Leaving Chumphon, we decided not to take the highway and just take our time driving on the coastal road to the North. What a freedom to ride a motorbike and be able to go everywhere! We went through beautiful and rather wild beaches.
However at noon we were surprised by heavy rains in the middle of nowhere, and finally found shelter in a small restaurant in a village. We stayed there three hours, waiting for the rain to stop, and we even wondered if we would end up sleeping there for the night. Driving under the rain is indeed not the best thing for us. Even if we have covers for the backpacks and good raincoats, our pants are not waterproof and we still end up quite wet! The restaurant where we had stopped had only four tables in an open terrace and at the back the living room of the owners. Unfortunately the owners were not speaking a word of English, because we felt like spending the afternoon in their living room, with the cat and them preparing food, we wish we could have shared thoughts with them. That is really one big frustration of the trip, not being able to speak with everyone because of language barrier!
Finally the rain stopped and we were able to continue our roadtrip. We arrived in Prachuap Khiri Khan with a beautiful sunset and we knew we had found the paradise we were looking for!
Prachuap Khiri Khan is a resort town 300 km from Bangkok, featuring a long beach lined with a promenade, small hotels and terraced restaurants. Having seen on the internet that accommodation on the seaside was quite expensive, we took a room for the night in a guesthouse in the centre, still 5 minutes from the sea. However, when going for dinner on the seaside, we were attracted by this narrow, 3-floor, yellow house with colored balconies just in front of the sea. Plants were growing in front of it and a Western man was peacefully smoking a cigarette on a wooden seat. There was a sign indicating it was a guesthouse so we asked for the price. It was 400 THB (12 USD) for a double room with fan and shared bathroom, less than what we were paying in town, so we asked to see the room and we were shown a beautiful homey room overlooking the sea from the last floor of the house. So we decided to move there the day after, and we finally ended up spending 4 nights in this guesthouse. We really felt at home!
Apart from our lovely guesthouse, we had some awesome things to do in Prachuap. First we climbed a hill to visit a Buddhist temple, Wat Thammikaram, which was overlooking the sea on the North of the seaside. Amazing views!!!
We also went to the beach of Ao Manao which is South of the seaside. The best part is that to get there we needed to enter a military base, register our passport, and drive inside the base on strictly defined areas. The beach itself was lovely, surrounded by big hills.
Inside the base, we had also the chance to climb one of the hills, Khao Lom Muak Ko Lak, 700 meters with stairs and then ropes with dramatic views on the sea. It took us an hour to climb the hill, helped sometimes by military staff who were there to assist climbers, but we had the most rewarding view ever!
The hill can only be climbed on specific days, like public holidays, so we were lucky to climb it on 12th August which is public holiday because it is the Queen’s birthday!
If we did not have the deadline of 30 days for our visa in Thailand, we would have stayed in Prachuap even more. It was so peaceful, and there was almost no Western tourists. Staying in Prachuap longer than expected also prevented us to be in Hua Hin, just a few kilometers North, during the bombings that happened on 12th August. We had the plan to stop in Hua Hin, but after the bombings we decided to go straight and not stop there for a night. We left Prachuap, convinced that we would go again, and hoping that this place will be kept away from crowds of tourists, enough to make it stay the nice city with nice Thai people we have visited.