Hua Hin

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Hua Hin is a seaside resort city of about 50,000 residents (2012) in Thailand. 195 km from Bangkok, it is popular with Thais, having become quite fashionable as a weekend getaway spot for Bangkok residents, as well as with foreigners and as an expat retirement or holiday home location. Although developing rapidly, there is a commitment by the local and provincial authorities to avoid the kind of overheated blight that has affected other beach resorts in Thailand.

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Hotels

  • 5 star hotels 5 star hotel
  • 4 star hotels 4 star hotel
  • 3 star hotels 3 star hotel
  • 2 star hotels 2 star hotel
  • 1 star hotels 1 star hotel

Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Hua Hin

There is only one, long beach: Hua Hin Beach (ชายหาดหัวหิน Hat Hua Hin). This runs from the Hilton Hotel six kilometres south to a headland where a Buddhist temple clings to the rocks. Fine white sand, resort hotels and many water sports opportunities lend the resort its distinctive ambiance. At the south end of town, the hill of Khao Takiab interrupts the beach. On the other side is a lovely swimming beach with a view of Khao Takiab's south face. Just a little further on, Suan Son Beach is owned by the Thai army but is open to the public. Notable for the tropical sea pines lining the shore. A little south of the Marriott, watch for tiny sand crabs digging industriously, leaving odd patterns of tiny sand clods around their beach front property.

Parts of the beach closer to the town may have greenish water, in this case continue walking down the beach where the water appears cleaner. There is an ample supply of deck chairs along the beach, although many places charge around 100 baht for their hire. Deck chairs that are part of a beachside cafe may be free, on the assumption that you will buy food or drink.

  • Hua Hin Arts and Crafts Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปหัตถกรรมหัวหิน). daily 11:00–18:30. This is situated in an old typical house on Naepkhehat Road. It has a collection and exhibition of many contemporary works of Thai artists, as well as old furniture and many pictures about Hua Hin in the past. Free.
  • Hua Hin Railway Station (สถานีรถไฟหัวหิน). This is Thailand's most beautiful train station of which the local people are very proud. The wooden building used to be a royal pavilion in Sanamchan Palace, Nakhon Pathom Province. It was rebuilt in Hua Hin in 1968.
  • Khao Takiab (14 km south of Hua Hin). An imposing hill with Buddhist temples and a commanding view of the resort, particularly early in the morning. A local bus service runs from Hua Hin to Khao Takiap. Khao Takiab is one of the highest areas in Hua Hin. From the top, you will see Hua Hin and also nice beaches. This is another good place to wait for the sunset as well. Also, the food at Khao Takiab restaurants is very delicious too.
  • Klai Kangwon Palace (พระราชวังไกลกังวล),  +66 32 511115. Daily, 09:00-16:00. King Rama VII commanded the Klai Kangwon Palace to be built in 1929. This Spanish-style summer palace faces the sea and dominates an extensive ornamental garden. It is where the Thai royal family still customarily spend the hottest months of the year, which are usually Mar-Apr. The palace is open to the public when the royal family is not in residence. 20 baht.

Nature

  • Khao Hin Lek Fai (เขาหินเหล็กไฟ) (3 km west of Hua Hin district). Khao Hin Lek Fai, or Flint Mountain, is 162 m high and is accessible by a road. On the mountaintop, there is a public park and scenic spots from where the scenery of Hua Hin and its surrounding area can be seen.
  • Khao Tao (เขาเต่า) (Between km243 and km244, 13 km south of Hua Hin, there is a 1 km branch road on the left which leads to the spot with two beautiful beaches called Hat Sai Noi and Hat Sai Yai). Bungalows available.
  • Namtok Pa La-u (น้ำตกป่าละอู) (60 km west of Hua Hin),  +66 32 459293. An 11-tier scenic waterfall in a perennial forest in Kaeng Krachan National Park. Visitors can take a songthaew from Hua Hin to this waterfall. The best time to visit is from Nov-Apr. Camping in the park is permitted, and a tent can be rented at 250 baht per night. 200 baht.
  • Sam Roi Yot National Park (About 60 km from Hua Hin. The park can be reached by following the direction signs marking the remaining distances of 38 and 15 km at km256 and km286.5, respectively.). With an area of 98 km², it is renowned for its limestone mountains, mangrove swamps, beaches, and several species of local and migrating birds during the cool season. There are many ridges with the most popular being Khao Sam Roi Yot with 300 peaks.

Further afield

  • Dan Singkhon. In Khiong Wan sub-district, the Thai-Burmese border pass.
  • Khao Hin Thoen Stone Park (West of town. To get there travel along Hwy 4 to km331-332, then turn right and drive for another 8 km). There are nice narrow walks leading out to a wide rocky landscape on a mountain top with scenic views of the town.
  • Ko Singto (Lion Island). Named after its shape. It is a popular island for diving and snorkelling, and offers visitors the chance to explore the Hua Hin and Khao Takiab shorelines.
  • Wa Ko (At km335 on Hwy 412 south of town). This beach has been of historical importance since the reign of King Mongkut when he viewed a full-moon eclipse there. A long atmospheric sandy beach fringed by pine trees.

Hua Hin Pier

Wat Khao Takiab

Pone Kingpetch Statue

Hua Hin Railway Station

Royal Hua Hin Golf Course

Hua Hin Night Market

Cicada Market

Wat Huay Mongkol

Hua Hin Market Village

Plearnwan Market

Khao Hin Lek Fai View Point

Hua Hin Floating Market

Black Mountain Water Park

Black Mountain Golf Club

The Banyan Golf Club

The Majestic Creek Country Club

Pa La-U Waterfalls

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About Hua Hin

Climate

Hua Hin has a tropical climate with high humidity and occasional rain. It is typically pleasant however, and can be enjoyed year round. Generally, the best time of the year to visit Hua Hin is in the cool season from Nov-Feb, but for those who like it hot, then the hot season is from Mar-May (temperature gets up into the higher 30s). The rainy season (although it doesn't rain every day) is from Jun-Oct with Sep being the rainiest of all. For those who don't appreciate rain, be advised that the rain in Thailand usually comes in short sharp bursts. It doesn't usually drizzle for long periods of time.

Activities

Festivals

  • Hua Hin Jazz Festival (Jazz on the beach). The popular event attracts world-class jazz musicians from Thailand and all over the world. Annually, in June.
  • Hua Hin Vintage Car Rally. Hoteliers, the Vintage Car Club of Thailand, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand annually sponsor a parade of vintage and classic cars starting at the Sofitel Central in Bangkok and ending in at the Sofitel Central Hua Hin Resort. The cars, with drivers and passengers dressed in 1920s attire, make the 225 km promenade in Dec of each year. The festivities culminate with a 1920s party at the Sofitel, which appropriately is a Victorian-style structure built in the 1920s.
  • Thailand International Kite Festival. During Mar-May and features stunt kites, big kites, little kites, high-tech kites, traditional Thai kites and displays of international kites. Visitors also enjoy a variety of opportunities for shopping, sightseeing and simply having a good time.

Golf

Hua Hin and its surroundings are a golfer's paradise with at least seven courses within a 30 min drive. There are also two brand new golf courses under construction. Most courses offer transportation to and from the course.

Massage

Traditional Thai massage, characterized by its holistic approach to health is aimed at enhancing physical, emotional and spiritual states.

There are over 50 massage shops in Hua Hin. All good hotels in Hua Hin offer traditional Thai massage service. On Petchkasem Road next to the Golden Palace and the Royal Palace one can be massaged by good, professional blind masseuses. This is a royal sponsored project, although note that very little English is spoken.

Massage prices in the tourist area near the Hilton Hotel average about 300 baht per hour. Massage shops in the town proper are much cheaper for equivalent massage, as low as 180 baht per hour.

Spas

Spas in Hua Hin offer treatment suited to a range of budgets. Treatments includes both traditional remedies and modern techniques. Facilities at spas in Hua Hin may also include a Jacuzzi and steam bath.

Many spas in Hua Hin also offer traditional Thai healing treatments. There is also alternative treatment such as Reiki. Resorts offer many detox programs. The most popular treatments are chi organ massage, karsai genital detox massage, deeper skin detox, and herbal skin detox.

Other

  • Elephant camps and trekking can be found just west of town.
  • Fishing and eco-cruises can be done both at sea and inland.
  • Fitness and Martial Arts can be practiced either in gymnasiums around town or in the top hotels.
  • Karting can be enjoyed at the karting track near the airport. The 700 m circuit has a banked curve for speed, floodlighting, beer garden, and catering.
  • Kite-boarding is a popular in Hua Hin. There are several schools giving lessons and tuition with equipment for hire. Conditions are good from Jan-May as thermals blow in the afternoon at 14-20 knots. The water is shallow, can be choppy and has a beach break.
  • Pony Rides on Hua Hin beach
  • Walking and cycling are popular in Hua Hin thanks to the mild traffic.
  • Water sports in Hua Hin include swimming, banana boat rides, waterskiing, jet-skiing, sailing, windsurfing, para-sailing, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba-diving.

Food

There are plenty of eating options around Hua Hin. Those close to the beach and atop Khao Takiap are touristy, while some good local options can be found on Phetkasem Rd along the way to Khao Takiap. Hua Hin is famed for its delightful fresh seafood which can be found in abundance at the night market, restaurants, and hotel restaurants. Naresdamri Road is a fine place for great inexpensive restaurants while serving up romantic sea views. Some hotels offer buffets consisting of open cooking stations, including seafood BBQ, and also offer live entertainment like traditional Thai music and dancing.

This area is the site of the Hua Hin Fishing Harbour and in the early morning, fresh-out-of-the-water seafood can be snapped up.

Moreover, there are numerous dining spots serving Western, Indian, and Japanese food.

For cheap eats, check out the night market. Budget tourists having problems with the local fare will be happy to know that at the Tesco in the posh Market Village mall, there's street-style Thai food with modern fast food hygiene: 25-45 baht, and good coffee for 10 baht.

  • World News Cafe (adjacent to the Hilton Hotel, inland). 08:00-22:00. An appendage of the Hilton Hotel. Used to be possibly the best coffee shop in Thailand. But changes to Internet policies have severely impacted its appeal. On-site computer use is 150 baht per hour (75 baht minimum). Wi-Fi is 75 baht per hour. Modern, sleek space that is welcoming and spacious. Daily newspapers in English and Thai, good, but expensive, coffee, fruit drinks, bagels, sandwiches. Great staff.

Drinks

Raucous nightlife can be found in the little quarter just inland from the Hilton Hotel. The warren of small streets around Dechanuchit Rd and Soi Bintabaht teems with bars, restaurants, and massage parlours. This area is heavily frequented by tourists.

A second street with lots of beer bars and hostesses is Soi 80, on the west side of Rte 4. This street appears to be mostly patronised by resident expats.

  • Bluestation Country Pub (Behind the older of Hua Hin's two bus depots, Soi 68/2, off of Railway Rd just north of Soi 70 (Chomsin Rd) near the railway crossing). Very popular with local folks, but nearly unknown to tourists. The house band is excellent, playing all Thai country (Peu Chiwit) songs. Before 22:00 there's an opening act that some nights (but irregularly) consists of a duo of a Thai on guitar and a farang on accordion, doing all Thai songs.
  • El Murphy's (In the heart of Hua Hin on Soi Selakam 50 m from the Hilton Hotel). The place for live music. This Irish bar with a Mexican slant is the nightly home of Hua Hin's own Stonehead Band. These boys have been rocking Hua Hin for more then 15 years with their great rock and blues classics. Sometimes there is an early opening act. Free Wi-Fi. This place also has terrific food.
  • Luknam Country Pub (On the road to Pala U waterfall, opposite Phoenix Bar). Locals and foreigners alike frequent Luknam. Live music every night. Music is Thai pop and country with some Western songs mixed in. Music begins and 22:00 and goes until very late.
  • Satchmo Club (แซชโม คลับ) (Central Hua Hin). Main lobby of the Sofitel Hotel.
  • Style. 18:00-02:00. One of the best nightspots in Hua Hin, with hip hop music and techno. Popular with younger people in the area. Most people come from 22:00 on. Live music as well. Frequently overcrowded.

Shopping

Shop at the night markets. Things that you can buy range from T-shirts to antiques. A T-shirt will cost you around 300 baht. It is also a great place for contemporary art handicrafts, hand-woven printed cotton, silk fabric, silk weaving, embroidery, baskets, pottery, wood carvings, gemstones, and jewellery (including sapphires and rubies). Haggling is mandatory to get the best prices possible.

There are two night markets. The better known is in the middle of Hua Hin, and is rather tourist-oriented. The one the Thais favour is known as the Grand Market because its in the parking lot between Grand Hotel and San Paulo Hospital. It is more diverse and interesting, but does not operate M-Tu. For local handicrafts, the Hua Hin Bazaar, about 100 m west of the beach, should be your first stop.

Only on Tuesdays is the Pae Market near the Royal Hua Hin Golf Club. It's a good place to get the feel of a traditional Thai market.

  • Night Market and Other Markets There is no large shopping mall in town, but there are famous markets in Hua Hin. In the centre of town adjacent to Dechanuchit Rd, just west of Phetkasem Rd is the Hun Hin Night Market which is a great place to eat. There is a market devoted primarily to tourist shops along Dechanuchit Rd.
  • Nightly Street Market (ตลาดโต้รุ่งหัวหิน). This is a favourite venue for shoppers. Such excursions offer opportunities for shopping, enjoying native-style seafood cooked on the spot and glimpsing local lifestyles.

Local souvenirs

One of Hua Hin's most renowned local products is pha phim khommaphat or printed cotton, a typical product of Hua Hin which is sold by the metre. The finished Khommaphat print is colourful and can be turned into shirts, handkerchiefs, wraps, even toy elephants or fish, as well as decorative pieces such as pillows, bags, fans. ☎ +66 32 511250, +66 32 513506.

A large variety of other cotton products are also obtainable, such as place mats, tablecloths, and pillowcases. Most of the products, fresh and dried seafood, souvenirs, dishes made of seafood are available at Hua Hin Market.

For hand-woven cotton go to Baan Khao Tao, to the Baan Khao Tao Handicraft Centre which was founded in 1964. In 2003, the centre's works were registered as the province's four-star OTOP product. Hand-woven cotton is offered for purchase in different forms, such as in the Yok Dok print, sarongs, even large items like bedsheets.

Souvenirs from Hua Hin District include accessories from coconut shells, Khommaphat printed fabric, the printed fabric in traditional Thai patterns, brooms, utensils made of sisal fibre, bamboo woven products, as well as fresh and preserved food.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Hua Hin on Wikivoyage.

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