My first recommendation is a trip to Khao Lom Muak, a seaside peak in Prachaub Kiri Khan Province, only an hour and a half drive south from Hua Hin. This rugged limestone peak rises 280 metres near the sea within the Royal Thai Air Force Base (Wing 5).
The peak is considered sacred, the home of a mountain spirit whose shrine attracts visitors. Feeling very much secure at home there, and well-protected by the Thai air force, is a big troupe of Dusky Langur monkeys.
Very attractive in their livery of grey and white, with startling white spectacles around their eyes, the gentle monkeys sit in a row on branches, long tails hanging down and taking in the view of the weekend visitors.
They are less busy than the macaque monkeys that we are more used to. This month’s national long holiday on September 4-7 is a good time to visit as the mountain is only open for special holidays. This one is the delayed Songkran Thai New Year holiday that the Government had to put forward from April in the midst of the Covid-19 infection.
Now that it is safer to move about the country, Thailand Tourism Authority (TAT) Prachuab Office has invited you to “conquer the top of Khao Lom Muak” during the Songkran weekend.
Here is a real hiking adventure and I recommend that you take this healthy excursion opportunity. It’s a few days’ break from work and other routines, so don’t just stay home. Take a ride south to explore Prachuab and perhaps take the chance to just spend some nights in one of the many good hotels in the city. Be sure to book ahead.
Arriving early at the mountain is a good move when it is cooler and you can be ahead in the queue to register for the climb. Registrations are open only from 6.00 am to 10.00 am on each of the four days. Each group is limited to 25 climbers at a time. Once registered, your adventure begins in earnest and the 496 steps of stairs are there to truly test your fitness. Then at the top of those steps, the hardest part of the trip actually begins.
Now you scramble further up the hill on a steep rocky trail, holding on to a rope to pull yourself up to the very top. You may be lucky to have strong air force men on hand to give you a pull and a push along the way. The climb to the top takes 40 minutes to an hour and the view is certainly worth it. The three bays on the coast of Ao Noi, Ao Prachuab and Ao Manao gleam serenely below.
Your own Herculean climbing effort can even now be rewarded with a coffee from the Starbucks at the top.