If Prachuap Khiri Khan is in your guidebook at all chances are there is only one paragraph dedicated to it. We had never heard of this provincial capital until another traveling family in an online group mentioned it. There wasn’t much information on the Internet about the town except that it was a laid back place that was not yet on the tourist track.
In our quest to find our perfect beach, we decided to stop over in Prachuap Khiri Khan for a few nights to break up the long journey from Bangkok to Southern Thailand. It was an easy five hours train ride; the train leaves Bangkok at 8:05 am and is scheduled to arrive at 12:30pm (we did not arrive until 1:00 pm)
Within a few hours of arriving we knew we had stumbled upon something special. The town is situated on a huge bay with a lovely seaside walkway. We were actually giddy that there was a sidewalk that not only was wide enough for us to walk side-by-side but also was free of obstructions, hazardous holes, and uneven surfaces. There was even a bike lane on the ocean front road! Wow Prachuap!
The town itself held a huge amount of charm for us. It was very…Thai. What I mean by that is there were not tourist shops selling baggy pants and sunglasses, no touts asking us where we were going, no travel agencies to book your tourist trail trips, and no bars offering booze by the bucket. I doubt there were more than fifty other foreigners in town.
Although there were a few overpriced restaurants that obviously catered to foreigners we found most of the restaurants to be incredibly cheap and incredibly good. I think our highest bill for the six of us was $20 including drinks!
We found the most beautiful hotel we have stayed in on our entire trip (O Bay Design Hotel). It was a little bit of serendipity…Mike and I were out for a walk (Yay for traveling with grandparents who babysit!) and we saw this building that was architecturally beautiful. It didn’t look like it was open but Mike and I are very interested in architecture and construction so we decided to see if we could get inside to have a look. Once inside we were approached by a lady who told us that it was a brand new boutique hotel. They were having their grand opening at the end of the week but she could show us the rooms if we were interested. The rooms, like the building, were simply stunning. Each room had a different theme and they were all incredibly artistic. We were sold on the spot and ended up being their very first customers. Our planned two days in Prachuap Khiri Khan rolled into eight days and our gorgeous hotel room rang in at only $30 per night!
I don’t know if it was because we were the first customers or if they will treat all of their guests as we were treated but we really felt like we were honored guests. We were invited to the hotel’s blessing ceremony where nine monks came to the hotel and chanted for over an hour. It was truly an amazing experience for us to bear witness to this ceremony. Although in the last half hour our children became quite fidgety (an hour is a long time to sit still and listen to chanting for a child!) they did incredibly well and remained respectful. We were then asked to help to distribute offerings to the monks. The offerings consisted of baskets of toiletries and envelopes that I assume contained money. Each member of our family was instructed to get down on two knees in front of the monks and present the monks with the offerings. We had to hold the offering with two hands; the men could give the baskets directly to the monks and the women could place them on a cloth next to them (women are not allowed to touch monks). We were then invited to partake in a lovely Thai lunch where the Thai ladies in the group fawned over our two boys and were so worried that they were not eating enough!
The hospitality did not end there, we were invited by the hotel owner’s parents to visit the Burmese market at the border with them in their private car, we were driven to the beach by the owner of the hotel, and we were invited to their grand opening party where we were fed a beautiful dinner made by their newly hired chef. We felt as though we were a part of a family for our week stay, and all of it because of a single moment of curiosity when we saw a beautiful building!
My next post will be all about the things to do in Prachuap Khiri Khan in an effort to help fill in the lack of information on the Internet!