March 3, 2024

People of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Thailand

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According to the latest official census statistics published by the Department of Provincial Administration, in 2021, Prachuap Khiri Khan’s registered population was 553,171, including 274,049 males and 279,122 females. This figure gives the province a ranking of 45 out of 77 provinces (not including Bangkok, which is technically not a province).

The official population density thus can be calculated to be about 87 persons per meter squared, or 225 persons per sq. mile

These figures, however, do not account for the people who reside in the province semi-permanently who might otherwise be considered residents but are not registered in a house registry, whether illegal foreign migrant workers, Thai workers from other provinces, long-term “tourists”, expats and retirees who reside in hotels or leased accommodations.

According to the Foreign Worker’s Administration Office, as of July 2022 there were a total 22,368 legal migrant workers registered as working and living in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

The actual population of therefore could be guesstimated to be anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 persons or more higher than the official figure. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 expats reside in Hua Hin (the more conservative estimates put this figure at about 4,000), and there are at least several hundred expats living in the Mueang district.

While some of these expats are accounted for in the official registry (specifically those who own a condo or house in their name, or are included in a registry of extended family for visa purposes), many are not. Likewise, there are potentially thousands of Thai residents who work in Hua Hin and Mueang districts, but are registered in different provinces, and many more thousands of migrant workers from Myanmar who are not counted in any house registries.

Demographics, culture and identity

The people of Prachuap Khiri Khan have adopted cultural norms, customs and genetics from a diverse gene pool of ancestors – the Siamese-Thais, Lao (Isan), Chinese and Southern Thai (Malay) have been the primary contributors in recent history, though South Asians (Nepal, Myanmar, India) other East Asians and Westerners have all contributed to the Prachuap gene and pop culture pool albeit marginally.

In terms of climate and Thai regional identity, the southernmost parts of the province share many facets with Thailand’s Southern region; in the north of the province, accents can be described as a flat “Ner” เหน่อ (similar to accents in Phetchaburi and Suphanburi), but the further south you go, the local dialect starts to take on a more “Thai southern twang”. Indeed, depending on one’s perspective, Prachuap Khiri Khan is neither central Thai, nor is it Southern, but it can be both. It’s in that sweet spot of both worlds, and its people are proud of their uniqueness. 

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