On another day trip away from Bangkok, we found ourselves in Petchaburi next to the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Petchaburi is a small town which doesn’t attract much tourism, especially when compared to its neighbors of Cha-am and Hua Hin. However, it suited our lazy attitude perfectly that day and as it happened to be midday, gave us the perfect opportunity to visit our favorite noodle and dessert shop in Petchaburi.
These are the noodles that we had in Petchaburi next to Khao Wang, which means “Palace Hill”. These noodles had a dark soup like boat noodles but it wasn’t as thick as the soup for boat noodles. This particular shop had green “bamee” noodles, which are normally yellow egg noodles. The noodles at this shop was yummy and they have two different times of spicy sauces to choose from. One of the sauces has more soy bean paste in it but it a local recipe. It is very spicy. They also have the normal chili and vinegar style spicy sauce and chili powder. I have to go to this noodle shop whenever we are in Petchaburi.
This is the dessert cart that is a few houses down from the noodle shop. It is another place that I have to visit if I’m in Petchaburi. It has a unique twist off of the normal shaved ice and toppings dessert places because they serve everything in a glass (you can as for a bowl if you wish).
If you’ve never had this type of Thai dessert before, all you have to do is choose what type of ingredients you’d like to have and they’ll put your toppings in a glass with syrup and shaved ice. Some of the common ingredients that you’ll see are bread, red beans, palm seeds, jackfruit, sticky rice, corn, taro and green tapioca noodles (pictured in the glass below). Some of the desserts also come with a bit of coconut milk for a creamier taste. In Petchaburi, they use a syrup made from coconuts and it is called “nam taan ma praow.” Other regions will made the syrup out of different materials like palms and it has a different taste. It’d recommend the sticky rice with syrup or bread with red syrup, also known as “nam dang.” Be aware though that this dessert is naturally sweet since it is loaded with syrup.
After all that food, you might feel a little guilty about all the calories you’ve consumed. Not to worry because about 100 meters up the road is a large moutain that you can climb once you feel up to it. The 92 meter high hill will give you the workout you need and a chance to stretch your legs before heading back to Bangkok or on to your next destination. Khao Wang, Phra Nakhom Kriri Historical Park, offers a beautiful view of the Gulf of Thailand once you reach the summit. There you’ll find the white palatial estate of King Rama the IV (King Mongkut) and Wat Maha Samanaram. Khao Wang was his summer retreat from Bangkok that was built in 1860 and many of his successors follow his lead in building other palaces in Petchauri and surrounding provinces. The palace is built with a strong European influenced style with some Thai and Chinese character mixed in.
While walking up the hill, be wary of the monkeys as they are looking for food and are known to bite people if you tease them or if they feel threatened. Old women might try to sell you some fruit to give to the monkeys for 5 baht, but please refrain from doing so. There is a museum which contains the more precious royal artifacts, such as bronze sculptures and European, Chinese and Japanese ceramics. Many of them are gifts to the King from foreign countries and are part of the royal collection. The park opens daily between 8:30 and 16:30 with a 40 baht admission. You can walk to the palaces on top of the hill peaks or get there by cable car for 30 baht.
How to get there: The park is 36 kilometres north of Cha-am and a few kilometers west of Petchaburi. Songtaews are available from both places and cost in the region of 30 Baht.