromptu poetic verse, and Khon, a masked dance in impromptu style.
- Khao Chong Krachok Tak Bat Devo Ceremony (Wat Thammikaram Worawihan, at the foot of Khao Chong Krachok, Mueang District, Prachuap Khiri Khan). Organized at during the end of Buddhist Lent every year. Besides an exhibition of votive tablets and Buddha images, there is also a traditional Chak Phra Festival and float parade of Buddha’s biography.
- Cruising the Pran River (ล่องเรือแม่น้ำปราณ). The Pran River originates in the Kaeng Krachan forest, passing mountains in the west before flowing into the sea at the mouth of the Pran River. Long-tail boats ply past important local attractions such as the city pillar shrine and Chaomae Thapthim Shrine.
- Ban Fang Tha Wildlife Preservation Village. A village with agro-tourism activities. Long-tailed boats float along the Pran Buri River passing mangrove forest, protected birds and water animals. Other attractions are aromatic coconuts (maphrao namhom), pineapples, pomelos, sapodillas, mangoes, and bananas. It can be considered a mixed cultivation garden.
- Diving. Diving in Prachuap Khiri Khan may not be the kingdom's best but there is still opportunity to experience exotic coral and marine life. Bang Sapan, in the southern part of Prachuap Khiri Khan, is home to a couple of islands for decent snorkeling and diving. Ko Thalu is the most appealing area in the vicinity for diving. The island offers divers shallow fringing reef and coral gardens with large schools of snappers, fusiliers, and the occasional large ray. Besides Ko Thalu, there is also Ko Sang and Ko Lamla.
- Trekking. The forest around Pa La-U Waterfall is a well-known place for trekking. There are various species of birds and butterflies and some species of wild animals in the area.
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 Hotel 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). It is run by religiously motivated women, and sells a variety of vegetarian/health products, teas, coffees etc.
- 1 [dead link] La Vite, 342 Sala Cheep Rd (Between Wat Ko Lak and the military base entrance, on the right (same side of the temple)), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Su, 11:00-15:00 and 17:00-22:00. Closed Monday. Typical Italian restaurant runned by family with traditional oven for pizzas, bread, and roasts. All food is prepared with primary quality ingredients and strictly following the original Italian recipe. Price are reasonable, ambience is warm, and soft music will let you better enjoy your experience. 250-700 baht.
- Baan Aomjai Address: Soi Ko Lak 2/2, Amphoe Mueang Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chang Wat Prachuap Khiri Khan 77000, Thailand. Available as a nightly rental or long term vacation rental; great for all travelers and writers and as a retreat getaway from the busy city life in Bangkok. They have studios, one and two bedrooms apartment all with private bathrooms. Prices starting at $18 USD(about 640 baht) per night. Great vacation rental for couples, solo adventurers, business travelers, and families with or without kids. This air-conditioned apartment features free WiFi, a mini-fridge, towels, bed linen, terrace, free parking, washing machine and flat-screen TVs. Enjoy their relaxing patio aka sala equipped with an opened kitchen and dining area. It is a very relaxing location surrounded by towering palm trees. There’s also a swimming pool, gym and restaurant within 5 mins walk of the guesthouse apartment and the scenic Ao Manao beach is within a 20 minutes bike ride. There are many Thai and western food options such as pizza, pasta(Italian), German and French food available in town. The owners are very helpful in getting you acquainted with Prachuap and can help you pick daily activities to enjoy your vacation or relax at scenic palm trees swaying beach near by and go for a swim, get a tan and kick your feet up and relax up under a palm tree reading your favorite book. Highly recommended for those seeking an alternative vacation spot to noisy city life in Bangkok.
- 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.
- [formerly dead link] Maggie's Homestay, 5 Soi Tampramuk 4, ☏ , ✉ 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. 450 baht for a single bedroom up to 650 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 220 baht with shared bath and double rooms with shared bath from 250 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, ☏ , ✉ 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.