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Hua Hin or Prachuap Khiri Khan?

Posted by nightowlers on 21/9/2011 at 00:05

We expect to be travelling by rail from Malaysia to Bangkok and looking for a good place to break the trip. Believe the train arrives in Hua Hin at 06:30 hours, so that seems like a good time to break the journey. Would appreciate advice or suggestions, please.
Haven't been to either Hua Hin or Prachuap Khiri Khan.
We'll be back-packing, but not looking for the cheapest place to stay. We are looking for budget accommodation, if possible, but clean and comfortable.
Our main interest is to enjoy good authentic Thai food, at reasonable prices, and to chill out for a couple of days.
All suggestions or advice will be much appreciated. Thanks.

#1 nightowlers has been a member since 20/9/2011. Posts: 10
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Posted by Tilapia on 21/9/2011 at 03:12

This depends on the kind of place you want to be in.

Hua Hin is a major destination for both foreign and Thai tourists. It has become very "boutiquey" over the last decade and prices have sky-rocketed. The beach is busy with annoying touts and is not entirely clean. However, there are some good and interesting places around Hua Hin such as Wat Khao Takiab, and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. You can walk for miles south along the beach. North is a Royal Palace, and a destroyer was always parked out in front of it whenever the K was there.

I used to live in Ban Khao Takiab, about 10 km south of Hua Hin, when it was a quiet little village with only a couple of small restaurants on the beach, a handful of food stalls along the main road, no hotels, and a great little fishing port. It is now overrun with resorts and expensive rentals, but the temple with its Standing Buddha is worth visiting and the port is still unchanged. The last time I was there the beach to the south of the small fishing port was still completely empty. You can see all of this on Google Maps. I liked Hua Hin then, but the writing was on the wall as there was loads of new developments in the works.

Prachuap is, in my opinion, better than Hua Hin. It's a nice, typical Thai town set in a gorgeous bay with a sweeping beach and limestone outcroppings that go down to the water. It's nowhere near as busy as Hua Hin but there's enough of an ex-pat scene to ensure that there are all of the the usual aneminities, and enough "sites" to keep one busy if one wants (eg. Wat Thammikaram). It's possible to get a Gulf-view room for a heck of a lot less than in Hua Hin. It's a provincial capital so there's quite a bit of administration and not a place where tourism is the dominant industry. It's definitely not a resort or beach town. It's a place where people just go about their business each day and the handful of foreigners who are there relax mostly. A capital city with a small, seaside town feel to it. I would say that it is almost the Gulf Coast equivalent of Nong Khai up on the Mekong.

Prachuap also has some of the country's best and least expensive seafood.

#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,521
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Posted by exacto on 21/9/2011 at 04:03

Wow. There is your answer. I haven't even booked my next flight to Thailand and I've already added Prachuap to my in-country itinerary.

@Tilapia - how would you compare Prachuap to Chumphon? Cheers.

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Posted by swag on 21/9/2011 at 06:02

Hi have to agree totally with Tilapia. Two years ago my wife and I got the night sleeper from Hat Yai to PKK, arrived about 3.30-4.00 in the morning I think. We spent 3 nights there and really enjoyed the fact that this was a town not dominated by tourism. Head out of town for some great beaches. Also had some of the best seafood lunches for a song if you head north along the bay from the centre of town. Also very good night market to sample real authentic Thai cooking with some cold beer. We would definitely go back. If you need a place to stay let me know I will dig a card out of a great cheap hotel we stayed at.


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Posted by busylizzy on 21/9/2011 at 06:19

Isn't Prachuap where those fascinating wide-eyed monkeys live?

Exacto, I see Air Asia are having another one of their big sales. Time to start booking those flights?

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Posted by Tilapia on 21/9/2011 at 07:25

Hey Exacto,

If I knew Chumphon I'd be able to tell you. I've only passed through, never been. It's on my list, though.

If you get there before me I'll look forward to your report.


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Posted by eastwest on 21/9/2011 at 15:02

Isn't PKK the place where you have that beach just out of town on the army base? If i'm correct you had to drive over the runway to get there. Best seafood and local scenery in Thailand for me.

It was over 10 years ago but it's one of my best memories I have of Thailand. Just loved that beach.

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Posted by Nokka on 21/9/2011 at 15:27

I really liked it too. The beach you mention is through an Air Force base, EastWest. You have to sign in as you enter the base and then sign out as you leave. However, they don't check anything - you could, if you wanted, sign anything at all, no proper checks.

The town too is simple, but very nice. Still has some old wooden buildings around; it's quiet, people have a bit of time for you. But if you want full on tourist facilities, don't bother - this place is still Thailand. How long it remains like that will depend, so shhhhhhh....

I was lucky enough to stay at the Sofitel in Hua Hin about 7 or 8 years ago. This is the old Railway Hotel, full of colonial style splendour - it was used in the film The Killing Fields. Its a wonderful place and was worthy of a splurge for a couple of nights. I returned there last year (Hua Hin not the Sofitel) and really struggled with the place. We have friends who go every year to play golf and we dropped by to see them. They like it, but its attractions passed us by. Streets full of girly bars, mahogany coloured Scandinavians, English football on TVs in the bars, a tacky overpriced, uninteresting Night Market. The restaurants on the squid piers are OK, but the best thing about the town for me was the very pretty railway station which got us out of there.

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