Hua Hin Travel Guide, Tours & Tips

Golfing, Sailing & Kiteboarding



Overview

The Royal Paradise & Seaside Fishing Village

Located approximately 200 kilometers from the bustling streets of Bangkok lies Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s lesser known seaside gems, also known as “The Royal Paradise”. Beginning its life as a quaint fishing village, Hua Hin garnered its royal reputation in the 1920s when Thailand’s first constitutional monarch, King Rama VII, oversaw the construction of a new palace in the village. Following construction of the palace, Hua Hin quickly established itself as one of the King’s favorite holiday destinations in the Kingdom. Unlike the larger beach destinations around Thailand, the seaside town has managed to maintain its domestic appeal with many local Thais owning holiday homes here. For visiting tourists, this provides a more accurate picture of the local way of life and a more laid-back atmosphere, ideal for families, couples, and long-staying expats and tourists. 

Hua Hin's fishing village past is still very much a part of the present day life in this quiet sea side community


Favored by Thai Locals

A traditional fishing port, Hua Hin is notable for its fine seafood restaurants, quality golf courses and white sandy beaches from which visitors can take part in a multitude of water sports. Guests keen to discover a little more Thai culture often pay a visit to the grounds of the Royal Palace, which still serves as an official residence for the Royal Family. Hua Hin is also a good base for visitors who want to explore nearby natural attractions, including Sam Roi Yot National Park. Still maintaining a low-key and regal vibe, Hua Hin has recently seen an addition of a host of new resorts, shopping markets, and other leisure facilities. Today, Hua Hin is considered one of Thailand’s most relaxed and low-key resort areas. Already a firm resort favorite with locals, the seaside town is now slowly being discovered by holiday travelers from around the world.

Bird's eye view of Hua Hin


The Hua Hin Train Station

After forging a reputation as one of Thailand’s top tourist spots in the 1920s following the launch of the Thai-Malaysia train line, Hua Hin has managed to cling onto its roots as a fishing village. Hua Hin Railway Station was built just a few hundred meters from what was then an undeveloped stretch of idyllic Thai shoreline, and the newly constructed Railway Hotel was the perfect place for travelers to break their long journey south. The historic railway station – originally used as a royal pavilion in Nakhon Pathom province – was moved to its current spot in 1968 and remains a popular stop for tourists visiting the town due to the timeless charm of its gingerbread style architecture. 

Picture perfect Hua Hin train station sets the tone for your arrival

The Royal Summer Palace

Perhaps the premier cultural attraction in Hua Hin is King Rama VII’s Klai Kangwon Day Palace, which translates to a palace that is literally “far from worries”. The palace comprises three structures that were constructed in a Spanish architectural style that convey the palace’s initial purpose as a place of relaxation for the royal family. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the sprawling grounds of the sea estate from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. daily, providing the Royal Family are not in residence at the time.

The Royal Family Summer Palace in Hua Hin is still used by the royal family


Beaches

Beach

The pearl colored beach on which Hua Hin has built its reputation as a tourist resort stretches the entire length of the town. The Buddhist Temple positioned on the craggy headlands to the north mark one of the beach's boundaries, while the southern border is marked by Khao Takiab hill. The summit of the hill also offers panoramic views of the whole town.

Sunset on Hua Hin


Golf

Golf

As well as packing in all the typical activities one would expect to find in a beach resort town, Hua Hin is a nucleus of fascinating cultural and natural attractions.

Golf: Hua Hin has become a magnet for golfers in Thailand, with a selection of world class courses all within a 30-minute drive of the town. One of the most popular courses is the 18-hole Royal Hua Hin Golf Course. Black Mountain Golf Course, sculpted out of jungle and pineapple plantation incorporates natural creeks as water hazards and features an attached water park and wakeboard park.

Black Mountain Golf Course


Nature

Nature

The region surrounding Hua Hin town is sprinkled with a plethora of natural delights, including the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park which stretches across almost 100 sq km of land. Organized tours to the park, which is home to langurs, macaques and over 300 bird species, are available throughout the town. Other natural attractions in the area include the Tham Phraya Nakhon cave, one of the most famous cave's in the Kingdom. Tham Phraya Nakhon houses Phra Thinang Khuha Kharuehat, a brightly painted pavilion built by King Rama V in Bangkok that was moved to the cave. Visitors should be prepared to hike to the cave which is accessed by a steep and rocky path. Namtok Pa La-u waterfall, situated some 37 miles west of Hua Hin, is also one of the region's most popular natural attractions. The steeped torrent crashed down through an ancient forest in Kaeng Krachan National Park, and is home to a deep pool where visitors can stop to take a refreshing swim.

Phraya Nakhon cave and the Kuha Karuhas pavillon


Sport

Water Sports

Visitors who want to want to get the adrenaline pumping can take part in a number of water sports on the beach, including kite boarding, and jet skiing. For something a little calmer, visitors can indulge in a quiet swim in the area just beyond Khao Takiab hill. Alternatively, the island of Koh Singto which lies approximately half a mile off the coast of Hua Hin is a great place for a day trip to take part in some sailing or fishing.

Sailing and Paragliding


Markets

Handicrafts, Souvenirs & Creative

Alternatively, the Pae Market near the Royal Hua Hin Golf Club is a top destination for tourists that want to get the feel for a traditional Thai market. The Sam Phan Nam Floating Market is an excellent market for visitors that want to capture the bustling atmosphere by snapping a few photographs while they browse almost 200 shops, 40 of which are actually on boats, selling food, hanicrafts and souvenirs.

PlearnWan, billed as an “eco vintage village”, is a specially built open-air market located between Hua Hin Soi 38 and 40. Shops selling traditional Thai snacks, vintage toys, and other souvenir-y items are housed in nostalgic wooden buildings. The market is great to pick up unique gifts and handcrafted memorabilia, with many a curated backdrops making it a favorite with the Generation Facebook visitors.

Last, but by no means least, arty visitors may enjoy a trip to the Cicada Market which showcases a range of contemporary arts including décor accessories, clothes and innovative new product designs. Cicada Market is also home to a plethora of creative activities and workshops for visitors who want to experience Hua Hin’s creative side with a more hands on approach.

PlearnWan open air market with nostalgic village charm


Night Markets

Night Markets

Although Hua Hin is not home to any of the large, swanky shopping malls that can be found in Bangkok, shopaholics who come to the town prepared to barter with vendors at traditional Thai street markets will not be disappointed. A range of goods are on offer at both of Hua Hin's night markets, from clothes to antiques. The markets are also a great place to pick up traditional handicrafts, silk, embroidery, pottery and wood carvings for souvenirs to take home to friends and relatives.

The town is home to two night markets, with the more well-known and tourist oriented market positioned right in the centre of the town next to Dechanuchit Road. This market is a great place to stop for a bite to eat. If you would prefer to join the locals at their market of choice, head down to the Grand Market in the car park between the Grand Hotel and the Sao Paulo Hospital and make the most of the more diverse range of goods on offer. If it is Thai handicrafts you are after the Hua Hin Bazaar, located approximately 100m west of the beach, is your best bet for picking up some traditional Thai products, including the vibrantly colored pa pim kommophat, or printed cotton, that is sold by the meters or but also in the form of clothes, pillows and toys.

Restaurants

Given its prime position on Thailand's coast, there is no doubt that Hua Hin could offer visitors anything but a real culinary treat. Hua Hin is famed for its abundance of fresh seafood, which can be found in plentiful supply at the town's night markets, restaurants and hotels. Eateries in the vicinity of the beach and on Khao Takiap tend to offer more touristy dishes, while local delights can be uncovered on the Phetkasem Road on the way to Khao Takiap. The Beach Café Restaurant on Soi 75/1 is a great place to chow down on a variety of mouth-watering grilled and seafood dishes. The Naresdamri Road area is home to a selection of restaurants that boast spectacular views of the ocean, making the area an ideal romantic spot. For something a little more laid back, the Palm Bistro and Wine Bar boasts a chef from the Savoy Hotel. The menu changes daily, and offers a selection of Thai and Western dishes accompanied by spectacular views of the surrounding hills. For visitors keen to get off the beaten track, a ten-minute drive to nearby Ao Takiap will guarantee a sumptuous feast for a smaller price than some of the seafood joints in the centre of the town. 

Famous Thai Tiger Prawns are plentiful in Hua Hin

Nightlife

While the pace of Hua Hin's nightlife scene may be considerably more relaxed than that of Bangkok, the town still has an array of options for visitors. The slower pace of life is a reflection of respect for the nearby Royal Palace, but for visitors that are in the mood for more of a party, Soi Bintabaht and Soi Selakam are home to bars, live music venues and karaoke bars that attract many foreigners. For a laid back evening of pool and sports in classic pub surroundings, punters should make their way to Admirals Pub. For something a little more classy, many of the town's chic cocktail bars are peppered along the Naresdamri Road. Travel tip: With the abundance of spices and herbs, seafood in Thailand can be prepared in a variety of flavors. Here are some of the more popular ways to prepare seafood.


Getting Around

Around Hua Hin

Songthaew's, converted pickup trucks with bench seating in the covered back, are one of the most popular ways to get around the town, particularly for the locals. In Hua Hin, they operate on the same routes all day with fares costing as low as THB20 (~US$0.64), depending on how far you are traveling. A white songthaew leaves Hua Hin train station and travels along the main road in the direction of the Huaymongkol Temple, before continuing to the floating market and then back to the town. Visitors that want to travel outside of town should expect to pay a higher fare, so it is often useful to know your Thai numbers to arrange a price with the driver.

Like many other tourist destinations around Thailand, many people choose to get around by motorbike taxis and tuk-tuks. It is normal to negotiate a fare before the journey to minimise the risk of a price hike once you arrive at your destination.

Motorcycle rentals are readily available, although visitors in the mood for a little exercise can even opt to rent a bicycle, as the relatively flat terrain of Hua Hin does not offer too much of a physical challenge.

You have to watch out for your keys and other things, these monkey's will take anything


Getting In and Out

Taxi & Train

By Taxi

Due to its relatively close proximity to Bangkok, some visitors opt to take a taxi from the capital, a journey of about three hours. Price negotiations with the driver should be done prior to the journey, and expect to pay somewhere in the region of THB2,000 (~US$64) from the capital.

In Hua Hin, taxis back to Bangkok can be arranged through one of the travel agents that pepper the town, many of which are located outside the post office and along Naresdamri Road.

By Rail

The train is a more economical means of transportation to Hua Hin, and with the train station located at the centre of the town is extremely convenient. The cost of a train ticket from Bangkok to Hua Hin ranges from THB 50 - 100 (US$1.60-3.20),

Visitors that do choose to travel to Hua Hin via rail can begin their journey at Bangkok's Hua Lamphong train station or Bang Sue station, which are both easy to get to as they connect to the city's Mass Rapid Transport system. The train to Hua Hin runs more than 10 times daily, with the last one leaving the capital at 10:50 p.m.

Hua Hin Train Station is centrally located

By Bus and Mini Van

By Bus

If you are travelling straight to Hua Hin from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport there is a direct VIP coach service between the two towns which costs travellers THB305 (~US$9.75) per ticket. The coaches leave the airport six times per day, with the first leaving 7:30 a.m., and the last one at 7:30 p.m.

Alternatively, visitors travelling from the centre of Bangkok can take the bus from the Sai Tai Mai Bus Terminal, where buses for Hua Hin leave around every 20 minutes, with a journey duration of three and a half hours. The price of this bus is approximately THB175 (US$5.60) per ticket, and the buses run between the hours of 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. It is worth noting that Hua Hin's main bus station is situated 3km from the centre of the town on Petkasem Road, and a tuk-tuk from there to the centre of the town usually costs around THB180 (US$5.75).

By Minivan

Minivans, or minibuses, as they're sometimes called, are nippier than traditional buses, but are slightly more cramped. From Bangkok, passengers hop on at the Victory Monument (look for a sign that says "Cha-am, Hua Hin" and are dropped off in Hua Hin town center three hours later, sometimes less. The fare is approximately THB200 (~US$6.40) for a one-way journey.

Hua Hin Mini Van Station