Bangkok, 04 June, 2021 – Hua Hin is the most popular city in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Its long beach, fresh seafood restaurants, world-class spas, and night markets only a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok attracts a lot of Bangkokians every weekend and on Thai holidays. But let’s go a little farther South to discover mountains, quiet beaches, amazing caves, wild elephants, a charming city, and achieve one of the most epic climbs in Thailand.
First stop, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, one of the greatest combinations of long littoral beaches and mountains in the country. The best time to arrive is in the late afternoon and get accommodation inside the Park. There are a few resorts, even homestays, or bungalows and tents a few feet away from the sea rented by the rangers at Laem Sala Beach.
The perfect start to the day there is to wake up early and go for a boat tour through the swamps at sunrise with the clouds and sky reflecting on the water, the moorhens and many other types of birds flying away on your path, lotus flowers opening up, fishermen throwing their nets to catch fish and, if you are lucky, langurs jumping from tree to tree.
Then, the day gets a little more athletic with a less than an hour trail in the jungle to reach the highlight of the Park, the Phraya Nakhon Cave. This two-chamber cave hosts a small royal pavilion built in 1890 for King Rama V the Great’s visit that when illuminated by a ray of light coming from the ceiling opening forms the most iconic picture of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
Khao Daeng Viewpoint completes the three top places to visit here. Going up is a little hard, but it offers the best 360-degree panorama, and here too, you may encounter langurs on your way to the summit. Depending on your timing, Sai Cave housing a beautiful stone waterfallcan be added to fulfil your day.
In afternoon of the next day, prepare for a date with wild elephants at Kui Buri National Park, 45 kilometres away. The rangers who locate them and communicate with walkie-talkies offer pick-up car tours to take you to meet the gentle giants. The first departure is around 14.00 Hrs. but the best time is 16.00 Hrs. when the pachyderms leave the forest more easily and usually bathe.
It is time now to reach Prachuap Khiri Khan City. If you arrive on a weekend, don’t miss the Walking Street taking place from 17.00 Hrs. on Sala Cheep Road from the Saranwithi Bridge to the foot of the mountain. There is a wide choice of local street food to buy and eat with seating on the guardrail along the sea.
A typical day in the town starts with walking up the 396 steps leading to the temple on the top of Khao Chong Krajok, a hill inhabited by a monkey colony that offers a stunning view over the three bays that follow each other on the coast. It is also a very good spot to watch the sunrise on the sea.
Then, after renting a bicycle at one of the rental shops on the seafront road, continue the tour by riding to Ao Noi beach, stop at the Fish Bridge on the way, visit Wat Ao Noi and nearby Khan Kradai Cave, which houses a reclining Buddha image in each of its two first chambers. The stairs leading to its entrance also give a nice dominant view over the beach and fishing boats.
Go back to the city and have lunch at one of the seafront restaurants. They all serve delicious fresh seafood coming from the local fishermen’s catch of the day. Then cycle to Wings 5. This military airbase hosts a golf course, but also Ao Manao (Lemon Bay) the most pleasant beach near the town. Enjoy and relax. Note that you can also eat lunch and dinner here served on a little table on the beach.
And for people who like challenging themselves, the airbase also contains Khao Lom Muak that is open to climbers every Thai long weekend. It is one of the hardest ascends in Thailand rewarded with an amazing view. The way up starts with steps but quickly becomes a very steep path that finishes with hard climbing with ropes (don’t forget to take some gloves to avoid burning your hands).
Otherwise, all year-long, at the foot of the hill, lovely dusky langurs used to being around human beings can be easily approached and photographed. There are the cutest monkeys you can meet in Thailand!