Blessed with an archipelago of 1,430 islands, Thailand emerged to be one of the most breathtaking tourist destinations in the world. From spectacular beaches, striking sceneries, delectable cuisine, awe-inspiring temples, vibrant town to rich culture and history, The Land of Smiles undoubtedly brings sheer delight and provides a unique experience to its nearly 40 million annual visitors.
Though renowned for its rural gems, what’s remarkable is that you don’t need to go too far from its equally stunning capital to witness that country’s outstanding beauty. Hua Hin, one of its long-kept secrets, is just a few hours away from Bangkok. Uniquely diverse on its own, this resort town is set to bring you to once-in-a-lifetime adventures.
In this post, let’s know more about Hua Hin and its distinct offerings, from parks to night markets, landmarks, natural landscapes, and other attractions. Add this splendid location to your travel wish list, and it will never disappoint.
History of Hua Hin
Widely regarded as Thailand’s original beach destination, Hua Hin predates more renowned but only recently discovered beach locations in the country, like Phuket and Samui, having established itself as a popular resort getaway decades before its counterparts.
It all traces back to the early 1900s when the state railway was built through the then-serene fishing village of Hua Hin. In the 1920s, King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) found the place as an ideal summer getaway. It quickly transformed into a Royal resort town and was frequented by the country’s aristocrats and nobility.
The Kingdom’s first resort hotel, now Sofitel Centara Grand, was built in 1923. It still possesses its old charm and ambiance, making it one of Thailand’s most cherished heritage hotels.
King Rama VII adored the place so much, which is why he asked to build the Wang Klai Kangwon (“Far From Worries Palace”) in Hua Hin in 1926. Completed six years later, the structure still remains an official residence of the Thai royal family today.
It wasn’t long enough when Hua Hin’s glamor reached the public, and its unceasing development began, making it a well-loved beach destination in the country.
Today, globalization can be felt in some ways, as seen on the high-rise hotels and condominiums fringing the coastlines, massive billboards, and other infrastructures. Many foreigners also now call Hua Hin home, which, apart from its beauty, has a lower cost of living than Bangkok. Golf courses, pubs, bars, and discos also now dot Hua Hin, proving it’s no longer the once-sleepy village.
Despite such, its other pleasures stay tranquil and close to how its visitors from its earliest past experienced it. Combining it with the charming town, it’s no wonder that Hua Hin has continued to be a favorite decades after its discovery.
Best Ways to Reach Hua Hin
There’s a multitude of ways to reach Hua Hin. Each of which has its perks, but all of which will bring you to the idyllic destination. It just all boils down to your preference.
You can take 24-seat coaches directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International Airport) that will take you to Hua Hin. These modern vehicles are equipped with a strong air conditioning system and toilet. Plus, water is given to passengers free of charge. Trips start at 9:00 AM at 1 hour and 30 minutes intervals. Total travel time is about 3-4 hours, depending on traffic situations.
Alternatively, you may go to Sai Tai Mai (Southern Bus Terminal), situated at Chao Phraya River’s Thonburi side. Bus departs starting at 4:00 AM. However, expect that travel time can reach from 5-6 hours. The Southern Bus Terminal has a shopping center brimmed with restaurants, banks, ATMs, shops, and a food court – just in case you want to stroll around.
If you’re not concerned about expenses and can shed some extra money for convenience and comfort, you can take a taxi directly to Hua Hin. Taxis in the airport may demand a higher fee, usually at 3,000 Baht. If you’re in the city center, you may haggle for the price and save up to a third of the cost. There are also private taxis and car companies only but be ready to pay up to 3,500 Baht for those options. Travel time is 3 hours.
On a budget? Don’t fret as minivans are available at Khao San Road, Ekkamai, and Mo Chit New Van Terminal to get you to Hua Hin. These vans have a capacity of 10 to 12 people, and the fee is about 180 Baht. Just be mindful that space can be limited, which means it won’t work if you’re traveling with huge luggage. It may not also be as comfortable as you can be squashed for the whole three to four-hour trip.
Perhaps, the most unique way to travel to Hua Hin from Bangkok is by riding the train from Hualamphong station. Though relatively slower than taxis and minivans, with the trip reaching 4 to 6 hours, it’s the best choice should you wish to enjoy scenic views. Train fare is also relatively cheaper and varies depending on your chosen class.
Best Time To Visit Hua Hin
November To January is generally deemed as the best time to take a trip to Hua Hin. That’s because the weather is cooler and more pleasant. You’ll have a higher chance of seeing dry, sunny days, making it more enjoyable to roam around Hua Hin. December to January are the peak months. Expect tourists to flock, so it’s advisable to book your hotels and tickets in advance to veer away from higher prices.
March to April is the hottest and humid period of the year. Only visit Hua Hin if you can handle hotter temperatures. Months afterward fall under Thailand’s rainy season. While the temperature is more manageable, rain is frequent, which means it can ruin your plans to enjoy the outdoors and the attractions on your itinerary.
Is It Safe In Hua Hin?
Hua Hin is a generally safe place to visit and is relatively safer than other more renowned locations in Thailand. It’s highly unlikely you will fall as a victim of crime in this place, but still, standard precautions are necessary.
Be cautious when crossing or traveling the roads as tourists often get hurt due to motorcycle accidents. Don’t wear expensive or flashy jewelry, as it may still attract the attention of characters with ill-intent that may be lurking around.
What’s certain is creepy crawlies, such as centipedes, spiders, scorpions, snakes, and insects, are abundant in Hua Hin. Though it’s very unlikely that you’ll encounter one, head to the nearest hospital in case you get bitten for your utmost safety. Lastly, be wary of who you mingle around. Don’t accept any invitations or drinks and food offerings you deem suspicious.
Hua Hin Highlights
With lots of attractions and things to see in Hua Hin, determining where to start can be a daunting task. Fret no more, though! Here are the highlights of this incredible destination to ensure that you’ll have a fun and astonishing adventure.
Hua Hin Beach
While it may not boast the widest expanse and the whitest sands, Hua Hin Beach’s main draw is its laid-back and family-friendly appeal. Unlike other beach towns in Thailand renowned for their bustling nightlife scene, Hua Hin is a quieter, uncrowded alternative where you and your kids can rest, relax and take in views of the beautiful shore in utmost tranquility.
Once you’re done sun-worshipping, there are many activities to enjoy, such as swimming, kitesurfing, windsurfing, parasailing, and water-skiing. Don’t fret, as the beach stretches over four kilometers, meaning these pastimes won’t ruin this beach’s overall peace.
A weekend market with an open-air concept, Cicada Market is one of Hua Hin’s most top and most unique attractions, as it’s all about the arts. Here, you’ll find lots of handmade crafts, from sculptures to original paintings to decorative items. It won’t be a surprise if you end up purchasing a lot of cool stuff to take home.
The fun doesn’t end there, though. Cicada Market has three other sections, an art gallery, an area for live music performances and dance and pantomime shows, and a huge food court, making it an all-around destination for all sorts of travelers. So, never miss this lively place after the sun goes down. It’s open from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, perfect to cap your weekend night in Hua Hin.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
Spanning 98 square kilometers, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is a marine national park established in 1966. It has many attractions, ranging from dark caves, limestone cliffs, pristine shorelines, and teeming wildlife. Its main draws are the 1-km wooden boardwalk that traverses the largest freshwater marsh in the country and the Phraya Nakhon Cave that serves as the home of a striking royal pavilion. There’s also an observation tower, allowing you to see rare birds that thrive in the area.
Hua Hin Railway Station
Built during King Rama VI’s reign, the Hua Hin Railway Station serves as one of the most ancient and most iconic rail stations in Thailand. Explore its Royal Waiting Room, once utilized to welcome the Royal family as they visit Hua Hin. Appreciate the beauty of Thai-Victorian design, architecture, and concept, and get mesmerized by the entire station’s colorful entirety.
Given the value of the railway system to Hua Hin, the landmark is one of the town’s genuine sources of pride. You can see its replicas as you move around Hua Hin. It’s a major tourist destination and a famous spot for photo ops for both foreigners and locals.
Situated in the nearby town of Cha-Am, you’ll see Santorini Park. As its name implies, expect to be transported to Greece in this village. While you may not see the same striking ocean views, what’s there to look forward to are its picturesque white-washed buildings with vibrant blue roofs lining along the stone-paved alleys. Souvenir shops, cafes, and outdoor performance space is also found in the area. There’s also the carousel, a Ferris wheel, and other variety of rides, making it an ideal place for both kids and kids-at-heart.
Monsoon Valley Vineyard
Just 45 kilometers from Hua Hin lies the Monsoon Valley Vineyard, a vineyard nestled amidst a beautiful mountain valley that grows a variety of grapes, from Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Colombard, and many more. You can join a tour, which consists of wine-tasting, wine bottle painting, access to the vineyard, and a 3-course meal, for a unique, immersive experience.
If you want to immerse yourself in nature and Thai culture, head to Khao Takiab, a quaint village with its own trove of attractions. Here you’ll find the temples, such as the Wat Nowkan and Wat Huay Mongkol, which hold significant value to Thai history and tradition. For some adrenaline rush, climb the Khao Takiab Mountain and be rewarded with the sweeping views of the sea. Meanwhile, Takiab Bay is good for strolling and has several excellent restaurants where you can enjoy delicious seafood.
Black Mountain Water Park
For the whole family, nothing can be more fun than visiting an exciting water park. Your kids will undoubtedly enjoy their day at Black Mountain Water Park and its lazy river, wave pools, impressive water slides, and other amenities. Don’t worry, as there are beach chairs and shade scattered in the park, perfect if you want to simply have a relaxing bite or have a bite of your favorite Thai food.
Indeed, Hua Hin is one of Thailand’s underrated destinations. While other more popular sites overshadow it, it’s an equitably exciting place to visit in the Land of Smiles. So, be sure to update your Thailand bucket list and include Hua Hin in your itinerary – it will certainly be an unforgettable and incredible experience. Happy travels!