The stretch of coast between Hua Hin and Chumphon barely registers on most foreign tourists’ radar, but many better-off Bangkokians have favourite beaches in this area, the nicest of which is sophisticated PAK NAM PRAN (aka Pranburi). Just 30km or so south of Hua Hin, Pak Nam Pran used to cater only for families who owned beach villas here, but in the past few years the shorefront homes have been joined by a growing number of enticing, if pricey, boutique hotels, and signs are there’s more development to come. For now, facilities consist of just a few minimarkets, car-rental outlets and independent bars and restaurants, especially around the Evason hotel towards the northern end of the beach, plus the possibility of organizing day-trips to nearby Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park through hotel staff; there’s also kiteboarding through Kiteboarding Asia, about 1km south of the Evason.
As along much of the Gulf coast, the beach itself, also known as Hat Naresuan, is not exceptional (it has hardly any shade and is suffering from erosion in parts), but it is long, with fine sand, and nearly always empty, and you’re quite likely to see dolphins playing within sight of the shore. The strand stretches south from Pak Nam Pran town at the mouth of the Pran River – which is known for its colourful fishing boats, specializing in squid – for around 7km to Khao Kalok headland and the tiny Thao Kosa Forest Park.