Hua Hin is unlike any other beach resort in Thailand. If you're looking for bright lights and the frantic all-night action of cabarets and discos, you may be disappointed here. However, if you enjoy walks through the quiet winding streets of a friendly coastal village, sampling delicious seafood in restaurants overlooking the brightly lit fishing boats on the Gulf of Thailand or a round of golf on one of the several international standard links, Hua Hin could very well be what you're looking for; Hua Hin has a special character all its own.
Hua Hin became popular as a rainy season retreat in the 1920's with the construction of the railway line from Bangkok. The beautiful, colonial style Railway Hotel was built near Hua Hin's famous rocks in 1923 by the State Railway Authority, which also built Thailand's first public golf course in Hua Hin in 1924. In 1926, King Rama VII built the Klai Kangwon (Far From Worries) Palace on the beach a few km north of the Railway Hotel and this palace is still frequently used by the Royal Family. This set the stage for Hua Hin's popularity and unique ambiance which remains to this day.
Hua Hin is 200 km south of Bangkok on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Travel by automobile takes less than three hours. The highway from Bangkok to Hua Hin is good and well maintained. If you are not familiar or it is your first trip to Hua Hin from Bangkok, need not worry. A good map will take you there as the road signs are reasonably good.
The resort may also be reached by rail, coach, or daily flights from Bangkok.
There are several trains daily from Bangkok which stop in Hua Hin on their way south. Most leave Bangkok in the early to late afternoon and arrive in Hua Hin about fours later. A 2nd class seat on an air-conditioned Express train is less than and may be purchased up to 90 days in advance at main railway stations. Tel: Hua Hin Station Office, Damnoenkasem Rd. (032) 511-073. Bus
Air-conditioned buses leave the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok every 30 minutes between 0500 and 2200 for Hua Hin. The journey takes about 3 hours and costs less than . The air-conditioned bus terminal in Hua Hin is at the Siripetchkasem Hotel on Srasong Rd, near Dechanuchit Rd, and buses leave for Bangkok every 30-40 minutes daily between 0300 and 2100. Tel: (032) 511-654, 512-543.
There are also nightly air buses to other cities in southern Thailand. Most depart Hua Hin around 2200 and fares range from to Phuket or Koh Samui to to Hat Yai.
There are also non air-conditioned buses which travel between the market on Srasong Road in Hua Hin and the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok around the clock. These cost about and take 4 hours.
Some Bangkok taxis will travel to Hua Hin for -60. The trip takes about 2.5 hours and allows you to see a bit of the countryside if your time in the Kingdom is limited. These taxis are best arranged at the Don Muang airport or by your hotel in Bangkok.
There are close to 100 hotels and guesthouses in and around Hua Hin with over 3,000 rooms with more opening all the time. The hotel rates range from US to US 3stars to 4stars.
While the smaller guesthouses have spartan rooms for a few dollars a night, high-rollers can be pampered to their heart's delight for a bit more at one of the several 5-star luxury resorts.
Dinning & Entertainment
The active fishing port guarantees fresh seafood and Hua Hin has it all, including dishes not found in other parts of Thailand. There are many styles of restaurant, from a row of large, brightly lit establishments with extensive menus along the beach near the pier, to small stalls at the lively night market specializing in only a tasty dish or two.
While Thai and Chinese seafood reign here, there are also many restaurants offering everything from pizza and pasta to tandoori chicken and meat pies and other popular international dishes.
Also be sure to sample the wide variety of fruits and kanoms (Thai sweets) available in restaurants, shops and stalls along the road. Though there is a 5-star international spa in Hua Hin, I'm sure no one loses weight during their stay here.
Things to do in Town
Hua Hin is small enough that one can wander for hours without the need of motor transportation. Most hotels are no more than few minutes walk to the beach, the market or a friendly restaurant.
There are many shops selling local handicrafts, silver, silk, tailors to fit you for that custom suit, and dozens of photo opportunities.
Bicycles, motorcycles and small jeeps can be rented from shops around the Hua Hin Bazaar, near the Sofitel entrance. Unless you have extensive experience dodging kids, bicycles, scooters and the occasional cow, be very careful when driving yourself.
The white sand goes for miles from the Sofitel at the end of Damnoenkasem Rd. At the main beach there are umbrellas for lounging and vendors will satisfy your needs for drinks and snacks, and even pony rides, jet skis and a Thai traditional massage.
Many beach front hotels have concessions for wind surfing and sailing needs and power boats can be hired. Walks down the beach will take you to temples and fishing villages.
The first golf course in Thailand was built in Hua Hin in 1924 and there are now 8 courses within 30km of the town and more are under construction.
These courses are world class and green fees and caddy charges are very reasonable. Electric carts are available at several though a walk in the beautiful climate of Hua Hin is a pleasure in itself.
Whether a pro on a break or a family on a holiday, golfers will enjoy the professional facilities here.
Though the beaches and swimming pools are always beckoning, the Hua Hin area also has shopping, temples, waterfalls, caves, quaint neighborhoods and historical sites that will create memories for all members of the family. A leisurely drive though the countryside, where one can see rice paddies and pineapple plantations, children playing in the canals, and the beautiful scenery of Prachuapkirikhan and Petchburi provinces is also a must.
Kaeng Krachan National Park extends along the Burmese border from Petchburi Province north of Hua Hin.
To the south, Thailand's first marine national park, Khao Sam Roi Yot, is only about 35 km away.
A bit further away, in Kanchanaburi Province, there are five more national parks, Erawan, Sai Yoke, Sri Nakarin, Khao Laem, and Chalerm Rattanakosin.