Through 1 March, climbers in Thailand will be able to get a firsthand look at one of the country’s most stunning vistas – but not for long.
At nearly 985 feet (300m) and jutting out into the Gulf of Thailand in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, the beachside hill of Khao Lom Muak offers unobstructed views of the nearby coastline and its bays, islets, plus the town of Prachuap Khiri Khan itself. A nature preserve that’s home to both free-roaming dusky langurs (spectacled leaf monkeys) and Wing 5 of the Prachuap Air Base, Khao Lom Muak is only open during national holidays and local tourism fairs – and you’re only allowed to climb in the morning, before the sun’s heat is prohibitive.
It’s not a free-for-all, though. Climbers must enter the base between 6:00 and 10.30 am, register for their trek, and have their blood pressure checked, the requisite drinking water, proper footwear (no flip-flops!), and gloves in tow. It’s a two-hour ascent to the top, first an easy hike up a gently sloping 496-step stairway, punctuated by nature trails and lookouts toward the peak, but from there, the trail only gets more difficult, culminating in a rope trail leading to the limestone cliff at the top.
And there’s no lounging at the top – by noon, everyone will be asked to head back down to sea level. The base is open to the public, though, and it boasts an array of peaceful white-sand beaches, as well as a small history museum focusing on the local heroics during World War II.
The quiet town of Prachuap Khiri Khan is 186 miles (300km) south of Bangkok on highway 4 and just an hour’s drive from Hua Hin and its busy resorts. According to the Bangkok Post, Khao Lom Muak will next be open during Songkran, the Thai New Year, in April. To check the schedules, call 032-611-031 or visit the tourism authority’s Prachuap Facebook page for more information.