Buddhas, Bugs and the Burmese Border ~ Prachuap Khiri Khan (February, 2010)

Golden Buddha image, Wat Thang Sai, Prachuapkhirikhan

Buddha ~ Wat Thang Sai

When we want to escape Bangkok, one of our favourite destinations is Prachuap Khiri Khan. Once you have broken free of the Bangkok traffic (and that can take a while!), it is an easy 3 hour drive south to a relatively quiet area with magic mountains and beautiful beaches.

The province’s name means the ‘land of many mountains’, which it is, if you consider the border regions with Myanmar, but none of the mountains is very high: Khao Luang, at 1494 metres, is the highest. Still, with altitudes varying from 0 – 1200 meters above sea level, the terrain is sufficiently interesting. The coast is dotted with pretty fishing villages and the inland has its share of National Parks. And, as is the case with most of Thailand, almost every hill, on the coastal side at least, has a temple and/or a buddha image on top of it.

With its golden spires and red tiled roofs, Wat Thang Sai sits like a little girl’s fairy-tale dream castle above the little fishing village of Ban Krut.

Golden Spires above frangipani blossoms: Wat Thang Sai, Bangsaphan

The Spires of Wat Thang Sai rise out of the Frangipani Blossoms like a Fairy-Tale Dream Castle

The wide naga staircase up to Wat Thang Sai

To Reach the Wat (Temple), You Have to Climb the Steep Naga (King Cobra-like Deity) Stairs

Seated Golden Buddha, Wat Thang Sai

Golden Buddha, Wat Thang Sai (วัดทางสาย)

Composite: Wat Thang Sai Exterior and Guardian Giant (Yaak)

Cotton Candy Colours ~ Guardian Giant (Yaak : ยักษ์)

Golden Reclining Buddha, Wat Thang Sai

Reclining Buddha, Wat Thang Sai

Two young Thai girls with gold leaf on their foreheads smile for the camera.

Always Ready to be Photographed! Two young Girls with Precious Gold Leaf on their Foreheads

Golden seated buddha overlooking blue water

Buddha Watching Over the Gulf of Thailand, Wat Thang Sai

I’ve mentioned before that Prachuap is the narrowest province in Thailand, running between the mountainous border with Myanmar and the beaches along the Bay of Thailand. Dan Singkhon is a border crossing at the narrowest point of Thailand, and so is easily accessible form the highway. Although only Thais and Burmese can cross here, it is interesting to have a look at what the orchid vendors have on sale. And, the coffee is good: for some reason, Thai border crossings sell some of the best coffee in Thailand, and this one is no exception.

Burmese Orchid Sellers sitting on the ground Waiting for Customers

Waiting for Customers, Dan Singkhon Border Crossing Markets

Composite: Portraits of Burmese Youths; Male and Female with tanakha or "bangnakha" (แป้งนาคา) Powder

Burmese Youngsters at the Border ~ With Tanakha or "Bangnakha" (แป้งนาคา) on their Faces

Carved and painted wooden birds, Thailand

Lucky Birds, Dan Singkhon Border Crossing Markets

Composite: Orchids

Orchids for Sale, Dan Singkhon, Prachuap Khiri Khan

Landscape: Stump decorated with ribbons

Tributes to the Tree Spirits, Dan Singkhon, Prachuap Khiri Khan

You never have to drive far in Thailand before there is another hill to climb. Khao Chong Krajok in the town centre of Prachuap Khiri Khan promises (and delivers) great views over the Gulf of Thailand. Before tackling the 396 steps up, we bought bags of corn on the cob –  not for us, but to placate the resident monkey hords who live on the hill. The monkeys seemed to belong to at least two distinct groups, and were indulging in some sort of turf warfare while we were there, racing back and forth at each other with lots of snarling and baring of teeth… Not at all the “sociable monkeys” that were written up in the guide book.

Steps up to Khao Chong Krajok เขาช่องกระจก, Prachuap Khiri Khan

More Steps! 396 Steps up to the Shrine atop Khao Chong Krajok, Prachuap Khiri Khan

Shrine Atop Khao Chong Krajok, Wat Thammikaram Worawihan Below

Pigeons on a rail overlooking Prachuap Khiri Khan

Pigeon's Eye View of the Bay of Thailand, Prachuap Khiri Khan

Monkey at Khao Chong Krachok, overlooking the Bay of Thailand, Prachuap Khiri Khan

One of the Many Monkeys at Khao Chong Krachok, Prachuap Khiri Khan

View Over Phrachuap Khiri Khan from Khao Chong Krajok (เขาช่องกระจก)

View Over Phrachuap Khiri Khan from Khao Chong Krajok (เขาช่องกระจก)

Composite: steep stairs and Thai wat

Steps Down from Khao Chong Krajok ~ Wat Thammikaram Worawihan

Thailand is a nation of “grazers” and you are never far from food – depending, of course, what you like to eat. Seafood is cheap and fresh all along the long Prachuap coastline. We also found tiny fried frogs, and a full range of insects, from larvae to full-grown. Not exactly my  cup of tea, but extremely popular with the locals. We satisfied ourselves with more mundane, but equally fresh, stir-fried vegetables with noodles before continuing on the road north to return home.

Fried Chrysalis ~ Thai delicacy

Popular Thai Delicacies in the Prachuap Khiri Khan Market: Fried Chrysalis

Fried Cicadas: Thai Food

Popular Thai Delicacies in the Prachuap Khiri Khan Market: Fried Cicadas

Sunset in a Car rear-view Mirror

The Evening Drive Home...

Text: Happy Travels


Enjoy your next escape!


  • gabe gajdatdy - May 12, 2011 - 3:00 pm

    Great scenery & colours. Reminders of our wide ranging experiences. Love itReplyCancel

  • Signe Westerberg - May 13, 2011 - 12:16 am

    Love the smiling faces on the children and the orchid vendors…not so excited about fried bugs… the fresh seafood however sounds nice…another lovely insight into an amazing country, thanks for the shareReplyCancel

    • Ursula - May 14, 2011 - 3:20 am

      While I have once (for the sake of politeness) eaten “ant eggs”, I have managed to by-pass all other bugs. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Ai French - June 25, 2011 - 2:53 am

    Wow… Ursula, your photos all are stunning. Two years ago we went to the temple in BanKrud also. Your gorgeous photos remind us of our best time with nature beach, people, and places.

    I would like to have your permission to paint something from your pictures. I hope to get to show you some result soon.


    • Ursula - June 25, 2011 - 4:18 am

      Hi Ai,

      I’m so glad you like the pictures. It’s a magical spot, isn’t it? We’ve stayed down there a few times, and I’d love to go back.
      You are always welcome to paint my pictures – I love all your paintings and you could only make my photos look better. I have many more from the area – some of them are probably on my Flickr site, though I get behind, so I’m not sure.

      Your Blog site is fantastic! What lovely, clean design!! I guess that is the beauty of actually understanding computers. 🙂


  • […] the Khmer Rouge years when other foods were scarce, fried insects are also popular in Thailand (see “Buddhas, Bugs and the Burmese Border”) and other parts of […]ReplyCancel

  • Phil Alexander - January 26, 2012 - 7:16 pm

    Great pictures. I was thinking of heading that way in a few weeks….Any hotel suggestions…cheap and cheerful?ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - January 27, 2012 - 2:24 am

      Hi Phil,
      Thanks for visiting! We always stay at the Keeree Waree Seaside Villa & Spa, Prachuap Khiri Khan; not really cheap, but very nice. Their website seems to be defunct, but they are listed with all the hotel-finders. There are plenty of other places around, and I imagine it would be no problem to simple drive the coast and stop where the fancy takes you! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Guava - March 8, 2012 - 10:16 am

    Some great work here Ursula. Particularly like the children shots (^____^)ReplyCancel

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