As kids we used to play a game when travelling to the seaside; the first person to spot the sea would win a few pennies to spend while on holiday. Arriving at Tusita Resort & Spa Chumphon, you can see the sea several kilometres away and it takes your breath away. So it was no surprise that I was as excited as a teenager as we checked in to one of Chumphon’s secret gems.
The resort is secluded to say the least; the nearest 7-11 store is a 30-minute drive. But given that we intended to kick back for a long weekend, thoughts of civilisation were the last thing on our minds. We soon forgot the distance needed to reach the small town of Tungtako as we had everything we required at the resort, from a splendid swimming pool with whirlpool, a gym, choice of two restaurants and a spa.
As our Thai Airways flight made its final turn to line up for landing at Phuket International Airport, we dipped below the fluffy white clouds and suddenly out of my window seat I could see the appealing azure waters of the Andaman Sea. The Airbus A330-300 flight from Bangkok was packed with eager-faced holiday-makers all wanting to deplane and head to the wonderful beaches we were now only a few thousand feet above.
After a five-hour drive from Bangkok and a twenty-minute ferry crossing, it was a relief to have finally reached our destination. We turned off the car’s air-conditioning, turned up the music, and opened every window as we drove along the hilly coastline heading to Klong Prao Beach, a quiet stretch of coast that would be our home for the next three days.
While Hua Hin continues to attract the bulk of the attention – and as a consequence, most of the investment – Pranburi, the sleepy fishing town next door is slowly gaining traction. As the Royal beach resort and the largest town in Prachuab Khiri Khan Province fills up with local and international tourists on long weekends and holidays, those with a little more time on their hands are more likely to drive the extra fifty or so kilometres and enjoy a totally different experience at a resort in Pranburi.