Pranburi

18 Feb

* Taking the opportunity of my maternity leave to polish off a blog post that has been pending…

Winter break this year found me thirty-two weeks pregnant and not inclined to travel very far. However, I wasn’t about to let twenty-four days of school break pass by without at least a little adventure, so off we went to Pranburi. Although the area is only a thirty minute drive south along the coast from the city of Hua Hin, it feels like a completely different world. Hua Hin is bustling and filled with tourists; Pranburi is closer to being the middle of nowhere. Orestes had a dubious expression on his face when our car first pulled up to the hotel, the usual “what has my wife gotten me into now?” face that I know and love. 🙂

I admit that on our first afternoon stroll the area did not appear to offer much in the way of entertainment. The beach front is occupied by hotels and restaurants, but other than the one main road along the coast, the area is quite empty. The hotels and tiny shops quickly fade into pineapple plantations as you head inland. That area along the Gulf of Thailand is known for its kitesurfing opportunities, which looked like great fun, but clearly wasn’t an option for me at that moment in time. After the first afternoon of aimless wandering, we rented a scooter so we could venture further afield.

The coastline of Pranburi is lovely. Even in the busy tourist season of img_6848December, there was an underwhelming number of people about, most of whom were domestic tourists. A delightful breeze blows constantly (hence the kitesurfing) which meant that one could lounge in the sun for hours and never overheat. We had a third floor room at our cute little hotel; the two flights of stairs were a little exhausting but the private terrace with a beach view more than made up for the extra climbing effort I had to exert.

On one afternoon, we visited Pranburi Forest Park, a large protected mangrove swamp with a raised walkway. Mangroves fascinate me, both their snazzy root structure and their environmental role in preventing erosion and creating habitat for creepy crawlies. The walkway was lovely and shaded, and provided a nice little stroll through nature; we saw some crabby fellows and heard some splashing monitor lizards. img_6871Our drive to the forest was also a bit of an adventure. Google maps led us to what seemed like a dead end, and I stopped at a hotel to ask directions. The lady at the desk cheerfully directed me through a closed wooden gate, and sent us off down a dirt track into the wilderness. She knew what she was talking about however; a few minutes of off-roading and a monitor lizard sighting later, we emerged next to the parking lot of the park. I was tickled pink by the whole escapade; Orestes was perhaps less than amused to be driving his preggo wife along a bouncy dirt track.

On another afternoon, we drove south along the coast for quite a ways. We discovered a unique looking temple, and a colorful gathering of Thai fishing boats, among other things. There is apparently a cave temple one can hike to; I was game to try but reluctantly allowed myself to be persuaded not to by some fellow hotel guests. Next time! Pranburi also offered up some tasty seafood options, and a whole lot of quality relaxation. The final verdict? Pranburi is perfect for quiet time. We both agreed we would happily return but perhaps with a group of friends so as to have some more entertainment… or it might be perfect for beach time with a tiny munchkin!

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