out and about in paradise city ...
This fast developing town is situated only some 7 kms from Hua Hin and is quickly becoming a fully self-contained holiday destination with amenities ranging from accommodation, beaches, activities, restaurants and bars.
It would not have been that many years ago that the town was little visited, but now it can support package tours and independent travellers for any length of time. Things have changed and the town is certainly worth a visit for a day, or even longer.
Meaning literally "chopstick hill" Khao Takiab is dominated by a 272 m high headland that juts out into the sea. It is clearly visible at the southern end of Hua Hin beach. If you approach the hill this way, you are rewarded with the sight of a 20m tall Lord Buddha statue and there are other religious figures, both Thai and Chinese, at the summit, together with a statue of King Rama V. The hill is also know as "Monkey Mountain" due to large numbers of monkeys (macaques) that are resident there. Whilst not really fierce, care should be taken when they are around as they have a habit of grabbing and making off with anything that takes their fancy, especially handbags and cameras. It is probably better not to feed them as the larger males can sometimes become aggressive if the bananas have run out.
There are two good beaches either side of "chopstick hill" and both are less busy than Hua Hin's, offering quiet places to relax and enjoy good food from the many nearby beach restaurants. Note: the area can get busy at weekends and public holidays with visiting Thais and important Buddhist holidays are generally marked by hundreds of devotees flocking to the temples to give offerings to the monks and thereby making merit.
Accommodation is springing up all over town and you can now find a full range, from 5 star resorts and spas to mid range hotels and guesthouses. (See Khao Takiab accommodation for further options).
Khao Takiab has always been renowned for its fish and seafood (just as is Hua Hin), but nowadays you can find good international cuisine as well. There are a number of small local restaurants on the main road through Khao Takiab and they all offer great local fare at very reasonable prices. The 5 star resorts have a number of top-quality restaurants that are certainly worth visiting if you are feeling extravagant. Other places worth trying are La Mer which is close to the temple and offers fantastic views of Hua Hin, Supatra on the beach and Rua Rimtarn that is constructed in the shape of a boat.
There is a good selection of temples in Khao Takiab, including Wat Khao Lad at the top of "Monkey Mountain". Activities include all kinds of watersports, including jetskiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, kayaking and waterskiing. Bookings can be made at a local company on the main beach. There is an elephant camp down the first soi to the beach south of the mountain and you can arrange rides and feeding there. Even martial arts can be learnt and practised by people of all ages either on the beach or in local temple grounds (for more info on fitness and martial arts in the area take a look at www.wt-thailand.com).
As the beach at Khao Takiab is flatter and wider than Hua Hin's, it's perfect for beach games such as football, beach volleyball and takraw. If the tide is right (ie low) a boat ride to Koh Singto (Lion Island) is good fun and you can fish, rock climb and explore the rock formations and vegetation there.
Getting to Khao Takiab is easy. Songtaews are the cheapest method to take, costing 10 baht to and from central Hua Hin. Tuk tuks ply the route for around 200 baht and motorcycle taxis should transport you for 100 baht. All-in-all, Khao Takiab provides a quiet get-away from Hua Hin. Try to enjoy it before it becomes too developed.
If you'd like to find out more about Khao Takiab or want to ask for information about it or surrounding areas, visit our South of Hua Hin forum.