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Ao Manao
Ao Manao

A hidden treasure less than one hour's drive south of Hua Hin

Post by : Tinamou

Post Date : August 8385

Trip Summary

Travel Date : July 1999

Destinations : Prachuap Khiri Khan

Activities : Beach

Traveller's Rating

Rating 1

1 votes

This beautiful semi-circular bay is inside a military base under the care of the Royal Thai Airforce’s Wing 53.   The bay is some 4 km south of Prachuab town center and visitors have to cross a small runway to get to the beach. The beach gets very wide at low tide and is lined with pine trees, so visitors can sit in the shade enjoying good food and fabulous views. Today, Ao Manao is a popular tourist attraction complete with accommodation, shower facilities, and restaurants available for the general public. When I first visited, you’d have to seek permission from senior air force officers on the base in order to be allowed to use one of the then few (but large) bungalows near the beach. The over-night leisure facilities were reserved for military personnel, much like they still are at the Royal Thai Navy’s area / compound east of Sattahip. Back then, a few of my fellow university students (the active ones) would propose and arrange weekend trips up country for lazy fellow students like me. At least, that’s how it was done at Thammasat University. Students had to pay 1,000 baht/trip and be ready to get on a mini-van leaving Bangkok Friday evening. The trip organizers would handle all payments during the trip (fuel, food, vehicle rental, accommodation, etc). All expenses would be split equally and we’d would have to top up if there was a deficit. Each mini-van could carry 10 students and there would normally be 15-20 students joining. Roughly split 50/50 female/male. Leaving Bangkok Friday evening ensured we’d arrive at the destination Saturday morning. Now, it would have been wise to sleep while being transported, but – alas – it never worked out that way. Invariably, the mini-van would be humming and buzzing with jokes, gossip, idle talk, and innocent flirtations all kept alive with liberal application of Thai whisky (which actually is rum). After arriving at the destination and checking in, normal people would crash and try to get some sleep. However, on these trips, those annoying active people would drag us lazy bums around to see the local sights. One might then hope for some shut-eye Saturday night, but then somebody would suggest a game of cards combined with more Thai whisky and that would then go on until the wee hours of the morning.

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