Pranburi's beaches are far nicer than those in Hua Hin and Cha-am, in terms of cleanliness, development and view, and might even be a contender for one of Thailand's top beaches. If beach is important to you and you want to go somewhere relaxing, pick Pranburi over Cha-am. It's worth the extra drive from Bangkok.
Getting Around Pranburi:
Central, urban Pranburi is a little inland from the beach and that's really the only area you'll be able to find any public transportation. On the coast itself resorts and bungalows are spread out so you'll need to arrange a car or motorbike if you want to explore the greater area. It's also possible to bicycle around Pranburi if you're just visiting the beaches along the coast.
Getting to Pranburi:
Pranburi is about 20 miles south of Hua Hin and is about 3 1/2 hours by car from the capital, depending on traffic. To get there, you can take one of the daily trains from Bangkok's Hua Lumpong Station then get a taxi or car to Pranburi, drive directly from Bangkok or take one of the many government and private buses that go from Bangkok to Pranburi from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal. There are also private mini buses that make the trip from Bangkok to Pranburi on a daily basis. These are run by various companies, much like airport shuttles, and can be arranged with your hotel or resort.
Where to Stay:
What to Expect:
The beach at Pranburi is one of the prettiest in the area. Thanks to a scattering of small islands and rock formations right off the coast, the view from the beach is very beautiful. The sand is dark and a bit coarse but there are plenty of palm trees.
Pranburi doesn't have a big, bustling central beach area like you'd find in Hua Hin or any of the other very popular beaches and islands in Thailand. In fact much of what goes on in Pranburi involves hanging out at the beaches or swimming in your resort pool. There are scattered local restaurants and bars attached to resorts, but aside from that it's a pretty mellow and quiet area. It's a great place to go with kids or if you don't want to do more than read a book and swim in the ocean. If you're looking for a party, Pranburi probably isn't the right beach for you!