Pranburi, the hidden jewel beyond Hua Hin

April 1, 2014 6 Comments by adrienne
Pranburi, the jewel beyond Hua Hin

Pranburi, our favourite places

Hua Hin has long been a desirable destination for both Thais and foreigners seeking a relaxing, quiet beach town within relative proximity to Bangkok.  Most people are familiar with Hua Hin as the official residence of the King of Thailand, and he really does live here.  I saw him driving in his VW Eurovan with a motorcade of about 50 cars last month, passing less than 3 meters away from us (our big brush with royalty)!

Hua Hin was put on the map in 1921 when the then prince constructed the first resort in the area, the Railway Hotel, now, the present day Centara Hotel.  It really is beautiful and well worth a visit, especially for the afternoon high tea every weekend.  The king Rama VII liked the area so much that he built his summer palace here.  Today, Hua Hin is a quieter beach alternative to Phuket or Pattaya.  And because of its relative proximity to Bangkok, Hua Hin has quickly become a weekend hotspot for Bangkokians to escape the traffic, enjoy the beautiful, quiet beaches and relax in the unpretentious atmosphere.

Beach Front Kao Kalok, Pranburi

Beach Front Kao Kalok, Pranburi

Perhaps due largely to the royal connection, Hua Hin’s local officials appear to have far less tolerance for overtly illegal businesses or unruly behavior than in other areas of Thailand (read: no Russian thugs or rampant prostitution here, at least not out in the open).  Hua Hin and the surrounding areas appeal to a wide range of tourists of all ages, nationalities and economic backgrounds.  The sheer number of young families moving here attests to the wholesome nature of the town.

Pranburi, a small town even smaller than Hua Hin!

When we tell people where we live, we always say Hua Hin, since most people, especially those familiar with Thailand, know of Hua Hin, but this is technically not quite true.  One of our favorite areas–where we decided to settle down and build our dream house, actually–is a small town (even smaller than Hua Hin!) about 20 km south of Hua Hin center called Pranburi.  Pranburi is comprised of technically 3 sub-towns: Pak Nam Pran and Kao Kalok, both located on the beach, and Pranburi, located inland.  These areas, especially Pak Nam Pran and Kao Kalok, cater to a different market than Hua Hin, to those seeking an even quieter, less touristy area than Hua Hin.  Many boutique resorts are located in the Pak Nam Pran area, and the style is dominated by artistic, chic, quirky and modern resorts and condominium and housing projects.

Beach Front Kao Kalok, Pranburi

Beach Front Kao Kalok, Pranburi

Eco-friendly Pranburi and its hip and quirky vibe

Pranburi, and Pak Nam Pran specifically, is focusing heavily on the eco-conscious and green-thinking consumers, something Thailand is slowly picking up on, though there’s still a long way to go until the country can boast its earth friendly policies (just take a look at the thousands of plastic bags lining the roads and beaches).  Many resorts and restaurants along the Pak Nam Pran strip now advertise organic produce and communal gardens, locally sourced and hand made art.  These trends tend to appeal to a younger generation and a more educated, affluent crowd, and this can easily be witnessed by the growing number of tourists along the beach front area, both Thai and Western.  With the abundant outdoor activities and the national park in close proximity, the area attracts active people who enjoy the outdoors, and large cycling companies tend to favor Pak Nam Pran, Kao Kalok and Dolphin Bay for their bicycle tours thanks to the natural beauty and safer cycling conditions in the area.  Kite surfing is another hugely popular activity along the coast from Hua Hin to Dolphin Bay (just south of Pranburi), and Pak Nam Pran has a few charming spots that cater specifically to the kite surfing crowd, offering services like assembling and disassembling equipment, offering lessons, and serving alcohol, which is rumored to improve kite surfing skills.

These are some of our favorite places in the Pak Nam Pran and Kao Kalok areas:

Aleenta 

Hua Plee Lazy Beach

Pranberry

La A Natu

The Evason

Villa Maroc

There are also a myriad of tiny shacks and holes-in-the-wall with no web presence whatsoever, and we love these places, too.  Since we can’t advertise for them, we’ll just promise to take our friends and family there when they come to visit.

Our Favorite Places, Pranburi

Our Favorite Places, Pranburi

Government officials have been investing in rebuilding the beach front, and massive projects are under way to reclaim the beaches in Pranburi.  Furthermore, there are heavy building restrictions on direct beach front land, something that Hua Hin’s officials never monitored closely, and now Hua Hin’s beach is practically invisible from the road, as so much condominium development has occurred directly on the beach in the past 5 years.

The natural beauty of Pranburi

Slightly further south of Pak Nam Pran is the area of Kao Kalok, designated by a mountain at the end of the road and continuing for another few kilometers along the coastline and stretching inland for approximately 1-2 km.  Kao Kalok is even quieter than Pak Nam Pran and significantly more rural.  There is much less developed area, and the land prices are still more affordable than in the Pak Nam Pran area.  Currently, there are only a couple high quality villa developments in the area, and we are fortunate enough to live in one of the best developments with the best quality homes in all of Hua Hin and the surrounding areas.  The reputation of this development is far reaching, and the homes have attracted many people to the area who are looking for all the qualities mentioned above that Hua Hin and the other beach areas in Thailand are not able to provide.  Pranburi is still relatively much more affordable than the surrounding areas of Hua Hin and Cha Am, both for home prices and for general cost of living.   These developments offer villas in the price range of 6 M THB at the low end to upwards of 35 M THB at the high end, so there’s something to offer virtually every price range.

And now, there is another huge development planned for the Kao Kalok area, and if it is fully realized, it will put Kao Kalok on the map as a major destination point.  The developers are a large Chinese and Thai partnership with many high end projects under their belt.  The plan is to construct a massive golf course with residential homes, condominiums and a resort surrounding the course.  They also intend to have a shopping center, a high end spa, and a Chinese medicine clinic within the scope of the project.  This will significantly alter the landscape and the atmosphere of the area, not to mention skyrocket the property values for both developed and undeveloped land.  Our feelings are mixed on the slated project.  On the one hand, for people who already own a home in the area (like us), this is great news for projected increases in property values.  On the other hand, for people who were initially attracted to the area for its natural beauty and quiet and peaceful atmosphere (like us), this development will change Kao Kalok.  Change is inevitable, so we’ll just hope for the best and enjoy the pristine landscape while we can.  And then, hopefully, we can enjoy the manicured slopes of a rolling green golf course and a great acupuncture session in a couple years’ time.

Pranburi, the jewel beyond Hua Hin

Pranburi, our favourite places

 

Pranburi, our favourite places

Pranburi, the jewel beyond Hua Hin

 

Pranburi, organic gardens

Pranburi, the jewel beyond Hua Hin

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6 Comments

  1. Henk
    3 years ago

    To some extend I know Thailand and lived in the North for some time.
    However I had a problem with the weather, more with the heat and the humidity as well as smoke from the burning of the rice fields.
    I left Thailand but am planning to return soon.
    What I would like to know concerns the weather in the Hua Hin areas.

    Where, in this environment, would I find the coolest part. This is perhaps a tall question but if anyone could make a suggestion, that would be very much appreciated by me.

    I wish to thank you in advance.

    Best regards, Henk

    Reply

    • adrienne
      3 years ago

      Hi Henk,
      Thanks for your message. Regarding the weather in Hua Hin, it is quite hot right now, though thankfully the hot season is nearing an end. I have heard places like Koh Rat are much hotter, and Bangkok seems warmer than Hua Hin (no breeze and all that darn concrete). At least we have the ocean here and a near-constant breeze. I have heard that Hua Hin is cooler than Phuket, but I can’t confirm this.
      Have you been to Kao Yai? We went once and thanks to the altitude it was much cooler. It’s also the rich Thais’ playground, so the land prices are incredibly expensive.
      I guess there’s no perfect place to live, but Hua Hin is really nice, and it should be even more pleasant next month when the rains are more frequent. Good luck with your search in Thailand, and if you need any more assistance, please feel free to get in touch again. Cheers!

      Adrienne

      Reply

  2. John lee
    3 years ago

    In Nan it’s hot ,going to hua hin June 7th where shall I stay on beach?

    Reply

    • adrienne
      3 years ago

      Hi John, thank you for your comment! There are a lot of choices for beach accommodations in and around Hua Hin. One of our favorite beach hotels is Anatasila

      Reply

  3. Sambo Kanhchana
    3 years ago

    Hi All,

    Now would like to have a job in Thailand, I want to start my new life there? how can I find a job? I have already Passport.
    I can do all job, just is a good job…even a cleaner I can do its all.
    just I have place for stay and work is enough.

    Reply

  4. GERALD SCHULTZ
    3 years ago

    Hua Hin is a lovely area. Are there any hospitals that will accept US Medicare or US Va medical benefits? I understand that US retired Military and US State dept can get a form of medicare overseas. Is that correct? How do US citizens get medical coverage overseas?

    Reply

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