6 Reasons to Visit Pranburi
October 29, 2014
Just three hours from Bangkok, Pranburi is adding a little luxury to its résumé of natural beauty.
Published on Oct 29, 2014
When the mountains start to multiply, the palm trees thicken and the horizon runs rugged with sea stacks, you know you are nearing Pranburi. Past the sleepy town center, with its sprawling and surprisingly empty beach, you'll find the 300 peaks of Sam Roi Yot National Park, wetlands, caves, endless aquatic adventures and a few hidden shores worth getting lost to find. Now an influx of high-end resorts is elevating the accommodations to match the environs. Turn the page for our favorite pursuits on this raw and still untouched sweep of Thailand.
1. Wander the Wetlands
Take a long-tail boat tour through the mangroves of Pranburi Forest Park. The park extends across 3.2 square kilometers, weaving through pine-dotted beaches, the Pranburi River and a small fishing village.
2. Get Carried Away
The kilometers of soft beach, uninterrupted by rocks or docks, paired with the strong wind along this coast make Pranburi the ideal spot to learn how to kitesurf. Book a beginner's course at Airstylers Kite School (airstylerskiteschool.com) and you'll be on the waves in no time.
3. Cycle the Coast
Rural Road 1020, the street that winds through Pranburi to Sam Roi Yot National Park, has been widened to include a paved bike lane that currently spans 6 kilometers. An addition 4 kilometers of trail is still under construction, which will make it one of the longest dedicated bike paths in the country.
4. Hide Out
Enjoy a little luxury reclusion at the 17-room Hansar Pranburi (hansarpranburi.com). This intimate beachfront resort is nestled into a quiet crook on the border of the national park, facing endless ocean and backed by lush mountains. Closer to Hua Hin, the Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas (sheratonhuahinpranburi.com) offers private pool suites and in-villa massages.
Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas
5. Ogle the Ocean
Two islands near the national park have earned the area the nickname "Brassiere Beach" for reasons that will become obvious on the horizon. Kayak over for a closer look and you'll find yourself afloat in an island-studded postcard. Then stop by Monkey Island to spy macaques shucking oysters for breakfast and you may even bump into dolphins.
6. Go Caving
There are a number of caves to explore in Sam Roi Yot, but the most spectacular is Phraya Nakhon. These two giant caverns are lined in columns where stalagmites and stalactites met after thousands of years of formation. A pavilion was built inside the recessed grotto in 1890, at the bequest of King Chulalongkorn. The cave's roof long ago collapsed, so the hollow is flooded in natural light, lending it a regal air indeed.
Ask reception at Dolphin Bay (dolphinbayresort.com) to help you organize family-friendly excursions.
We asked Hansar Pranburi co-founder Suzanne Vertillart Chayavichitsilp for her thoughts on this burgeoning beach.
Q: Why Pranburi?
A: It is a special location. You can see cows walking on the beach or monkeys swimming up next to you. You can connect with nature here.
Q: How has it stayed a secret?
A: Most people just don't think past Hua Hin. Even some of my Thai friends don't know about Sam Roi Yot or Pranburi.
Q: What do you while you're here?
A: In Bangkok, I'm always glued to my phone or computer. Here it is nice to be outside all day—not in the A.C. or on a device. I like having some quiet time.
Q: Any tips for future visitors?
A: This is a destination for people who are familiar with Thailand. It is a different kind of landscape, very charming and authentic.
Pool Terrace at Hansar Pranburi