It’s Friday, the cleaner has arrived and we head out for the afternoon. It’s a glorious day, after an afternoon storm yesterday. The sky is a beautiful blue with wispy clouds, it’s warm and I feel the day beckoning us to get out and enjoy it. We head down our soi (street) and ponder which way to go. Logic tells us to take a left to town and do the few errands on our list. Or do we take a right and who knows…
Right it is. The chores will wait another day.
Although we live about two kilometres from Hua Hin beach on the Royal Coast of Thailand, today we decided to venture farther south to a location that is becoming increasingly popular with expats. We drive through pineapple and sugar cane farms, pass through small roadside villages, cross the Pranburi River and see the colourful squid fishing boats getting ready to go out later that evening. It’s a lovely drive.
After about 25 minutes we come to a T-junction and esplanade. We have arrived at the lowkey beachside resort town of Pak Nam Pran and it’s a beauty…
Pak Nam Pran is a much quieter spot than Hua Hin, with a population of about 8,000 souls (Hua Hin is home to around 63,000). There’s a range of boutique hotels, guest houses, five-star accommodation and health resorts and you’ll find value for money here. An oceanfront room in low season can be had from as little as $40 a night. Although it’s a small town, it’s well-equipped with fresh food markets, supermarkets, shops and most things you need.
There are restaurants dotted along the esplanade and around the town. We stopped off at the ‘Very Good Restaurant’ which has very good food and a very good sea view. Our two large mains, rice and cold drinks were tasty, freshly prepared and very good value too—costing just $12. We were back in Australia recently and for a similar lunch, seaside with drinks, paid a staggering $80.
Fed and watered, we made our way to a nearby massage place. Michael likes a traditional Thai massage, where your limbs are stretched and put in places you didn’t know they could go! I prefer a more relaxing foot, head and shoulder massage. Two, one-and-a-half hour massages cost $24 all up. They even gave us fresh-cut, cold, sweet pineapple and water at the end.
A lovely aspect of Pak Nam Pran is the oceanfront walkway. The buildings are mostly low rise— under three storeys—and as we wander along, we watch dogs play on the beach, feel the gentle breeze and spot fishermen hauling in their catch.
On the way home, I couldn’t help but compare life here to life back in Australia. We’d enjoyed an afternoon outing, lunch by the sea and relaxing massages for a grand total of $36…and then arrived home to a spotless house (our cleaner charges $20 for a four-hour clean)… Luxuries that we simply couldn’t have afforded back home, but here, they’re part of everyday life…
Life in Thailand certainly costs much less than living in Australia but the best part isn’t about saving dollars, it’s the freedom it allows us to enjoy the opportunities for discovery, learning and the everyday wonder of immersing ourselves in a totally different culture and country.