Pranburi……..a location you have probably never heard of when Thailand springs to mind?
Thought so much, well neither had i until very recently when i went to discover what this “up and coming” as described online, place had to offer. As it turns out, for a mostly unheard of place that is pretty much untouched by your average traveller , quite a lot in fact!. Only 30 minutes south of my favorite beach city Hua Hin, you will stumble across some beautiful unspoiled beaches, lots of fine dining options, national parks and the most spectacular cave i have ever trekked to in my life(and i have been to a few). I couldn’t believe i hadn’t come across Pranburi or the amazing Phraya Nakhon Cave until now. How have people never heard of this place????? As i am coming close to my final stint of living in Thailand, i am thinking that some things are best left undiscovered till last and this cave was the complete icing on the cake!.
Phraya Nakhon cave set in a huge national park called Khao Sam Roi Yot is a hidden treasure indeed, stepping inside it is almost hard to believe this place is for real(one of those see it to believe it places). Not only is the drive here from the main town just a beauty with floating villages and green hues all around but just wait till you actually set foot inside the cave itself. Before your reach the cave the winding path on your trek will provide you stunning ocean top scenery and viewpoints galore. You have two options to choose from when you get to the park, you can take a long-tail boat to and from the cave for 400 baht or choose the trekking option like i did which will cost 200 baht(this option provides the most photo worthy opportunities). I choose the trek option mostly to get a lil workout in post Christmas belly and all that( i had an all you can eat Christmas dinner so i over indulged big time).
To a fitness freak the trek with be a doddle but if you have been a bit slack on the exercise regime(guilty) this trek up many a step and hilly path will take dedication and a lot of puffing and panting. Thankfully about half ways there is the most idyllic beach(Laem Sala) where you can stop and cool down in the clear waters. Now take my advice when i say wear trainers( runners or sneakers, which ever you prefer to call them) as it is a rocky surface and even though i seen many a Thai person doing it in their flip flops, well come on they are just mad on the best of days and get up on scaffolding in flipflops for god sake(no fear) .Do not wear flip flops- Your feet will thank you later!. The forests and greenery that surround your path will keep you as cool as possible on your trail but do bring along a bottle of water, you will be needing it.
As you enter the cave cascading limestone will blur your vision all around. You can take in the beauty at your ease, as it will be mostly uncrowded in comparison to a regular Thai tourist attraction and savor that moment cos as you and i both know there is not many of those left in Thailand nowadays. Inside at the very bottom of the cave you will find the most precious temple or pavilion as its better known which was constructed during the reign of King Rama during the 19th century. This whole place has such a mystical effect and feel due to natural weathering the ceiling of the cave is open which allows for natural sun light to shine in and illuminate the cave. There is lots of little boards along the cave giving information to those who want to know more about this ever enchanting place. This cave doesn’t end there, peer up at the roof and you will see stalactites and stalagmites dangling down. A dry waterfall can be seen also close to the entrance of the cave. Its an endless fairy-tale story in here. This cave is an magnificent photo opportunity and an even nicer place to sit and chill. It is so quiet and such a peaceful ambiance inside the cave, take time to chill out and observe many people who just come to sit and take it all in.
I had nearly run out of hope that i would find anywhere in Thailand that isn’t one big tourist trap but this mysterious cave restored my faith before i leave Thailand. Now when i meet people who are going to Thailand but have never heard of this cave maybe i can open their eyes to the fact there is much more to to see when coming here than just Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and all your regulars. Thailand is still a destination with a few magical secrets and places to discover and i hope it remains that way for quite some time yet.
Happy new year to you all(sorry its a tad late, but better late than never) and thank you to everyone who has been reading my blog. I am overwhelmed with the long list of readers now from all over the world, its wonderful to know that people from locations i have never been to or where i dont know anybody from are following it.
So here is to 2016 and every single adventure that awaits…..im ready for ya!!!!