Cruelly, one of the best lookout spots in Thailand is also one of the most exclusive experiences in the country.
An incredible hike takes visitors to the top of Khao Lom Muak, a 300m-tall hill by the seaside that offers magnificent views of the seaside town of Prachuap Khiri Khan and the nearby beaches, about 290km south of Bangkok.
But as the hill is stationed in a Thai air force base, it’s not usually open to the public – except for a few very small opportunities each year.
The Prachuap Air Base allows public access to Khao Lom Muak on public holidays and during tourism fairs. It’s open right now, for a week’s stint that ends on Sunday, to coincide with an annual local tourism event.
But there are other strict provisions that come with enjoying this incredible vista.
Tourists are only allowed to climb in the morning, before it gets too hot, with climbing times available between 6am and 10.30am.
Climbers have to register and have their blood pressure taken.
And once they’re given the all-clear to climb, they’re not in for an easy trek.
According to the Bangkok Post, the journey begins with a climb up a 496-step stairway, and the two-hour trek only gets steeper from there.
At the end of the journey, climbers have to scale a limestone cliff.
But the rewards are great. There are plenty of lookouts along the way, and the legendary view from the top of Khao Lom Muak takes in the Gulf of Thailand and the many bays and islets that characterise the coast.
But you’ll have to start heading back down at noon, according to the rule book.
The quiet, charming city of Prachuap Khiri Khan can also be seen from this height.
The next opportunity to climb Khao Lom Muak will be on Songkran, the holiday of the Thai New Year, which is on April 13 to 15.