It's a breezy morning, I find the seafront quickly. Waves are blowing up against the beach wall and splashing the occasional dog walker and cyclist.
I'm really lucky with finding a room at om's house. Right on the seafront, second floor, balcony overlooking the curved bay, bookended on each side with steep pointed karst mountains. After a sleep I set off on a languid bike ride South of the town heading for ao manao beach. It's a strange landscape as the road passes through a military airbase called wing 5, and I actually have to cycle across the runway to get to the next little bay. Ao manao isn't much to shout about. A scraggly beach next to the road shaded by palms and taken up mostly by empty deck chairs. On the other side of the road are various activities, such as horse riding in a coral, archery ( this is the only one open). It's all very low key and local. Further on is a fishing port, klongwan. Trawlers are out in the bay, it's not exactly an idyllic fisher village, so I turn around and go back past the marine science centre, which has an amazing array of topiary creations in its garden. This must be a fashion here, as the splendi temple opposite also has some well maintained sculpted bushes.
Back though ao manao, there is a road that veers right, and goes around a golf course and through the military camp. Historically this is an important piece of land, as there was a battle then armistice signed between the Thais and japs in 1941. Amid the barracks, between the beaches, and next to the moored fishing boats is a little memorial to the armistice.
At the end of this strip of land is a very steep and pretty high limestone peak, khao lommuak. At the base are black faced monkeys, very unafraid, and non-aggressive. One of them leaps onto my back as I'm crouching to take photos.
Not really knowing what it would entail I set up the steps to climb this mountain. Wearing my less suitable shoes. The first third of the climb is steep tiring steps, but the rest is much tougher. No steps, just sharp, jagged walls of rock and helpfully laid ropes connected to strategic trees of metal posts driven into the ground. The sear needed in order to pull yourself up. It's hard work and quite far. Some Thais are coming down, some in flip flops. Everyone suffering. The view from. The top is amazing, stretching in all directions, high above the town. I wonder how on earth the materials were transported to the top to build the little shrine there. And why…!
The evening is low key. I met several people who are repeat visitors, not only to Prachuap, but also to om's. I'm glad I wasn't staying next door. The owner there is a gruff Austrian who was steaming drunk at 10 in the morning.apparently he is bad news, and JJ, the lady running om's has had some disagreements with him. JJ is a strong hard- working single mum, with a cute 5 year old sun, who looks rather likea vampire with his missing front teeth, and pointed canines, devilish grin and red waistcoat. JJ dotes on him and they are very close. She shows me lots of photos of him, and extols his prowess in swimming, independence, and helpfulness. He appears to bear wally smart kid. She tells me to treat om's as my home, and she really does mean this. I can see why people often come back here.