Prachuap Khiri Khan Province
|Prachuap Khiri Khan
Laem Sala Beach
Map of Thailand highlighting Prachuap Khiri Khan Province
|Capital||Prachuap Khiri Khan|
|• Governor||Wira Siwatthanatrakun (since October 2009)|
|• Total||6,367.6 km2 (2,458.5 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 33rd|
|• Rank||Ranked 51st|
|• Density||80/km2 (210/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 58th|
|Time zone||Thailand Standard Time(UTC+7)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-77|
Prachuap Khiri Khan (Thai ประจวบคีรีขันธ์ (Pronunciation)) is one of the central provinces (changwat) of Thailand located in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, some 240 km (150 mi) south of Bangkok. Neighboring provinces are Phetchaburi in the north and Chumphon in the south. To the west it borders Tanintharyi Division ofMyanmar.
Prachuap Khiri Khan covers an area of 6,367.62 square kilometres (2,458.55 sq mi). The district is located on the Kra Isthmus, the narrow landbridge connecting theMalay Peninsula with mainland Asia. The province contains the narrowest part of Thailand – directly south of the capital, it is just 13 km (8.1 mi) from the coast of the Gulf of Thailand to the border with Myanmar. The narrowest point of the isthmus, however, is further south in Chumphon Province. Geographically, Prachuap Khiri Khan is a moderate plain area with altitude varying from sea level to 1,200 m (3,900 ft) above sea level. The maximum altitude can be reached in the north eastern and central west regions, which makes up approximately 30% of the area.
The long coast of the Gulf of Thailand has many sandy beaches, the most famous one being at Hua Hin, which has been a popular resort since King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) built a summer palace there. From the coast the land quickly rises into theTanaosi Range, the mountain chain that forms the border with Myanmar, the highest elevation in the province being the 1494-metre-high Khao Luang. Due to this narrow watershed the rivers in the province are all small; the only bigger one is the Pran Buri River in the north of the province. Among the smaller rivers is the Khlong Kui.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park was established in 1966 to protect Thailand’s largest freshwater marshes. The park contains some mangrove woods and mudflats. Most of the marshes were converted into shrimp farms, despite being in a national park.
The city of Muang Na Rang was reconstructed in 1845, after it had been abandoned during the fall of the Ayutthaya kingdom in 1767. The town was rebuilt at the mouth of the Ron River and renamed Prachuap Khiri Khan, which means the city in the mountains.
King Mongkut gathered the people of 3 towns—Bang Nangrom, Kui Buri and Khlong Wan—and had them settle the rebuilt city. At the same time, he renamed Koh Kong, a city on the opposite side of Gulf of Thailand, Prachanta Khiri Khet. Koh Kong is a now a province of Cambodia.
In 1868, King Mongkut invited foreign guests to watch a solar eclipse on September 18. He had predicted the event by himself, but the chosen observation point was at the marshes near Sam Roi Yot. He contracted malaria, which killed him just two weeks later.
Prachuap became a seaside resort during the reign of King Rama V. In the reign of King Rama II, a new city was established at the mouth of the I Rom Canal known as Muang Bang Nang Rom.
At the beginning of World War II, Japanese troops invaded Thailand. On December 8, 1941, they struck first near the city of Prachuap Khiri Khan. After fighting valiantly inbattle, the defenders were ordered to ceasefire by the government in Bangkok and decision to allied with Japan until the end of World War II.
The provincial seal shows the Kuha Karuhas pavilion, which was built when King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) visited the Praya Nakorn Cave (Amphoe Sam Roi Yot). Depicted behind the pavilion is the island of Ko Lak in Prachuap Bay, the historic center of administration.
The provincial tree as well as the provincial flower is the rayan or manilkara (Manilkara hexandra).
The provincial slogan is City of pure gold, delectable coconuts and pineapples, delightful beaches, mountain and caves, land of spiritual beauty.
Prachuap is located on Thailand Route 4 (Phetkasem Road), which links the central region with the south.
The railway in Prachuap Khiri Khan is on the southern route from Bangkok. There are 5 major stations in Prachuap Khiri Khan: Hua Hin, Pran Buri, Muang, Bang Saphan Yai, and Bang Saphan Noi.
Air-conditioned buses travel regularly to and from Bangkok. In Bangkok, the buses leave from the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai). From the Kanchanburi Bus Terminal there are non air-conditioned buses to other districts and neighbouring provinces.
Songthaew (public passenger pick-up vehicles)
Songthaew are the most popular form of public transport in the provincial town and rural areas.
There is motor-bike service in the town, especially around the market and bus terminal areas.
There is an airport in Hua Hin district but it is only for private chartered flights.
One international carrier (Berjaya Air) operates between Hua Hin and Malaysia.
Thailand’s royal family and especially former kings were the first to set this location on the map as the original seashore destination in Thailand. The long white sandy beaches themselves are clean and pretty, much more so than Pattaya’s, and the sea is relatively clean. Besides sunbathing snorkeling and swimming, visitors can also enjoy golf, spas, caves, peaks, waterfalls, shops, seafood and nearby national parks. The town is warm and friendly making it pleasant for families and couples.
Prachuap Khiri Khan is in fact more of a holiday destination with the local Thais than foreigners with many Bangkokians purchasing condominiums there.
- Ao Manao (อ่าวมะนาว) Ao Manao was once a battlefield in World War II between the Thai and Japanese armies. It is a clean beach suitable for swimming. Opposite the beach stands Khao Lom Muak. At ebb tide, a long sand bar will appear. At the summit of Khao Lom Muak, there is a replica of the Buddha’s footprint. Moreover, at the foot of the mountain stands a shrine of Chaopho Khao Lom Muak.
- Hat Wanakon National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติหาดวนกร) It is a mixed deciduous forest generally comprising sparse woods and various shed-leaf plants mixed together such as Phai Pa and Bambusa bambos Originally, this area was a planted forest, mixed with a natural-grown one, which was just recovered. Fish found are fresh-water fish such as catfish, snake-headed fish, climbing perch, Nile tilapia, and various kinds of sea fish. The beach is 7 kilometres long, lined with Horsetail trees.
- Khao Chong Krachok (เขาช่องกระจก) is a small mountain where a large number of stump-tailed macaques reside. Its entrance is behind the City Hall with 396 steps to the summit, being a height of 245 metres from sea level. It is the location of Wat Khao Chong Krachok where a replica of the Buddha’s footprint and the relics of the Buddha, which the King came to attend its containing ceremony on June 12, 1958, and planted a Bodhi tree, are enshrined.
- Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาสามร้อยยอด) It comprises high and steep limestone mountains by the beach and a wet mud plain beach combining with shallow sea, as well as limestone islets lined up near the shore, where various kinds of birds reside during November and February. It was named a national park on June 28, 1966, the fourth national park of the country and the first marine national park of Thailand. There are many attractions within the park which include Khao Daeng View Point, Tham Sai, Thung Sam Rot and Hat Laem Sala.
- Ko Thalu, Ko Sang, Ko Sing (เกาะทะลุ เกาะสังข์ เกาะสิงห์) are small islands located close to one another. Geographically, it comprises beaches, mountains and coconut groves with abundant white sandy beaches such as Ao Muk (อ่าวมุก), surrounded by a scenic atmosphere, white sand and a nicely coloured sea and corals.
- Namtok Huai Yang (น้ำตกห้วยยาง) is a small 9-tiered waterfall near the office of the Huai Yang National Park. It is popular for those wanting to relax due to its scenery and interesting nature study route.
- Pran Buri Forest Park (วนอุทยานปราณบุรี) Pran Buri Forest Park possesses a white sandy beach that is shady with a 1-kilometre line of pine trees on the east of the park. Moreover, from the park, the scenery of the sea, are the islands of Ko Singto, Khao Takiap and Khao Tao. This forest originally began as a royal project under the patronage of Queen Sirikit.
Cruising along the Pran River (ล่องเรือแม่น้ำปราณ) The Pran River originates from the Kaeng Krachan forest, passing mountains in the west before flowing into the sea at the mouth of the Pran River. Long-tail boats ply past important local attractions such as the City Pillar Shrine and Chaomae Thapthim Shrine.
Home Stay (โฮมสเตย์) Ban Fang Tha Wildlife Preservation Village (หมู่บ้านอนุรักษ์พันธุ์สัตว์ป่าบ้านฝั่งท่า) It is a village with agro-tourism activities. Long-tailed boats float along the Pran Buri River passing mangrove forest, protected birds and water animals. Other attractions are Aromatic Coconuts – Maphrao Namhom, pineapples, pomelos, sapodillas, mangoes, and bananas. It can be considered a mixed cultivation garden.
Diving Diving in Prachuap Khiri Khan may not be the kingdom’s best but there is still opportunity to experience exotic coral and marine life.
Bangsapan, in the southern part of Prachuap Khiri Khan, is home to a couple of islands for decent snorkeling and diving.
Ko Thalu By far, Ko Talu is the most appealing area in the vicinity for diving. The island offers divers shallow fringing reef and coral gardens with large schools of snappers, fusiliers and the occasional large ray. Besides Ko Thalu, there is also Ko Sang and Ko Lamla.
Trekking The forest around Pa La-U Waterfall is the well known place for trekking. There are various species of birds and butterflies and some species of wild animals in the area.
Golf Golf courses are available in nearby Hua Hin.
Local products include accessories from coconut shells, Khommaphat printed fabric, the printed fabric in traditional Thai patterns, brooms, utensils made of sisal fibre, bamboo woven products, as well as fresh and preserved food.
Since Prachuap Khiri Khan is a quiet laid-back place, there isn’t much in the way of nightlife. For those fancying a drink however, they go to the open-air restaurants and hotel bars in the area.
Prachuap Khiri Khan is a predominantly Thai-Chinese area where most of the locals are engaged in some kind of business or the other.
Events and festivals
- Hua Hin Jazz Festival (หัวหิน แจ๊ส เฟสติวัล) is a festival presenting the musical performances of a large number of Thai and international musicians. It is organised nearby the Hua Hin seaside around June.
- Khao Chong Krachok Tak Bat Devo Ceremony (ตักบาตรเทโวเขาช่องกระจก) is organized at Wat Thammikaram Worawihan, at the foot of Khao Chong Krachok, Mueang District, Prachuap Khiri Khan during the End of Buddhist Lent every year. Besides an exhibition of votive tablets and Buddha images, there is also a traditional Chak Phra Festival and float parade of the Lord Buddha’s biography.
- A Fair to Commemorate the “Heroic Deeds of 8 December 1941” (งานรำลึก “วีรกรรม 8 ธันวาคม 2484”) is organised at Ao Manao within the compound of Wing 53, Mueang Prachuap Khiri Khan, from 7–10 December to commemorate and honour the heroic deeds of the Thai civilians, police and soldiers who fought in the battle with the Japanese army which brought their troops into Thailand at Ao Manao during World War II on 8 December 1941. In the event, there are academic exhibitions of the air force authorities and various other governmental offices, booths offering local products, and various forms of entertainment such as Lam Tat – a performance presenting an exchange of impromptu poetic verse, and Khon – a mask dance – in impromptu style.
To purchase art most tourists go to nearby Hua Hin.
Local food from Pran Buri District are seasonal fruits, products from pineapples and preserved fruits. Local food from Thap Sakae District include honey baked bananas, honey baked coconuts and products from aloe vera.
Prachuap Khiri Khan has many medical centres but not the major ones. The major medical centres can be found at the nearby Phetchaburi or Bangkok.
Prachuap Khiri Khan has a few local media, such as Thai newspapers, the English language Hua Hin Today newspaper, the “Cable TV” channel guide in Thai and a few magazines.
National TV, cable TV, and local TV channels are available here. International newspapers and magazines are also available in English language book stores.
Landline telephone, all mobile phone systems, high-speed Internet (ADSL), post offices, and parcel services are available in Hua Hin.