Hua Hin to me is a small ‘in-between’ city, not too overcrowded with tourists like the famous islands of Phuket or Krabi, but it’s not too shabby either for a quick weekend 3D2N getaway. Hua Hin was named after the rocks at the north end of the powdery sand beach which means “Stone Head” in English. It was famous as one of Thailand’s first beach resort after a train line was laid in the 1920’s to provide access from Bangkok to King Rama VII summer retreat here, the Mrigadayavan Palace.
Getting here :
Hua Hin is accessible by train or road, about 3 hours drive from Bangkok. There are no direct flights from Malaysia to Hua Hin, perhaps one of the reason it’s not as popular as other Thailand cities.
From Bangkok, there are 3 ways for you to reach Hua Hin via public transport. First option is to take a local flight from Bangkok to Hua Hin. Second option is to take a taxi from the Bangkok Don Mueang airport, which will cost you 1500THB one way. If the taxi has to return back to Bangkok with no passengers, you will need to pay 3000THB in total.
The cheaper and better option, would be by taking the BTS or Bangkok Sky Train from the airport and stop at the Victoria Monument BTS Station. Upon exiting the station, take the right staircase and look for a little narrow street where they sell minivan tickets. Proceed to the first counter and buy a ticket to Hua Hin town or the Santorini Park. The minivan will only depart once all the seats are taken (it’s a 12 seater van, so it might take a while). Just ask around, sit in the minivan and wait. The minivan ticket is priced at 150-180THB per person and the journey takes about 2-3 hours to reach Hua Hin.
Caution: it might take longer to exit the city (+/-1 hour more) if you’re traveling at peak hours such as the morning rush on a weekday, so do plan your schedule carefully to avoid getting stuck in the traffic jam.
How to get around :
the easiest and cheapest way is to rent a motorcycle to explore the area.
Places worth visiting in Hua Hin :
- The Hua Hin beach – popular for kitesurfing and other water sports, lined with high-end hotels and seafood shacks.
- Night market – at Dechanuchit Rd., Hua Hin where you’ll find all kinds of food and souvenirs like T-shirts sold for a much cheaper price compared to Krabi or Phuket
- Cicada weekend market – Located about 10 minutes away from Hua Hin town center (Hua Hin 87), a place where local entrepreneurs, artists, designers & musician come together. A very artsy venue where you will find paintings, ukuleles, locally handmade items, jewellery, musical and drama performances, food stalls and some other unique stuff. It’s only open on Friday & Saturday from 4pm to 11pm and Sundays from 4pm to 10pm.
- The Venezia – the name says it all; it’s a Venice look-a-like amusement park. They sell the entrance fee in packages which starts from 280THB to 580THB (which if you’re lucky you might be able to haggle your way down). Not worth taking the full package as majority of the shops and restaurant there were closed at the time of my visit. The only sections worth visiting is the 3D Gallery and the upside-down house where you can take some really cool photos.
- Santorini Park – a mix of gift shops and boutique shops such as Nike, Adidas & etc., some rides and games and a little splash area for kids, set in a white and blue Greek style village architecture, similar to Santorini, Greece. Lots of props and little blue balconies for your photographic pleasure.
- Mrigadayavan Palace – located on the Bang Kra beach between Cha-Am and Hua Hin, built by King Rama IV as a summer getaway in 1924. The palace is supported by more than 1,000 concrete pillars and two long corridors that extends to the beach. The palace is open every day except Wednesdays from 8.30am until 4.30pm. Entrance fee costs 30 Baht for both Thais and foreigners. Some dress restrictions apply, but sarongs and T-shirts are provided here just in case.
- Hua Hin Railway Station – one of the oldest railway stations in Thailand, designed beautifully with ornate old Thai architecture. You may also find an old 305 Unit Baldwin steam locomotive on display here.
Halal food :
Not much choices here as Muslims are a minority in this city, however you may find a small Thai restaurant opposite the Hua Hin Railway station which is Halal.
Where to stay :
The hotels near the beach is much more pricey, it’s better to opt for a place that is not situated near the beach to get more value for your money. You will find some nice, small boutique hotels which comes with a small private Jacuzzi for half the price somewhat farther from the beach, like the Amara Resort Hua Hin which is about 5-10 min motorcycle ride to the Hua Hin Railway Station (near to the halal food restaurant).