Prachuap Khiri Khan
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See more of Prachuap's remote beaches & hotels in detailed travel guide pages about this entire coast:
- Prachaup; long, lonely coast with tranquil beaches and scattered beach hotels
- Ban Krut, south Prachuap, has the prettiest beaches on this Gulf coastline
- Ban Krut: villages, boats & temples - things to do and see
. Phetchaburi, quiet beaches, small resorts, lush province
Prachaup Khiri Khan’s beaches are little-known, tranquil with some surprising resorts
Prachuap Khiri Khan is one of the least known of Thailand’s beach destinations, and it’s not so surprising. Aside from a handful of resorts that have built onto the hundreds of kilometres of mostly empty beach, there are few sign of tourism here. This province facing the Gulf of Thailand is largely rural and, except for a few fishing villages and the provincial town itself, there is very little development close to the beaches. Those few resorts definitely have endless stretches of beach to themselves. Here in Prachuap you don’t to look far for a kilometer of beach to yourself, and if you want, you can easily have ten.
Prachuap province occupies approximately 200 kilometres of the Gulf coast that starts at the more famous seaside resort town of Hua Hin. This is only two and a half hours drive form Bangkok, while the provincial capital is about four hours. The beaches and resorts in the northern part of the province, at Kui Buri, are a little less than this, and those to the south a little more.
the longer the trip south you make, the better the beaches become
The beaches of Prachuap don’t have the knock-out tropical look often seen in advertising. Those beaches are mostly found on the islands further south. Here the beaches are much more mundane; usually very straight, and derive their character and attraction in the lack of development and tranquil loneliness that so many western foreigners crave.
Prachuap faces the relatively shallow waters of the Gulf, which average about 30 metres, and never get as clear and the deep ocean. We note that some hotels here have photo-shopped the colour of the water in front of their resorts. The only clear turquoise water found in the Gulf is around islands like Koh Tao or Koh Samui.
Where the coast is lined with coconut plantations Prachuap’s beaches become significantly more attractive, but a lot of the back-of-beach foliage is low and scrubby. This is one of the driest parts of Thailand, for it lies in a partial rain shadow caused by the mountain range directly behind. Though mostly straight and flat, the coastline is punctuated by occasional rocky karst uprisings that protrude steeply, creating singular mountain landmarks visible from afar.
Prachuap town remains typically Thai and provincial
Prachuap town lies along a small bay distinguished by rocky the two protrusions – almost mountains – that tower over the beach at each end. A third of these karst outcrops overlooks the fishing village of Klong Wan, a little to the south, where we find a few interesting resorts right in among the fisherfolk.
Prachuap town is a good example of a typical Thai provincial centre, one that slumbers far from the frenetic bustle of Bangkok. Life moves at a few paces slower here, and the people amble through the streets with an ever-ready smile. There’s a wide-open boulevard along the seafront, and a long jetty jutting seawards that’s exceptionally pleasant for strolling in the sunset hours. After dark the waterfront area comes alive, with street vendors selling all kinds of street food and snacks and restaurants popping open on the pavements.
As a matter of interest, Prachuap town marks the narrowest part of southern Thailand, with the Myanmar frontier just 15 kilometres away, the total width of the country at this point. The mountain tops clearly visible to the west are the watershed and boundary between the two countries. The turnoff to Dan Singkhon border crossing is just 12 kilometres south of town. The expansive market on the Thai side of the border crossing is one of the more interesting places to visit in this province, for the big range of products brought in from Myanmar tells quite a lot about that still-backward neighbour.
some surprising and interesting resorts
One of the surprises on Prachuap’s beaches, perhaps, is the quality of the new resorts that have opened here during the past few years, several in the 4- and 5-star range. Before that there were only a few scrappy bungalow establishments whose main market was bussed-in student groups from Bangkok. Those cheapies still remain, though some of these have also upgraded to reach a respectable two- and 3-star status.
Some of the up-market resorts, like @T Boutique Resort and Tri-Shawa Resort, have built right within the local communities, giving their guests the opportunity to wander through low-key Thai urban areas, visit fishing villages and find local restaurants and shops. This offers a rare opportunity to experience a Thai beach community before it is significantly affected by tourism.