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Khao Tao, Hua Hin Overview

Khao Tao is a village located 14 to 15 km south of Hua Hin, Thailand. Situated in the Prachuabkirikhan province, this village is nestled between mountains and fishing grounds which provide a perfect escape for people tired of their daily lives. Besides these, there are numerous beaches, resorts, and sites in Khao Tao which will make your trip to this place worth your investment. Khao Tao literally translates to “Mountain Turtle” or the “Turtle Hill.” It received the name because of the rock shaped outcrop.

The serene Khao Tao Island is 243 kilometers away from Bangkok and was the first reservoir in Thailand which was developed as the ‘Royal Project.’ Hence, all of this assures of the importance of this place. The quiet mountain vibes and the calm inland lake adds to the serenity of this village. Adding on to this, the viewpoints from this spot overlooking the Gulf of Thailand is something you would not want to miss on this trip.

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Places to Visit in Khao Tao

Khao Tao seems to be a place of a small visit, but you can cover quite a few areas on this trip. Here is a list of those places which you can visit when in Khao Tao:

1. Sai Yai Beach (Big Sand Beach)

This beach is located on one side of the hill between a rocky structure and at the mouth of the Pranburi River. You can reach this beach via the paved road from Hua Hin-Khao Tao or via the driveway from Pranburi Paknampran. However, this beach is a deserted one, and you will not find any restaurants or beach chairs. Also, there is the Pranburi Forest Park which can also be visited while on this beach.

2. Suan Son Beach (Small Sand Beach)

This is the other beach which is on the other side of the hill. The beach has now become a weekend gateway for local people and visitors. It is also known as Sea Pine Tree Garden. Located 9 km south of Hua Hin, it has been accepted as one of the most popular beaches in this area. The beach belongs to the Army Welfare Office, and you can visit it anytime between 5:30 AM until midnight.

3. Chinese Temple

You might not be interested in temples, but the views from the temple complex at Wat Tham Khao Tao overlooking the Gulf of Thailand is something you must visit the temple for. You will find temples and shrines which represent a perfect amalgamation of Chinese and Thai influences. There are also small caves and hollows which are holding statues of Buddha and Phra Mae Thoranee (Mother Earth). There are steps following these statues and after making it to the top of the hill, do not forget to look out for the view from here. The giant statue of Buddha is seen looking out to the sea, and this view is an ample reward for your hard work to reach the top.

4. Queen’s Palace

This palace is also known as Maruekatayawan Palace. Designed in 1923 by His Majesty King Rama VI, this palace is a classic example of Thai architecture. It is acknowledged as the longest golden teak palace in the world. Situated a little north of Hua Hin, the palace is open for public from 08:00 AM to 04:00 PM. History lovers should pay a visit to this place to feel the essence of Thai royalty.

5. Khao Tao Lake

If you go slightly inland into the Baan Khao Tao village, you will find a freshwater lake known as the Khao Tao Lake. This lake was developed as a Royal Project, and now local people come here for fishing activities. It is also the first reservoir in Thailand. You can take an evening stroll at this place after you have got tired of traveling.

Khao Tao & Koh Tao

The two names; Khao Tao and Koh Tao are understandably confusing for its visitors. Khao means Hill or Mountain whereas Ko (or Koh) means Island and Tao means Turtle. Hence, Khao Tao and Koh Tao are not the same places. Ko Tao is an island located down south in the Hua Hin area, closer to Koh Samui and is a part of the Chumphon Archipelago. This island is majorly famous amongst the backpackers and diving community. Due to its fame, several visitors get confused between Koh Tao and Khao Tao. 

Khao Tao is a small village which does not provide many options for its visitors and is, therefore, more of a secluded place visited for some peaceful time. Hence, next time you plan to visit any of these places, make sure you get the names correct.

Tips

1. This village is a quiet place; hence, local people do not entertain loud noise. Therefore, as visitors, people are expected to maintain dignity during their stay at this place.
2. It is advisable not to throw any trash anywhere as the local people have maintained the cleanliness of the site.
3. If you are looking for some shopping options then 7/11, Family Mart, Tesco Lotus, and Makr are some of the local shops which you can look out for.
4. Despite being a quiet place, you will find a few eating options. Irene Restaurant, Mr. Jok Restaurant, Loft Indy Kitchen, and Smile Restaurant are some of the possibilities.

How To Reach Khao Tao

Khao Tao is located 15 km South of Hua Hin and 15 km north of Pranburi. As this place is not very far from the Hua Hin town center, you can travel on buses along the main highway (Phetkasem Road). The buses drop off people at the village of Baan Khao Tao. Here, you will find a road labeled Hua Hin 101. After this, the journey can be completed by a songthaew (tuk-tuk) or a motorbike along the way down to the beach or temple complex. Know that travel by public transport can demand a lot of waiting from you especially while returning from Khao Tao.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Khao Tao is between November to March when the temperature is ranging from 29 to 32 degrees Celcius. The other months will witness the wet season which does not favor visit to this place.

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