Located a little over 16 kilometers from Hua Hin , Pranburi, with its jungle interior and quiet coast, was once largely ignored by both locals and international travelers. In the past few years, more and more small boutique resorts have begun opening up along the coast, offering visitors chic accommodations and five-star treatment without the crowds and noise you’ll find in the larger resort areas of Cha-Am and Hua Hin.
There is no nightlife scene to speak of in the area, and many will choose to spend their evenings quietly, eating at one of the local seafood restaurants along the coast. The beach in Pranburi is as nice as those of its neighbors, just without the surrounding development. There’s a tiny state park nearby where you can walk or picnic.
Otherwise there’s not a lot to do, especially for children—which is probably why most guests are couples. If you need something to keep you occupied at all times, this area might feel a little boring. If you’re looking for a place where the loudest noise you’ll hear is the sound of the waves, pick Pranburi.
The lovely Pranburi Forest Park barely qualifies as a park as it’s just over 2.5 square kilometers in size. It is part mangrove forest and part evergreen forest, with the Pranburi River running through it. This may not be the place for a long hike, but it’s a nice spot to go for a picnic or a (short) walk if you’re staying in Pranburi.
To get there, follow Highway 4 (called Phetchakasem Road in the area) from Hua Hin for about 16 kilometers. You’ll see a sign for the forest park on the left. You may also be able to arrange a ride through your hotel or resort, but other transportation options are limited in the area.
The beach is wide and calm and similar to Hua Hin , except that there are very few people and no activities.
Aside from the restaurants at the resorts in the area, there aren’t many dining choices in the immediate vicinity. There are, however, some great outdoor beachfront seafood restaurants with traditional Thai food and grilled fish and shellfish. These are nothing fancy (tables and chairs out on the beach), but the food will be fresh and the beer will be cold.
Dolphin Bay Resort (223 Mu 4, Phu Noi Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan, 03/255-9333, www.dolphinbayresort.com , 1,490B) is the most inexpensive place you’ll find in the area. This midsize resort has all of the basics you’ll need, including a couple of well-maintained swimming pools, clean and comfortable (if uninspired) rooms, and a good location on the beach with a magnificent view of the nearby islands. There is also a restaurant and a spa with limited services. Unlike most of the other places in the area, this resort, which has lots of places for kids to play, is a great choice for families.
Less expensive and, perhaps, less pretentious than the other small resorts along the Pranburi Coast, Lazy Beach (79 Mu 4, Paknampran, 03/263-0555, www.huapleelazybeach.com , 3,500B) is a delightful, laid-back place to spend a few days. Each room is different, but all feature lots of windows, private balconies, open-air bathrooms, and eclectic, beach-themed furnishings. Many also have sitting areas. Lazy Beach isn’t dowdy or tacky: The thatched roofs and white stucco structures have a relaxed, chic feeling. There is no pool here, so any swimming has to happen in the ocean, which is right at the resort’s doorstep.
Thatched-roof bungalows on stilts in a rice field by the Gulf, polished concrete showers, abstract mobiles. . . la a natu bed & bakery (234 Mu 2, Samroiyod, 03/268-9941, www.laanatu.com , 4,900B) defies definition, other than that it’s a very stylish, small, eco-friendly resort with a chic rooftop pool. The resort offers a variety of different types of bungalows and villas that vary both in style and size. There’s also a bakery serving homemade treats such as carrot cake, brownies, and scones.
The Aleenta Resort (183 Mu 4, Paknampran, Pranburi, 02/508-5333, www.aleenta.com , 5,500B) is a very small beachside boutique resort that looks and feels exclusive and indulgent. The villas and guest rooms are designed in a Mediterranean style—clean lines and white stucco abound. Come here to relax, read a book, or go for a swim, but go elsewhere if you’re looking to party. Rooms are equipped with modern amenities such as iPods, but televisions are conspicuously absent. All rooms have their own spacious decks for watching the waves or enjoying a private dinner. Villas have their own plunge pools. The common pool is barely the size of a large bathtub, and one of the only downsides of this property.
The cozy Purimuntra Resort and Spa (97 Mu 4, Paknampran, Pranburi, 02/392-2522, www.purimuntra.com , 5,500B) is yet another small boutique resort on the coast in Pranburi. Rooms are comfortable and chic, more colorfully decorated than the austere Aleenta Resort, and here you’ll also find televisions. The resort has well-appointed common spaces, including a small spa and medium-size pool overlooking the ocean.
The Evason Hua Hin & Six Senses Spa (9 Mu 5 Paknampran Beach, Pranburi, 03/263-2111, www.sixsenses.com , 5,500B) is a large resort with nearly 200 rooms and holds true to the brand’s upscale, pampering reputation. Rooms have a spartan, uncluttered feeling. But with sitting areas, balconies, open bathrooms with bathtubs, and televisions, the rooms aren’t lacking in comfort. The swimming pool is enormous and has plenty of deck chairs. There are also eight tennis courts and a fitness center. Although the Evason is a grown-up property, it’s definitely child-friendly. They even arrange supervised overnight camping. Don’t be thrown off by the name of the resort: It’s in Pranburi, not Hua Hin.
Villa Maroc (165/3 Mu 3, Paknampran, Pranburi, 03/263-0771, www.villamarocresort.com , 8,000B), a Moroccan-themed luxury resort, is one of Pranburi’s most stunning spots. The expansive property overlooks the Gulf of Siam and offers some beautiful views both inside and out. Rooms are individually decorated in bright colors, with plenty of natural materials meticulously carved, sewn, and hewn to create a perfect, if idealized, vision of North African luxury. The large infinity swimming pool dominates the main common area, but it’s the indoor hammam that really impresses. In addition to typical spacious rooms, there are also family villas with two bedrooms.
Unless you’re driving, the best way to get to Pranburi is to go to Hua Hin  and arrange transport from there. Pranburi is about 30 minutes south of Hua Hin by car, and it’s possible to arrange a taxi or have your resort pick you up. Expect to pay around 400 baht for the ride, either by taxi or by pickup.
If you are driving, take Highway 4 south out of Hua Hin and follow the road to Route 3168, where you’ll turn left and head toward the coast.