Timings : All Day
Time Required : 5-6 hours
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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.
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.
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