Few tourists to Thailand include Hua Hin on their agenda which is a shame. At the risk of spoiling the town with a sudden over run of tourists, this beautiful relaxing town 200 km (120 miles) south of Bangkok is well worth at least a couple of days.
Far from the “excitement” of Phuek nightlife and Bangkok, Hua Hin has been enjoyed by generations of Thais for weekends and vacations. Originally known as Samore Riang or “rows of rocks”, it was adopted by the Royal Family as their seaside resort in the 1920s. Today, it is very popular amongst Thais who come down from the capital for weekends and vacations. After Chiang Mai, it is my second favourite town in Thailand.
The beach on one side and interesting mountains on the other- what more could one want? Some chaotic developments detract from the place and I get frustrated that so much of the coastline is locked away in private developments and resorts making it impossible to walk along the coast for any great distance. We ended up wading in shallowish water for about two kilometres enjoying the warmth of the water, the gentle breeze, the sun and the view.
Hua Hin beach is about five kilometres long and 50 to 100 metres wide when the tide is out. The rocky outcrop in the picture background is Kao Takiap (‘Chopstick Hill’) which marks the end of the beach and has a lovely Buddha statue on it plus an interesting monastery and 100s of little monkeys.
Just over 86,000 people call Hua Hin home, with an estimated 4,000 being foreigners.
Like other parts of Thailand, one has to contend with reports of corruption!
Temperatures sit above 30 degrees for ten months of the year. Hua Hin has a tropical savanna climate with the dry season running from December to April. Monsoon occupies May. Rain is less server from June to August with heavy rains from September to November. Humidity sits just over 70%.
The cost of living figures are here. You can pick up a good four star hotel room for aprund $US40 to $50 per night. You can get a two star room for $8 a night! Street food meals will cost you around $2 a meal- eating well. A local restaurant can cost you around $8 for a meal. You will pay more at Western style restaurants.
Hua Hin has a great food culture with some very famous long term Thai eating places plus a good range of international places. Street food stalls proliferate. Local seafoods are plentiful. We tried the Deep-fried Oyster Pancake (yum), Som Tam Pu Ma (Spicy Crab and Papaya Salad), Steamed Seafood Custard (Haw Mok Talay) plus the amazing custardy Khao Lham (Sticky Rice cooked inside Bamboo).
In November/December, there is the week long Hua Hin Food Festival! The region hostsa cricket festival, sailing regatta and kite festival through the year.
I was disappointed with the night markets near the station. Range seemed really lacklustre and not frequented by many locals. Check out the amazing Cicada Markets, however. Some of the best stuff I have seen at any market in Thailand. They were started as a means of getting young artists and artisans wares known and the concept seems to work.
Crime in Hua Hin is reportedly lower than other beachside cities such as Pattaya and Phuket. Robberies occur as do pickpocketing and bag snatching. Be vigilant and careful.
Getting to Hua Hin is possible by train, bus and car. There is an airport with no commercial flights. There are no ferries. We took a bus directly from Bangkok’s main international airport which was easy. We rode the train back for a couple of dollars into the main station of Bangkok. I would like to take the overnight train for the 971km (603mile) journey to Georgetown, Malaysia and then the ferry across to Penang.
In Hun Hin, there are converted pick up trucks that have bench seats in them which ply up and down the main roads of Hua Hin. Called songthaews, they will take passengers for 25 to 50 cents, to almost anywhere in Hua Hin.
Tuk Tuks (3 wheeled cabs), moto bikes and sedan taxis are available pretty readily. Expect to pay around $2 to $3 to get anywhere in Hua Hin by cab. Fares seemed a little higher than Bangkok taxi fares. Uber is not yet available.
Hua Hin is a very relaxed and chilled place to be. I found the locals friendly and helpful.
I rank Hua Hin as my 62nd favourite that city I have visited out of almost 200. To compare how i rate other Thai cities:
- Chiang Mai 30th place with 83%
- Bangkok 97th with 72%
- Pattaya 119th with 68%
- Phuket 127th with 66%.
- Hua Hin Beach –
- Kao Takiap – a headland with a Buddhist temple and views across the beach back to town
- Hua Hin Railway Station – Thailand’s most beautiful train station.
- Cicada Market
- Street food