Visit Bangkok's "Other" Beach Resort With a Private Car, Driver and Guide
Escape Bangkok for a day and travel along the coast to an idyllic resort that was beautiful enough to attract royalty. You will see two rambling summer palaces, visit the antique town of Petcheburi, and the seaside resorts at Hua Hin. Seafood feasts or spa treatments anyone?
Embark this morning with your personal guide and private car. Exit the city into the fresh air of the coastline along the Gulf of Siam. Arrive in Petchaburi province and visit two splendid royal estates. First, take a trolley car up to the top of Khao Khiri, a hilltop retreat with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. King Rama IV commissioned a complex of pleasure palaces, temples and an observatory which were completed in 1860. The result is a harmonious balance of western neo-classic, Chinese and Thai architectural elements, rising from a verdant island in the sky.
Wander around the hilltop pathways, populated now by wild monkeys and fragrant from blooming frangipani trees, and imagine life as it was in the time of the King made famous to the outside world through the Hollywood confections, The King and I and Anna and the King.
Visit the charming old city of Petchaburi, filled with wooden shopfronts and quiet temples, including the impressive prang of Wat Mahatat Worawihan (see image at right). This city is famous for delicious "rose apples" and a mouth-watering dessert, khanom mo kaeng, a kind of textured custard made from steamed mung bean, eggs, and coconut milk. Don't miss trying these local specialties!
After lunch, tour an art nouveau palace of Rama VI, with its grand halls and terra cotta fantasias. For spelunking fans, there are also some famous Buddhist cave chapels in the area.
Just between the seaside resorts of Cha-Am and Hua Hin, drop by the expansive Victorian wooden palace, Phra Ratchaniwet Marukkhathayawan which King Rama VI built at the picturesque seaside. Although the decorative and structural elements were throughly modern for the time, the design of the elevated complex echoes the traditional Thai country village. If the current Royal Family is not in residence, your guide may be able to arrange a special visit to King Rama VII's 1920s Spanish-style holiday palace which he named Klai Kangwon ("Far From Worries").
Arrive in Hua Hin and spend the rest of the afternoon at this seaside resort, relaxing on the beach or strolling through the topiary gardens of the classic 1920's.
Railway Hotel (now the Sofitel Centara). The town here is walkable and very friendly. Old fashioned Thai hospitality is still the way of life. Return to Bangkok in the evening after a breezy seafood feast.