out and about around paradise city ...
The town of the above name is, not surprisingly, the provincial and administrative capital of Prachuabkirikhan province.
Whilst Hua Hin is larger in size, both geographically and by population, Prachuabkirikhan still maintains a number of offices that administer the province. The provincial labour department is located here for those that need to work in Hua Hin, all work permit issues are handled in Prachuab.
It is located some 80kms south of Hua Hin and easily accessable by car, bus or train, in about 1-1.5 hours. It is definitely worth a visit for a day or two to experience the more "laid back" Thai feeling of the town. There are a number of attractions, including temples, beaches and even golf.
Of particualar interest is Khao Chong Krajok (Mirror Tunnel Mountain) which is situated in the northern part of town. You can't miss it as it's visible from the highway. A lengthy climb up a stairway brings you to Wat Thammikaram that was established by King Rama VI. Here you will have spectacular views over the town and surrounding area. NOTE: there are hoards of monkeys here, so be careful of your belongings. They will grab and snatch anything.
Prachuabkirikhan has a pretty bay wth plenty of eating places, but slightly to the south, on a military base, you will discover Ao Manao. Here the water is clear and turquoise-blue, a pleasant change from the water in Hua Hin. Again, there are numerous beachside restaurants that serve up delicious seafood and other dishes at very competitive prices. The beach at Ao Manao is wide and long, ideal for kids, however it does get busy on weekends and public holidays.
To the north, again on the military base, is a nine-hole golf course. It may not be in the best of condition, but it certainly presents a challenge, with some long par 4s and one par 5. For 50/100 Baht to play 9/18 holes, it's great value for money. There are no caddies, but trolleys are available for 20 Baht. As this is a military base, the whole area closes to visitors at sundown.
Just a few kilometers to the south of Prachuabkirikhan, off the main highway to the west, is Dan Singkhon which is right on the Burmese border. This is the narrowest point of Thailand between The Gulf and the Burmese border. A new road has been constructed recently, but the crossing is for Thai and Burmese only at the moment. Hopefully this may change in the future so Westerners can have a closer exit point than Ranong.
If you fancy a little tour of the area, there are a few picturesque bays to the north of town, namely Ao Bang Nang Lom, Khlong Bang Nang Lom and Ao Noi.
For more information and discussion of Prachuabkirikhan and surrounding areas, visit our South of Hua Hin forum.
In the town of Waghor just 10km or so south of Prachuab is a brand new aquarium offering a number of impressive displays of marine and freshwater wildlife. There is a lot of information on each ecosystem displayed and the zones are designed and decorated to reflect their environments. There are a number of exhibitions including origins of life on earth, underwater worlds, and various ecosystems.
The aquarium is a part of the King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology at Waghor. Its objective is to become a learning centre for scientific marine ecology and the environment for students, the general public and tourists. Eco tours offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into aquatic ecosystems, including river, brackish water and the ocean.
The Waghor Aquarium received a budget of 162,230,000 baht for construction in 1999-2001 and was completed in March 2002. Further budget was granted for interior design and exhibitions, which began in August 2003 and was finished in October 2004. Opening hours are from 09.00 to 16.00.
For those who want to spend more than a day here, there are numerous mid-range hotels and guesthouses dotted around town however very few of them have websites or contact details so you will have to book when you arrive, be aware that it gets very busy at long weekends.