Hua Hin has seen rapid growth in recent years, but still able to maintain a lot its traditional charm and character. A visit to Hua Hin on the Thailand family tour makes it possible to enjoy the three mile stretch of white-sandy beaches with gentle surf that makes it possible to swim year-round. Other local attractions include the family-friendly resorts, golf courses, scenic hills, early 20th century architecture, thriving art scene and plenty of tourist sites.
The most appealing attraction for the traveller is the sun, sea and sand, which is perfectly complemented with a choice of fresh seafood that is readily available at the nearby restaurants. Plus, the restaurants go well beyond the local dishes with most serving international cuisine from across the world.
Beyond the beautiful beaches, sunshine and abundant restaurants, a visit to Hua Hin makes it possible to experience a variety of attractions that are further inland. There are plenty of beautiful countryside, spas, fishing villages, temples and markets that are well worth exploring.
The central part of Hua Hin is the most developed and liveliest and filled with guesthouses, hotels and restaurants, as well as beach activities, water sports, markets, spas, shops and bars. But for the travellers on the Thailand tour holiday packages that prefer the peace and quiet, the suburbs are the best place to stay which have a few restaurants and bars, but at a sufficient distance from the noise of the town centre.
Khao Takiab is approx 7 km from the centre of town and is establishing itself as a great holiday destination. It is a lot quieter than Hua Hin, but still has a high-quality selection of shops, bars, restaurants and beaches. Slightly further out is Cha-Am which is a trek of nearly 20 km from Hua Hin and has a nice selection of guesthouses and places to eat. A stay at Cha-Am is perfect for those travellers that wish to completely relax on the beach and enjoy the peace and quiet.
The temperature in Hua Hin is generally high and humid year-round to make it acceptable to travel on the Thailand private tours at any time of the year. The dry and cool period runs from January and December which is the most practical time to travel to this charming town. The rainy season runs from June to October. The wettest month of the year tends to be September which should be avoided by those that don’t like to tour the sights in the wet conditions.
How to get there
One of the most convenient transport methods includes the bus which runs a regular service from Bangkok’s Sai Tai Mai terminal. Buses depart 3-4 times per hour with a journey time in the region of 3.5 hours. The cost for a seat on a first class bus costs about $5.
Most of the trains on the Bangkok line that head south will stop at the Hua Hin Railway Station. This provides a regular service to town with a journey time of 4-6 hours, which is several hours longer than travelling by car. But, the cost of travelling by train is a lot cheaper with tickets in the region of $1-$3 (depends on the class of the seat).
Alternative options include flight with a daily service between Hua Hin Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok). This is the quickest travel route with the journey taking about 60 minutes, but is more expensive at about $85 for one-way flying in a Cessna 208 aircraft.
Hua Hin is relatively compact in size, especially in the central area, which makes it easy to travel on foot. But, there is always a lot of traffic on Phetkasem Road, which might make it more preferable to get around on a hired bicycle. A decent quality mountain bike is possible to hire from most of the guesthouses and hotels and costs in the region of $6 per day.
Other transport options include the motorbikes that are available for about $8.50 per day – although discounts are possible for the longer hire periods.
For travellers on the Indochina tour packages that preferred to use the local transport, there is the four-wheeled tuk-tuk and songthaews that are easily flagged down on the street. A short trip on the songthaew is in the region of $0.50, while the tuk-tuk is slightly more at $3 for a similar length journey. Also, there are a few of the pedal-powered samlors in town with most located near to the train station.
Where to stay
The central region of Hua Hin is certain to appeal to the traveller’s interested in low-cost accommodation. This area away from the beach has plenty of budget and mid-range guesthouses and hotels within a short distance of the market.
Other places to stay include Soi 67 and its surroundings which is about 15 minutes from the train station and the night market. The cost to stay in the basic guest-house is in the region of $16-$32 (depends on size of rooms and amenities). There are also several upscale resorts in the local area for those interested in the most comfortable experience.
A low-cost stop for the backpacker is the Les Bobo's Backpacker Hostel which costs in the region of $12.50 per night. Most of the rooms are basic with fans to help stay cool, as well as hardwood floors, paintings, and firm beds. The hotel offers shared bathrooms with hot water. It is well located and only about a 12 minute walk to the beach and within 5 minutes of the bus and train station.
The Chalelarn Hotel is well located in the main tourist area and costs about $42.50-$112.50 per night, which is quite reasonable for the mid-range hotels. Most of the interior decor has a traditional Thai theme that includes plenty of deep-crimson fabrics, glittering elephants, old-style Thai carvings, colourful silk and woven bamboo. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with a nice open bathroom. Standard features in the rooms include LCD TVs, minibars and safes. Plus, the hotel has an attached restaurant that serves decent quality food, as well as computer access in the lobby and a bar area.
Eat and drink
Similar to most areas of Thailand, the dining options in Hua Hin are quite wide-ranging. But, the best quality cuisine is often found on the main road near the fishing pier and by the major markets. A staple on the menu is seafood, which is served on the street stalls and sit-down restaurants. Plus, there are plenty of international restaurants for the tourist that wants a little taste of home.
The best restaurants can be found in central Hua Hin which varies from the local Thai specialties to western, Indian, Japanese and seafood outlets. Plus, many of the restaurants are also trendy bars that have live music in the evenings. In Cha-Am the choices aren’t as extensive, but there are still several great choices, including the seafood restaurants. Pranburi restaurants are also great for local Thai food and seafood.
Hua Hin isn’t the best choice for shopping, but still has a useful selection of craft shops, independent boutiques, shopping malls and markets to get the essentials and gifts for family or friends. Popular items to find include beach wear and other clothes, jewelery, handbags. For the more authentic shopping experience, the local markets are a great place to visit with bartering still accepted and considered as the norm.
Things to see and do
Hua Hin has a fine selection of attractions – although it is not as impressive as certain other towns and cities on the Thailand tours holidays. This is mainly because this part of the country is mainly a beach resort. But there are still plenty of beautiful scenery and historic temples to admire.
Beyond the pristine beaches, a great reason to visit Hua Hin is for the natural beauty that is evident everywhere around the town with its national parks, mountains, swamps and waterfalls.
The main beach in Hua Hin stretches for nearly 3 miles until it starts to reach Khao Takiab. The large size of the beach means it is rarely overcrowded and the pristine white sand is very inviting for the Thailand honeymoon vacation. The beaches are the major reason for travelling to this part of Thailand and range from those that are virtually deserted to those highly developed. In the local area of the beaches, there are hotels and bars, restaurants, food stalls, water sport outlets, umbrellas and sun loungers. Plus, in certain areas along the beach there is the option to hire a horse for a slow and relaxed ride.
Khao Wang Museum
The Khao Wang Museum is situated on the top of a hill in Phetchaburi town that gives clear and impressive views of the town. A visit to this museum makes it possible to learn more about the 19th century Thai royal family with its large collection of displays and information.
Khao Chong Krachok
A day-trip to the Khao Chong Krachok makes it possible to explore a fascinating monastery that is based at the top of a hill that gives perfect views of the local area. The monastery is a popular site with an ancient pagoda nearby, while also being a home for monkeys.