Visiting Pranburi, Hua Hin’s little sister city.
Known for its elegant resorts, seafood, and laid back vibe, Hua Hin has long-since been one of Thailand’s favorite beach towns.
Known for its elegant resorts, seafood, and laid back vibe, Hua Hin has long-since been one of Thailand’s favorite beach towns. It’s a quick 3-3.5 hour drive south from Bangkok, and there is a range of affordable options available for getting there. Those options include shared vans and private taxi services departing daily from various areas of the city.
Hua Hin is surrounded by sweeping beachfront views as well as a couple of palaces, such as Mrigadayavan Palace and Klai Kangwon Palace – the latter of which was the primary summer residence of King Rama IX, situated right in the heart of Hua Hin.
Though Hua Hin is known to have millions of tourists pass through every year, what many visitors may not know is that just 15 minutes south is a smaller, more quaint town called Pranburi, which is in the same province of Prachuap Khiri Khan. The short drive is well worth making for a chill day (or weekend) at the beach, and here’s why:
Pranburi which many local people refer to simply as ‘Pran’ is a much less crowded and — if you can imagine it — a more relaxed version of Hua Hin. There are just a few local restaurants and coffee shops, and not a single shopping mall in sight. However, there are a variety of activities that make it a lovely place to visit.
But first, what’s that smell?
Though Pranburi is very charming, you may occasionally notice an uncharacteristically strong smell of fish in the air. That is because ‘Muek Dad Deaw’ or sun-dried squid, is a vital commodity in Pranburi.
Many locals have setup Muek Dad Deaw businesses and supply these products from Pranburi to the thriving seafood snack industry, which exists all over Thailand.
So, if the sea breeze slows down for a moment or two, you may get a strong whiff of the squid as it’s drying out and that is because, in the northernmost part of Pranburi, there are fishermen drying out their products before they sell them.
The upside to this is that you can find vendors selling the product all over Pranburi. It’s a snack that many people enjoy, so don’t let the smell deter you- the taste is incredible and the price, considering that you can buy it directly from the source, is more than fair.
Muek Dad Deaw, Sun-Dried Squid in Pranburi
Now, onto the beach.
There are a few main things about the beach in Pranburi that draw many people to it.
Strolling on foot, bicycling, and skating.
After you’ve arrived in Pranburi, nearly everything you are able to enjoy is situated within a 5-15 minute walk from the beach.
There is one big road (and accompanying boardwalk) that runs alongside the beach, appropriately called ‘Beach Road’. This road was built to accommodate bicycles and — believe it or not — skateboards and scooters, too. In fact, there is even a public skatepark on the boardwalk, right next to the sea.
Skatepark next to the beach, located on Beach Road in Pranburi.
Riding down the boardwalk in a cruiser is one of the best ways to experience the beach in Pranburi.
From the early morning until the sunset, the beach in Pranburi is often filled with people kiteboarding. The prevalence of this hobby is also reflected in the shops open alongside the beach, as there are many places that offer equipment rental as well as kiteboarding instruction and hands-on lessons.
Editorial note: If you want to put this video, you can. I cut the sound out of it because of wind. You can also take a still image from this video if that’s easier.
Video Caption: Kiteboarding at Pranburi Beach.
Parts of the beachfront in Pranburi consist of privately-owned coconut farms, also called coconut orchards or groves. These farms don’t have any animals, but they do have some of the most beautiful palm trees you can find in this region.
Orchard on Beach Road in Pranburi
Local coffee shops and Thai restaurants
There is no shortage of good coffee and food options just a few meters from the beach in Pranburi.
One such place that has a really nice vibe, plus delicious desserts and beverage, is Chabar Coffee @Paknumpran. This homey cafe has a delectable selection of cheesecake and crepe cakes to compliment an ice-cold drink after a walk up from the beach.
Drinks and cake at Chabar Coffee @Paknumpran, Pran Buri
There are cute dogs all over the beach in Pranburi. Everywhere you look, you’ll likely see at least 2-3 of them playing sports, swimming, or just laying around soaking up some sun. The beach in Pranburi has a fairly social environment, so don’t be alarmed if you’re approached by some furry friends taking a stroll. Most importantly: feel free to bring your own dogs to this beach, they are most definitely welcome!
Dogs playing on the beach in Pranburi.
Where to stay?
The roads in and out of Pranburi have been recently built or renovated, which has made the town more easily-accessible.
This has resulted in some recent construction of accommodation, all of which has been designed to integrate seamlessly into the look and feel of Pranburi. So, you won’t see a skyline of large buildings and sprawling concrete hotel complexes. Rather, the majority of accommodation is homestay-style, such as Pranberry Bed and Breakfast.
You can browse the various accommodations available in Pranburi through the usual booking sites such as Hotels.com and Agoda.
And one last thing:
Pranburi is home at least one “Very Good Restaurant”, which we can vouch for- it is, in fact, very good!
Very Good Restaurant, located on Beach Road in Pranburi.