Pratcha or Pratchuap or Pracha Khiri Khan; a true slice of heaven...
Wow, oh wow! I'm sitting in Pratchaup Khiri Khan and I can't get over how great it is here! It's October 2016 and the Thai King has just died (my condolences to the Thai people). This place is deserted, but, I'm assured, it's often deserted! A fantastic place for families and those who want a peaceful heaven in Thailand; it's a wonderful tranquil, clean and organised spot, ready for tourists and yet they don't know about it yet, go there while you can. It's also another Thai beach location like it used to be!
Forget Koh Si Chang and Koh Samed, this is my new favourite Thai destination. It's such a sleepy little place, a small fishing town, it reminds me of this place on the coast of Greece I used to go to in my childhood. It's right on the beach, a big bay that extends for kilometeres and is framed by huge "The Beach" style limestone cliffs. Really picturesque.
It's got national parks for hiking and exploring, a museum and royal residence, a cave with a Buddha, a cave with a temple, a "monkey mountain" with a beautiful monastery atop it, a "Dusky Langur" sanctuary and a few other sights dotted around. There's a quite few monasteries around all worth a visit too, with a really stunning teak one called Wat Ao Noi. Personally I'm in love with Thailand's monasteries and temples and I'm sort of collecting Buddha images from them all; even so, they all, individually, impress me so I think a monastery or temple is always worth a visit!
There's a zoo with goats and things and, strangely, a large herd of reindeer. That'll entertain the kids on a Thailand Christmas break! There's archery, climbing, quad bikes, horseriding, bird watching, a golf and driving range, tennis courts and basketball courts (though I'm not sure if tourists could use these last two, but I'm sure it's possible as the Thai people are always up for spotting an opportunity for commerce.). There's also quite a few deserted and pristine beaches, the cleanest I have seen yet in Thailand.
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It has also got an airforce base (with checkpoints, so carry a passport with you at all times) but this adds to the organised and safe feel of the place. There's lots of traveller infrastructure like shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels, guesthouses and so on. It is a clearly well loved and looked after place. It's got everything you need for a beach break, and it still manages to maintain that incredible peaceful, deserted and tranquil feeling. There's amazing seafood restaurants, great Thai food, and Western food, alike. There's street food, local shops and night markets. There's no sleeze, clubs, only a couple of "bars" and very few cars.; if you're looking for peace, this is it!
There's a sunset boat tour around the island, fishing off the pier or just relaxing on the lovely beach. It's another undiscovered part of Thailand, very affordable and with friendly and helpful locals who often speak English. I've only seen ten Europeans since I've been here. Even if this desertion is just because the king just died, I imagine it will stay like this for a few months, likely still by the time for Christmas holidays; so come to Pratchaup Khiri Khan!
I stayed at Pratchaup Beach Hotel which was very respectable, clean and "Holiday Inn" stylee, 800 baht a night. Tonight I'm staying at Maggie's Guesthouse which is a lot more rustic (and only 600 Baht) but closer to the sea and therefore, right up my street! Check out the photos below for more details. There's lots of places to stay, from hostels, guesthouses and hotels, you can even rent your own villa; though it's definitely one where you should be here to find a place; there's only a few places that are bookable online or, indeed, have any details online so that you could call ahead. It's worth it if you do come and sniff around as it's a big bay with lots of choice from completely deserted to only midly deserted! I'd book one night online and then come here and walk around and find a another, possibly better, place then.
Getting here is by bus or minivan from the usual spots, or, as I did, you can get the train here. There's a 1pm train that gets in at 6.30 and is a good tour of the south of Thailand below Bangkok (there's a few other trains too). Take it from Hua Lamphong Station, first class AC is 595 Baht, but have a google to check exact details! I really recommend a trip to Pratch Khiri Khan, it's also on the way to some other Thai gems so you've got nothing to lose!
Check out our photos below for more details and for a good look at the loveliness that is Pratcha Khiri Khan!
Pratcha Khiri Khan photos: Click on the arrows to scroll, or on the image for a larger version (in a pop-up)
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