Chuk-Chak Chuk-Chak (train's sound) .... I like taking a train to slowly get to destination without worrying about the time. There is a place where I have been observing for many times but did not have a chance to drop by. My plan is getting on a train to "Prachuap Khiri Khan". I mean travel around city, not only Hua-Hin or Ban Krut like last time.
During this summer. I am available on 17 - 19 March which are weekdays. So, I immediately arrange this trip, can't wait anymore. Searching information on the internet helps me realized that traveling "Muang Prachuap" and "Muang Sam Ao" is not difficult. I plan to individually take free train, ride a bike and walk around.
Prior to departure, let's study the map. Muang Prachuap is a city in the middle of the longest province in Thailand. Muang Prachuap is so call Muang Sam Ao as it is located on 3 bays lining together, respectively from the north, Ao Noi, Ao Prachuap and Ao Manao.
The goal of this trip is to get on top of "Khao Chong Krachok", in the middle of Ao Prachuap and "Khao Lom Muak" at the southern end of Ao Prachuap. Khao Lom Muak is a mountain separating between Ao Prachuap and Ao Manao. The rest of the trip is roughly planned to be hanging out around the beaches.
If you are ready, pack you bag and let's go!
The best way to start train trip to Prachuap is at "Thonburi Railway Station", in other words, "Bangkok Noi" On Jarunsanitwong road. The earliest free train is no.255, Thonburi - Lung Suan, Chumphon province, which is a normal train. Means slow train stopping at every station ... guarantee it would be a long journey. LOL (Or you can take normal train at "Hua Lamphong Station". However, morning trains are express and sprinter type only, 450 THB per person.)
The train, by timetable, departs at 7.30 AM but it's a little bit late. The train is quite full as teenagers are on school break. Their destinations mostly are Amphor Cha-am and Hua-Hin. I sleep along the way passing Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi and Petchburi. Sounds not very far but it takes me hours to pass each province. I reach Prachuap around 2PM, one hour late from schedule.
This is my first time getting of at this station. Prachuap Station is really cool. It is in city center and only 500 m. from the sea. You can easily walk there.
My first mission is to find accommodation. Only few steps from the station, I find "Yutichai Hotel" located on the main road. The room rate catches my attention pretty well, 160 - 250 THB per night, no air condition. As I have never been here before, I decide to survey along the beach first.
Prachuap beach is peaceful and has many hotels. However, I decide to go back to Yutichai Hotel. It turns out all rooms are "booked" (with staff's smile). I am disappointed, feeling like my dream collapses. Anyway, they have one air conditioning room left at 500 THB per night which is still under my budget. To be optimistic, air condition helps me sleep tight in summer night. The hotel does not offer breakfast but provide bicycle for rent at 50 THB per day. Very convenient.
After taking a breath, let's strat the trip! The road in Muang Prachuap is quite bare suitable for riding a bike. I go around city for a while. Then it's time for my first goal, Khao Chong Krachok, the location of "Wat Khao Chong Krachok". It is a medium-sized mountain in the middle of Ao Prachaup. Finally I'm here after hearing about it for long time.
Many people talk about monkeys at Khao Chong Krachok (notoriously). When I experience it by myself, I admit they are quite roguish especially those on the top of hill. Some monkeys even call their friends to pluck for food. But some approach me from the back while I am taking photos. So, I can't focus that much. If you plan to go, better get prepared. But I would say the view is worthwhile.
From this side, you can see "Klong Bangna Rom" flows into the sea. Luckily the monkey is here to make my photo looks cool.
I go down from Khao Chong Krachok in the evening but there is no problem to grab something for dinner. Because the area around district office, near hotel, has daily evening market. Many things available for your selection at low price. So, this is the end of first day.
Main target of second day is "Khao Lom Muak". I intend to go in late afternoon and hope to see clear sky. I don't care about sun burn anyway. After breakfast, I ride a bike from hotel to sightsee Ao Prachuap until I get to "Wing 5" on Khao Lom Muak. The road aside the sea is so clear that I can leisurely ride a bike.
The peaceful, homely and certainly safe ambiance in Wing 5.
So, it's time to exercise. The beginning path on the mountain is stairs but eventually turns to bumpy walk way along limestone mountain. The path is switching between hard part and easy part. During the tough part, a rope is provided. The overall route is still okay for me. There are scenic points along the way which mostly are Ao Manao view.
I talk with an airman earlier asking whether 2 hours are enough to reach the top. He said yes if you are healthy. Oooh ... I'm not that firm. So, I plan to get there within 2.5 hours instead. But actually it takes me only 1 hour.
This is so refreshing, feeling like I can fly. Here is the location of mondop placing Buddha's footprint model where you can sightsee 360 degree. The bays in photo are Ao Prachuap and Ao Manao.
On Ao Prachuap side, there are 4 islands lining. From top to bottom includes Ko Lak, Ko Lam, Ko Rom and the one on right hand side is Ko Rad. The hill at another end of the beach is Khao Ta Mong Lai. Further to that is so called Ao Noi. However, on that day, the thick fog covers surrounding area blocking visibility.
Ao Manao side is also spectacular . The small island is called "Kho An" and the one behind is "Khao Klong Wan".
I reach to the top of Khao Lom Muak around 10.30 AM. Luckily I have brought my lunch with me. The taste is actually not that good but when I'm tired, it is greatly useful. I stay up there for few hours. Below the hill is Dusky leaf monkey sanctuary. Tourists are feeding monkeys, so can take few photos.
I walk in Wing 5 a bit before saying goodbye to Khao Lom Muak. On the right hand side is top of hill where you can see tiny mondop. This is the height I climb up.
Moving to Ao Manao. Along the bend of watercourse is entirely area of air force. The territory under their control is separated into 2 zones. The first one does not allow tourists to enter but another zone opens as tourist attraction providing sunbeds and various restaurants.
Ao Manao is the best location to swim in Muang Prachuap district. Accommodations and restaurants are pretty well. Since it is military zone, you can relax and chill in clean and peaceful atmosphere.
After satisfying with Ao Manao, I cycle pass Wing 5 to Ao Prachuap, further from Khao Chong Krachok. Towards Pak Klong Bangna Rom. I drop by and take photos along the route. It is exact place to bicycle.
Getting on and off bicycle whole day makes me quite fatigued. I have dinner at district office and go back to hotel tiredly. Now I find advantage of air conditioning room.
On last day, I pack the bag and leave with reception. First thing to do is checking timetable of free train, Lung Suan - Thonburi, train no. 254 (This train cannot be found on website as it is not updated.) Train would arrive at 10.00 AM but staff said it might be late (as usual). So, I have more time to take photos until actually getting on train at 10.40 AM.
I ride the same bike to "City Shire of Prechuap" where I have planed to keep it for last day.
Then I revisit Khao Chong Krachok to collect morning view. Monkeys seem to be well-behaved. They might be exhausted from the sun.
I hurriedly have a meal, return the bike and walk to railway station. Then found new timetable stating train no.254 will be late for another 50 mins. which is 11.10 AM. But it arrives at 11.20 AM indeed, same standard for Railway of Thailand.
Return journey is a bit tough. I arrive Bangkok around 7.00 PM, 2 hours late by schedule. This trip is seemingly long in my feelings but it is joyful, impressive and economical (If I got non air condition room, it would be even cheaper). I will definitely repeat the trip since I have fallen in love with Muang Sam Ao already.
Conclusion of The Trip
07.30 Get on the train Thonburi - Lung Suan
14.30 Arrive Prachuap Khiri Khan
15.10 Check in at Yutichai Hotel
16.00 Visit Khao Chong Krachok
09.30 Go over Khao Lom Muak
13.00 Travel at Ao Manao
16.00 Move to Ao Prachuap
08.30 Check out and leave bag at reception
09.00 Go to City Shire - Khao Chong Krachok
10.00 Wait for the train at railway station
11.20 Get on train Lung Suan - Thonburi
18.50 Arrive Bangkok at Jaransanitwong
If you are interested in other reviews, inquire any information (if I have) or invite for a journey, I'm very pleased.