Travel

Hua Hin, a beach resort near Bangkok

Updated: 2015-09-21
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Our Thailand Great Discovery Tour started in Hua Hin, a beach resort city near Bangkok. Hua Hin is lesser known than Phuket, but the smaller beach resort town markets itself to a different kind of traveler. Hua Hin is very clean, warm and laid-back, making it ideal for families and couples. The town is by no means ordinary, as it has many unique offerings in the taking. Because Hua Hin is a bustling fishing town, seafood is plentiful and affordable and there’s cheap public transport for beach-hopping. It also takes a lot less effort to get here from Bangkok than to the southern islands of this Thai Kingdom. So, stop wasting your time elsewhere and grab a spot on the beach at Hua Hin!

Hua Hin is only a two-hour drive from Bangkok. The town is a well-served tourist spot, accessible by plane, train and automobile. Today, Hua Hin serves as an up-market retreat for the Thai King, the royal family and the Bangkok middle class. Hua Hin’s aristocratic roots go back to the 1920s when Rama VI (King Vajiravudh) and Rama VII (King Prajadhipok) built residences here to serve as their summer retreats. The most well known palace in Hua Hin today is Phra Ratchawang Klai Kangwon, located 3 km north of town. The palace is still a royal residence today. And, the Thai nobility are still building their summer residences beside the sea in this area.

 

Getting to Hua Hin from Bangkok

 

After landing at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, we had dinner at KohLantaa Restaurant, a popular dining place for people who know Thai food, before driving the two and a half hours to Hua Hin.

 

After landing at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, we had dinner at KohLantaa Restaurant,

a popular dining place for people who know Thai food

 

 

 

Resort stay in Hua Hin

 

Our first choice of hotel in Hau Hin was the InterContinental, which has its own beach that extends directly from the hotel’s huge swimming pools. The pools are furnished with bars, deck chairs, and umbrellas and eaves providing shade, which extend right down to the beach area. We watched the sunrise that morning, and witnessed the alms-giving ritual on the beach of the passing monks, who were having their morning walk. We had our morning breakfast by the pool. The breakfast was self-serve, with plenty of food to choose from, including Western, Asian and Thai.

 

InterContinental has its own beach that extends directly from the hotel’s huge swimming pools

 

 

 

Monks are having their morning walk on the beach

 

Breakfast by the pool at InterContinental

 

 

InterContinental - swimming pool

 

InterContinental

 

The hotel is only a stone’s throw away from the town center; it is a delightful mix of streets and sea with a cosmopolitan ambience, lively markets, tasty street food, long beaches, and fully functional resort services.

In the 1980s, the luxury hotel group Sofitel renovated the town’s grand dame hotel and foreign tourists started arriving. Today, all the international hotel chains have properties in Hua Hin, and a growing number of wealthy expats retire to the nearby housing estates and condominiums. Middle-class and high-society Thais from Bangkok swoop into town on weekends.

Though the InterContinental resort hotel was a superb place to stay, our hotel experience didn’t stop there. We proceeded to stay at Asara Villa and Suite. This is not just another hotel or resort hotel; it is a luxurious villa. The unparalleled comfort of the suites comes from the free-standing villas equipped with bedroom, lounge, huge dressing room, private pool, spa and bathroom. This beach resort is set among a mini tropical rainforest with a lake, ponds and a huge swimming pool. In my opinion, this must be one of the best places to stay in Hua Hin.

 

 Asara Villa and Suite - The unparalleled comfort of the suites comes from the free-standing villas equipped with bedroom, lounge, huge dressing room, private pool, spa and bathroom

 

 

Asara Villa and Suite - This beach resort is set among a mini tropical rainforest with a lake, ponds and a huge swimming pool.

 

 

 

 

 

Things to do in Hua Hin

 

In Hua Hin, there are many fun ways to spend your time during the day and at night. Of course there are the usual tropical vacation activities: sunbathing, snorkeling, swimming, spas, caves, peaks, waterfalls, shops, seafood, shopping, golf, bars and clubs. Visitors can also enjoy historic sites, water parks, and nearby national and ecological parks.

To properly explore and discover Hua Hin’s new tourism sites, our tour was scheduled by the Thailand Tourism Authority to go to these places:

1. Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Park
2. Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam Floating Market
3. Plearnwan Eco Vintage Village
4. Paknam Pran Man-Made Mangrove Park
5. Thaao Ko Sa Forest Beach

 

Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Park

 

 The new park, which just opened in December last year, offers many more activities apart from the waterslides, this exotic and exquisite water jungle is a full day adventure for the whole family.

 

Relax...Tree Top Lounge in the water park

 

Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle is an oasis of fun in the heart of Hua Hin. The 30-meter-high waterfall and a variety of exotic plants and tropical trees make this a pleasant water park.

The new park, which just opened in December last year, is fun for all ages and a world-class leisure destination. Vana Nava is much more than simply a water park. Offering many more activities apart from the waterslides, this exotic and exquisite water jungle is a full day adventure for the whole family.

With many different places to sit back and relax, such as the Surf Bar and the Double Flow Rider®, this one-of-a-kind water park provides 7.18 acres of leisure, entertainment and adventure. The park features the award-winning Abyss. There are over 800 meters of waterslides, with names such as Master Blaster and Aqua Loop. The water park also includes a White Water Wave Pool and a Wave River.

 

Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam Floating Market

 

 

Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam Floating Market is the biggest floating market in Thailand

 

 

There are 193 shops of all different kinds and 40 shops on boats, selling local food, handmade products, and souvenirs.

 

 

 

 

Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam Floating Market is the biggest floating market in Thailand, covering an area of over 16 hectares. The market’s design was inspired by several historical sites in Hua Hin that were either built or renovated during the reign of King Rama VI (1910 to 1925), including the Mrigadayavan Palace and Hua Hin Railway Station.

There are 193 shops of all different kinds and 40 shops on boats, selling local food, handmade products, and souvenirs. We strolled through the heart of the floating market on foot; there is a miniature railway that you can also ride on. To get there, the floating market is located at Soi Hua Hin 112, it is a short distance ride from the train station in downtown Hau Hin.

Plearnwan Eco Vintage Village 

 

Plearnwan...enjoy the yesterday

 

This place is in the town centre of Hua Hin. It was built in late 2009 to recapture the classic charm of old Hua Hin.

 

 

Plearnwan Hua Hin is Thailand’s first vintage eco village. This place is in the town centre of Hua Hin. It was built in late 2009 to recapture the classic charm of old Hua Hin. 'Plearn' means enjoy and 'wan' refers to yesteryear in the Thai language. It is described on its web site as a “Center of joy and happiness … stop the past in order to tell the various tales of Hua Hin.”

 

 

 

 

We walked through this little corner here, which gives us the feeling of Hua Hin’s history. There is a mural of the historic Hua Hin railway station. Plearnwan is an open lawn area with a two-story wooden building around it. It offers visitors just about everything you might might wish to see in a place like this, including boutiques selling clothes, a beauty salon, food stalls, a massage center, a jewelry outlet, as well as record stores and restaurants.

Plearnwan Eco Vintage Village is located between Hua Hinsoi 38 and 40, opposite Klai Klangwon Palace.

 

PaknamPran Man-Made Mangrove Park

 

The mangrove swamp is an ecological project in which a barren swamp was reforested by the Thai Princess.

 

Under a royal initiative, the park opened its doors to the public couple of years ago,

and today it carries out research in all areas of the rehabilitation of mangrove ecosystems.

 

 

 

 

  

We visited the mangrove swamp along with Xiamen's major news media groups. The mangrove swamp is an ecological project in which a barren swamp was reforested by the Thai Princess. The wetland life species have come alive and the ecosystem has been restored after years of research and trial and error. It is now a very successful ongoing project.

Under a royal initiative, the park opened its doors to the public couple of years ago, and today it carries out research in all areas of the rehabilitation of mangrove ecosystems. The learning center is in the Paknam Pran sub-district of Pran Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan.

This was once a barren shrimp farm. The task of preparing the land for the new mangrove forest started in 1998. After a site survey, dykes were built to channel seawater. Then the land was ploughed and a number of plants were selected planted.

 

The sprawling swamp forest has grown into a forest with lush vegetation and rich with diversity

 

Now the sprawling swamp forest has grown into a forest with lush vegetation and rich with diversity. A variety of marine species, such as the mud crab and Scylla olivacea have also made this forest their permanent home.

During the tour, we learned how mangrove plants play a crucial role in preventing erosion and providing a habitat for marine animals. These plants also possess a range of medical properties, most of which are still being researched.

  

Apart from the nature trail, Sala Ta Nan is another spot worth seeing. This is where guests can feast their eyes on the lush landscape and communal life of the Paknam Pran. The center also offers a camping site and research area for activities pertaining to the biodiversity of plants and animals in natural mangrove forests.

It is difficult to fully envisage how this once-barren shrimp farm was able to become the mangrove forest it is today, where marine and plant life flourish. The Sirinat-Rajinicentre offers everything one would want to know about the world of mangrove forests.

 

Thaao Ko Sa Forest Beach

 

 

Thaao Ko Sa Forest Beach is a beautiful and secluded beach at the foot of a hill.

 

 

 

 

This was the last stop we made in Hau Hin before making our way to Kanchanaburi. We had a quick stopover at Thaao Ko Sa Forest Beach. This site includes a beach and mountain caves, all open to the public. It is located 25 km south of Hua Hin. Thaao Ko Sa Forest Beach is a beautiful and secluded beach at the foot of a hill.
 

Goodbye Hua Hin

 

Hua Hin is an enjoyable holiday destination popular among Thais and some international tourists. It has become quite fashionable as a weekend getaway spot for Bangkok residents and foreigners, and it has become an expat retirement or holiday home location. Although the area is developing rapidly, the local and provincial authorities have committed to avoiding the kind of overheated blight that has affected other beach resorts in Thailand.

 

We totally enjoyed Hua Hin. We must give thanks to the Thai Tourism Authority, Thai Airways and The Royal Thai Consulate-General Xiamen

 

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SOURCE: WOX Travel

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