Located 281 km. south of Bangkok, Prachuap Khiri Khan is a rather small province with an area of 6,367 sq.km. Although situated at the northern end of peninsular Thailand, it is considered part of the central region of the country because its climate is influenced by the northeast monsoon in winter more than the other provinces in the South.
Today the province is famous for its natural charm of beaches and mountains. Hua Hin , its major attraction, is one of Thailand's most popular seaside resorts among both Thai and foreign visitors. The county of Hua Hin also boasts the oldest and still actively used provincial residence of Their Majesties the King and Queen.
The following are tourist attractions in Prachuap Khiri Khan as divided into counties (= amphoe).
|Amphoe Hua Hin . Amphoe Pran Buri . Amphoe Muang
Amphoe Thap Sakae . Amphoe Bang Saphan
|Attractions in Amphoe Hua Hin
Lying some 200 kilometres to the south of Bangkok, Hua Hin is in fact the oldest beach resort of the country and is still as popular as ever.
There are several factors which have helped transform this once quiet fishing village into a popular beach resort. The first major event which led Hua Hin to its prosperity was the construction of the southern railway line in the reign of King Rama VI (1910-1925), which was soon followed by the establishment of the Railway Hotel and the Royal Hua Hin Golf Course. But the most important of all was the construction of the summer palace by King Rama VII in 1926 which he named Klai Kangwon Palace (meaning "far from worries"). From then on, people have kept flocking to this newly-discovered seaside resort to enjoy their holidays, especially in the hot season.
|Hua Hin Beach
It is a tranquil white sand beach stretching from a rocky headland to Khao Takiap hill in the southern end where a Buddhist temple clings to the cliffs. About 5 km. long, Hua Hin beach is full of large smooth stones at its ends and as a result it was named "Hua Hin" meaning the stone head.
The seaside resort attracts lots of Thai and foreign tourists who seek a nice beach holiday close to Bangkok. With full facilities and its proximity to the entertainment centre in town, the beach is lined with a wide selection of accommodation ranging from hotels to bungalows.
Hua Hin offers great opportunities for swimming and relaxing in peace as well as the special acitivity of horse riding. Bicycles are available for rent. The beach-side area is also a popular dining venue.
|Hua Hin Railway Station
This is one of the oldest railway stations in Thailand. Its unique feature, the red and white pavilion formerly served as the Royal Waiting Room, was built in classical Thai-style by command of King Rama VI (1910-1925) for use in the Sanamchan Palace in Nakhon Pathom province.
In 1968, the pavilion was renovated and moved to be settled at Hua Hin Railway Station.
|Klai Kangwon Palace or the Summer Palace
Built in 1926, soon after King Rama VII was crowned, the palace consists of three Spanish-style mansions overlooking the sea. Besides the beautiful ornamental gardens, the palace also features a shell museum. Presently, it is the residence of His Majesty the King.
This hill, jutting out to sea, is lying at the southern end of Hua Hin beach, about 6 km. from town. It has a temple and a huge standing Buddha image on the hilltop, where a good vantage point is provided. Formerly, visitors had to climb series of steps to the top of Takiap Hill to enjoy the panoramic views of the bay and Hua Hin town. But now the hill is easily accessible by car.
View Point on Takiap Hill
Accommodations and seafood restaurants are available around Takiap Beach.
This steep hill, located next to Takiap Hill, a little way from the sea, features an old Buddhist temple where a collection of large Buddha images several hundred years old are housed.
Khao Hin Lek Fai
Located about 2 km. west of Hua Hin town, this is a splendid vantage point where a panoramic view of the town and Hua Hin Bay can be seen. There is also a standing statue of King Rama VII on the hill.
Suan Son Pradiphat Beach
This beautiful stretch of beach is 8 km. south of Hua Hin. It derives its name from the casuarina pine trees, or son in Thai, which line the beach. It is a scenic place for rest and recuperation with accommodations run by the Army Welfare Office.
This tiny islet, lying about 800 m. off the coast of Suan Son Beach, is good for fishing and diving. Boats can be rented at Khao Takiap village.
Khao Tao Beach
Situated at the foot of Khao Tao Hill, about 13 km. from Hua Hin town, this pine-fringed beach is clean and more secluded. Its main feature is a large Buddha image facing the sea.
Pa La-U Waterfall
This beautiful 15-leap waterfall in the middle of the rich virgin forest is located about 60 km. to the west of Hua Hin town. However, the fall is within the limits of Kaeng Krachan National Park which covers areas in the province of Phetchaburi as well as Prachuap Khiri Khan. The water of this fall flows from Tenasserim Mountain in the west through the forests and cascades down the high cliff of Pa La-U.
There is a nature study trail along an 800-metre path starting from the car park and leading to the first level of Pa La-U Waterfall. The surrounding green forests are an ideal place for those interested in ecology and wildlife. Various kinds of birds and colourful butterflies are found here in abundance.
Hua Hin Arts & Crafts Centre
Located on Naepkhehat Road, it showcases works of art including paintings, sculptures, Thai folk handicrafts and antiques.
Hua Hin Night Market
Situated in downtown Hua Hin, this lively market is a nice place to hang around in the evening, to enjoy fresh seafood as well as to shop for souvenirs, clothes and local handicrafts.
Panee Butterfly Garden
Located opposite to Klai Kangwon Palace, here 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, 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.
Thanarat Infantry Camp
If you love challenging and exciting outdoor activities, here is the place for you. Lying about 25 km. south of Hua Hin and setting in a large area of 960 sq.km., the camp offers a wide range of "soft-adventure" activities such as high-diving, rock climbing, shooting, fishing, camping, etc.
|Attractions in Amphoe Pran Buri
Sam Roi Yot National Park
This is the first seaside national park of Thailand with an area of approximately 98 sq.km. The park is located on the coast between the provincial town and Hua Hin. Its name means the Mountain of 300 Peaks. The topography of the park consists of the undulating ranges of limestone hills, mangrove swamps, canals and creeks and beaches.
The unique environment of the fertile marshland gives rise to a large variety of tourist attractions. It is also a sanctuary of wildlife and various kinds of local and migratory birds, the latter of which are plentiful from November to February. Some major attractions in the park are as follows:
Laem Sala Beach & Phraya Nakhon Cave
Situated 16 km. north of the park office, this long-stretching beach are lined with guest houses, restaurants and a camp site.
Walking up the beachside mountain for a while, visitors will arrive at a famous cave called 'Tham Phraya Nakhon'. Featuring a pavilion built especially for King Rama V's visit in 1890, the cave is well-known for having been visited by three Chakri kings - Rama V, Rama VII and King Bhumibol.
Sam Phraya Beach
Located 3.5 km. north of the park office, it is a tranquil sandy beach lined with pine trees.
The southern end of the beach, which is a mudflat, is a good place for birdwatching.
The rock formations in this cave sparkle splendidly like crystal in the light.
There are a lot of stalagmites and stalactites in this cave.
Khao Daeng Canal
The canal offers an opportunity for a sightseeing tour through mangrove swamps inhabited by many birds and wildlife. The trip takes about 1.30 hours.
Pran Buri River
Tourists can have a 3-hour sightseeing tour on boat to absorb the scenic views of nature, pineapple plantations, fishing villages and spot a variety of bird species.
Pran Buri Park Reserve
Lying about 15 km. south of Hua Hin, the park is a strip of land connecting Hua Hin and Pran Buri. Visitors can have a close study of the eco-system of the mangrove swamps by walking along the wooden bridge in the park and read the information boards provided all the way.
|Attractions in Amphoe Muang
Chong Krachok Hill
The hill's name, meaning a mirror, comes from a natural aperture near its peak which allows light to pass through. There is a flight of 395 steps leading to Thammikaram Temple or Wat Khao Chong Krachok, enshrining relics of the Lord Buddha. The hill also offers a beautiful panorama of Ao Prachuap Bay.
This lovely curved bay, situated some 5 km. south of the town, is under the care of the Royal Thai Airforce, Base 53. The beach here is nice for swimming.
Located about 12 km. south of the town, this quiet coastal area is of historical significance. It was here on 18 August 1868 that King Rama IV, after accurately predicting the date and time of a solar eclipse, observed the natural phenomenon together with his royal children, the British Governor of Singapore and some other foreign guests. Now the area has become a site of King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology.
|Attractions in Amphoe Thap Sakae
Hat Wanakorn National Park
Lying about 23 km. south of Prachuap Khiri Khan, the park offers a 7-km long sandy beach lined with pine trees. A few dive sites can be found around the small islets offshore with some coral reefs.
Namtok Huai Yang National Park
Located between km. 350 and km. 351 of Phetkasem Road, 27 km. south of Prachuap Khiri Khan, the park covers an area of 161 sq.km. on the Tenasserim Mountain range. The 9-leap Huai Yang Waterfall is the main attraction and most frequented by local visitors. Other beautiful waterfalls are Bua Sawan, Khao Lan, Hin Dart, and Kha On waterfalls.
|Attractions in Amphoe Bang Saphan
Ban Krud Beach
This is a beautiful wide beach hidden away in a tranquil area of Bang Saphan county. It is also a good place to experience the way of life of the fishing community. There are a good number of accommodation along the beach.
Khao Thongchai Mount
Here is the vantage point of Bankrud Beach. From the mount top, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the vast bay as well as the beautiful sunrise and sunset. On the mount there are also a huge golden Buddha image facing the sea and a shrine to 'Krom Luang Chumphon', the Father of the Royal Thai Navy.
This is a tiny island about 1 km. offshore, north of Thongchai Mount. It has beautiful coral reefs and plentiful marine life.
Ao Bo Thonglang
Located about 12 km. from Bang Saphan county, this lovely white beach with sandbanks and islets is suitable for swimming.
Ko Thalu, Ko Sang and Ko Sing
These three small islands are located off the coast of Bang Saphan and can be reached in 30 minutes from Ban Pak Khlong harbour. The crystal clear water and an abundance of fantastic coral reefs and marine life around the islands of Ko Thalu and Ko Sang make them ideal for snorkeling and diving.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Regional Office
500/51 Phetkasem Road, Amphoe Cha-am, Phetchaburi 76120.
Tel. 0 3247 1005-6, Fax. 0 3247 1502
Hua Hin Events
There are several annual events here that draw crowds from across the globe. From festivals to sporting events to markets and tournaments, Hua Hin has it all.
Hua Hin Jazz Festival
This is held every June and is a world class event. The three day festival stretches from the railway station down to the beach with markets, vendors, 3 Jazz stages and local hotels offering their finest cuisine. Sponsored by Heineken the Hua Hin Jazz Fesival is a must, not just for those Jazz enthusiasts but for music lovers everywhere.
Kings Cup Elephant Polo
The month of September brings the always entertaining elephant polo tournament organised by the Anantara Resort & Spa. Teams from across the globe converge on Hua Hin to climb aboard their ten tonne steeds and do battle. The week long competition climaxes with the final game for the coveted Kings Cup.
Hua Hin Food Festival
This annual event gives local Hoteliers a chance to show off their culinary skills. Held at the end of November the week long festival gives you a chance to sample some of the regions fine cuisine including arguably some of the best seafood in the world.
Hua Hin Golf Festival
This competition is usually held in August. It attracts golfers from all over to come and compete on the world class golf courses in Hua Hin. With high stakes and great prizes this is a must for the golfer.
There are several other events in Hua Hin including local markets and charity events, a kite festival, and carnivals. No matter what time of year you visit Hua Hin there will always be something happening!