Hua Hin is the oldest and most traditional Thai resort combines the attractions of a modern holiday destination with the charm and fascination of a still active fishing port. A long-time favourite golf-holiday destination for Thais, Hua Hin has recently begun receiving attention from international golfers. Pran Buri is close to Hua Hin but is less crowded. Cha Am was just unknown to the outsiders but is beauty and the place was quickly developed.
Hua Hin’s inevitable rise to become Thailand’s first glamorous getaway began in 1922 when King Rama VII instructed his Italian architect to construct Phra Ratchawang Klai Kangwon (‘Far from Worries’ Palace) in what was then just a humble fishing village. Today’s royal family still commutes regularly to the palace to unwind from the pressures of keeping the army and politicians in line in Bangkok. Rama VII’s endorsement made the town the place for be for Thai society, and Hua Hin, (like Cha-am), settled into a low-key role as a favourite spot for holidaying Thais. In the 1980s the renovation of the Hua Hin Railway Hotel by the luxury hotel group Sofitel sparked overseas interest and ignited development geared towards foreigners. Today all the big hotel chains have properties in Hua Hin, and in recent years a growing number of expats have chosen to live in the seaside town that’s fast-forwarding to become one of Thailand’s most cosmopolitan cities. High-rise condominiums and planned housing subdivisions are creeping across the surrounding hinterland, and French, Italian, German and Scandinavian restaurants create a little slice of home for sun-kissed escapees from the European winter.
If you’re looking for something quieter, then come during the week when Cha-am returns to being a relaxed resort town and you’ll get an even better deal at the goodvalue guesthouses and midrange hotels. Chances are it will be just you and the ladies selling deep fried shrimps and grilled squid. Cha-am is a getaway spot for provincial families and Bangkok students. Buses deliver holiday makers firmly in party mode, fuelled by cheesy pop music and ready to kick back for a couple of days. Mix in beach parties under shady casuarina trees, fresh seafood and cold beers delivered to your deck chair, and rip-snorting banana boats up and down the beach and you begin to see the attraction. Subtle it’s not, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of raucous Thai fun.
Prachuap Khiri Khan
Prachuap Khiri Khan is located some 281 km. south of Bangkok. Acting as the gateway to the southern region of Thailand, the province connects with Chumphon in the south while its northern boundary is adjacent to Cha-am county in Phetchaburi province. Facing the Gulf of Thailand in the east, it is separated with Myanmar by the Tenasserim Mountains in the west.
Covering an area of about 6,367 sq.km., the province has a long, narrow terrain with the narrowest point of just 12 kilometres at Ban Khlong Wan. From north to south the province measures about 212 kilometres.
With the long range of mountains on the west and the sea on the east, the province has a beautiful variety of nature comprising sandy beaches, mountains, islands, caves, streams, waterfalls and fertile forests.
494,588 (end Dec 2007) with 248,290 males and 246,298 females.
" The total population includes only permanent residents."
Prachuap Khiri Khan is divided into 7 counties (amphoes) and 1 sub-county (king amphoe) : Amphoe Muang, Hua Hin, Bang Saphan, Bang Saphan Noi, Kui Buri, Pranburi, Thap Sakae, and King Amphoe Sam Roi Yot.
The most important products are pineapples and coconuts. Thus a large variety of by-products of these fruits make popular souvenirs of the province. Other souvenirs include products from aloe veras and dried seafood.
From Bangkok, drive for about 3 hours along Highway 35,the total distance is 281 kilometres. Air-conditioned buses of local operator Pran Tour leave the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok every 30 minutes between 05.00am and 22.00pm for Hua Hin. The air-conditioned bus terminal in Hua Hin is at the Siri Petchkasem Hotel on Srasong Rd, near Dechanuchit Rd, and buses leave for Bangkok every 30-40 minutes daily between 03.00am and 21.00pm Another route is Highway 4 by driving via Buddha Monthon, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi and Phetchaburi, a total distance of 320 km. or about 4 hours' drive.
SGA Airlines operates some charters between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport) and Hua Hin. The flights take about 1 hour.
Trains leave Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Railway Station) for Hua Hin daily and Prachuap Khiri Khan daily.