Hua Hin (หัวหิน) 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.
Popularised as a resort in the early 1920s by King Prajadhipok, Hua Hin is closely associated with the Thai royal family and is a quiet and relaxing seaside resort ideal for family vacations, a reasonable 2.5 hours drive down from Bangkok. Until 1934, it was known as Samore Riang (สมอเรียง), or "rows of rocks".
The tranquil fishing village was turned into a royal resort and consequently became popular among Siam's nobility and upper classes. In 1928, Prajadhipok built his Klai Kangwon ("Far from Worries") Palace. As of 2007, Klai Kangwon is a full-time residence of the current king and is not open for visitors, although the outer palace grounds are open for walkers and joggers from 16:00 to 19:00 daily (wear shoes, have sleeved shirts that cover at least your upper arms and bring your passport).
The 6 km long beach itself is pretty and clean, more so than Pattaya's, and the sea is relatively clean. However, most of the beach can completely disappear along certain parts of the coast during high tide. Besides just sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming, visitors can also enjoy golf, spas, caves, peaks, waterfalls, shops, seafood, and nearby national parks. The town is clean, warm and laid-back, making it ideal for families and couples.
Tourist information can be found from the corner of Petchkasem Rd and Damnerkasem Rd (Soi 76), quite close to the railway station.
There is also a tourist information centre near the clock tower in the centre of town, which is right next to a Starbucks for those of you requiring a caffeine fix. This is also where many of the big buses will stop to offload and pick up passengers, even though it is not the official bus station, and consequently is an easy place to find a motorcycle taxi or tuk-tuk.
Phetkasem Rd bisects the town, leading to Cha-am in the north and Prachuap Khiri Khan in the south. Roads perpendicular to Phetkasem on the inland side are even-numbered sois. Those on the sea-side are odd-numbered. The numbers do not match up across Phetkasem. E.g., Soi 61 leads to the central seaside area around the Hilton Hotel. The same street on the other side of Phetkasem is Soi 76. It leads to the railway station. At the northeast corner of the Soi 61/Soi 76 intersection you will find the tourist information centre. Behind it is the central police station. Across the street from the police station is a post office. Continuing down Soi 61 to the beach is the office of the Tourist Police.
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.
- 1 Hua Hin Train Station. Trains are an easy way to get to Hua Hin, as the train station is right in the centre of Hua Hin. However, the trains go very slowly getting away from Bangkok, so the 2.5 hr road time to Hua Hin can stretch to five or six hours on the train. The price of the train is around 100 baht (and only 44 baht for ordinary trains). Most trains on the southern route stop at Hua Hin. They leave Bangkok's Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue railway stations 10 times daily between 08:05 and 22:50. Generally, it takes four hours for the journey. As of 1 February 2017 tickets may be purchased on-line.
The main (BKS) bus station is south of the centre of town on Phetkasem Rd beyond Soi 96. This is some 3 km south of town centre. A tuk-tuk there costs ~180 baht, motorcycle taxi from the Hilton Hotel area, 60 baht. This bus station is for conventional buses which are going to Ubon, Korat, Chiang Mai (850 baht), Surat Thani, Phuket, and points further south. The BKS ticket office is open daily from 06:00-24:00.
Beginning 11 January 2017, coaches from Hua Hin to Pattaya and Suvarnabhumi Airport operated by the Roong Reuang Coach Company will depart from the Roong Reuang Coach Terminal. The terminal is 7 km north of town centre, near the Hua Hin Airport on the sea side of Phetkasem Road.
The "bus station" noted on maps of the area is actually a local one in the centre of town at the night market. From here all the non-air conditioned local buses and songthaews depart, but also minivans to and from Bangkok. The orange bus from Bangkok's Southern Terminal (150 baht) which takes about 3.5 hr, meanders along the main road and you specify where you want to get off. BKS buses go to the BKS Station between Soi 94-96/1 on Phetkasem. Stop the bus at any point prior to this if you want to get off. The clock tower on the left (coming from Bangkok) is the effective town "centre" (keep your eyes open as it is easy to miss).
- Bangkok to Hua Hin. From Bangkok: regular buses to Hua Hin leave from the Sai Tai Mai terminal and take around 3.5 hr. The price (1st class) is under 200 baht. For more information, contact Hua Hin-Pran Buri Tour, ☎ +66 32 8846191-2; Bang Saphan Tour, ☎ +66 32 4355105, +66 32 8848895; Bus Southern Terminal, ☎ +66 32 4351199, +66 32 4355605, +66 32 4347192 .
From BKK to Hua Hin, regular bus departures: 07:30; 09:30; 13:30; 16:30; 18:30. Ticketing/boarding location: At Hua Hin Counter (Level 1, Gate 8). Fare: 305 baht. Drop-off points: 1. Hua Hin Bus Station 2. Bus stop in front of Bangkok Bank at Cha-am intersection
You can also take a minivan from the Sai Tai Gao (Pinklao) bus station. A free van runs from the Victory Monument (Anusawari Chai) (near the BTS Skytrain) to the Sai Tai Gao station. Minivan fare to Hua Hin is 180 baht, limited baggage. The journey will take 3 hr, with one short pee break.
Sombat Tour has buses that leave the Northern Bus Station (Mo Chit) at 06:00; 08:20; 14:20; and 18:30. Travel time is ~3.5 hr. Price is 155 baht.
- 2 Hua Hin to Bangkok, ☎ . Regular bus departures daily from the main (BKS) bus station at 09:00; 12:00; 13:30; 15:00 and go to Mo Chit station in Bangkok. Ticketing: Hua Hin Soi 96/1 (Sombat Tour). Travel time is ~3.5 hr. Boarding locations: 1. Hua Hin Bus Station 2. Bus stop in front of Government Savings Bank at Cha-am intersection. Fare: 155 baht
Minibuses from Hua Hin to Bangkok (180 baht) leave opposite the Pananchai Hotel on Naebkehas Rd, some 200 m along a side road from the clock tower. Service to Pattaya as well. 155 baht.
- 3 Hua Hin-Chiang Mai-Hua Hin (BKS bus station is south of town centre between Sois 96 and 98). From Chiang Mai: Sombat Tours has 3 buses per day, at 08:00, 18:30, and 19:00. The journey takes 12 hr. To Chiang Mai: Daily at 08:00, 17:00, 18:00, 851 baht (Oct 2013). VIP bus at 17:30. 12.5 hr. 1,134 baht.
- 4 Kanchanaburi (At one of the north side entrances to Market Village you will find their small kiosk just outside the door), ☎ . 05:00-18:15. Vens Service runs minivans from Hua Hin to Kanchanaburi. Departs from a north side entrance to the Market Village shopping centre. Departures at 05:00; 06:15; 07:15; 09:15; 10:15; 11:15; 13:15; 14:15; 15:15; 16:15; and 18:15. 220 baht; large luggage, 220 baht.
- 5 Hua Hin-Krabi (BKS bus station is south of town centre between Sois 96 and 98). At least one bus a day departs at 22:00 from the bus station south of city centre. VIP passage to Krabi is 855 baht. (Jan 2016) Travel time is approximately 9 hr. VIP, 855 baht.
- 6 Hua Hin-Pattaya-Hua Hin (Roong Reuang Coach Terminal is just past the HH airport, 7 km north of town centre. Next door is a huge sign, "Koncept" (furniture store).). Tickets daily, 05:30-19:30. Roong Reuang runs a daily bus (starting 1 December 2015) from the Pattaya Air Conditioned Bus Station on N Pattaya Road to Hua Hin/Cha-am. Departure is at 11:00. Drop-off points are the Cha-am intersection (in front of Government Savings Bank) and the Roong Reuang Coach Terminal. The journey takes 5-6 hr including a stop at Suvarnaphumi Airport (BKK) en route.
The bus from Hua Hin to Pattaya leaves Roong Reuang Coach Terminal daily at 11:00, stopping to pick-up passengers in Cha-am in front of the Government Savings Bank at 11:30. Drop off in Pattaya at the Pattaya Bus Station on N Pattaya Road. Duration is 4-5 hr. Tickets may be purchased at the Bell Travel website. 389 baht.
- 7 Hua Hin-Phuket-Hua Hin (Bus station is south of town centre between Sois 96 and 98). Green Bus has a service that departs the BKS Bus Station in Phuket at 08:30, arrives Hua Hin at 17:30. Super comfortable bus. 617 baht.
- 8 Hua Hin-Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)-Hua Hin, Roong Reuang Coach Terminal (Roong Reuang Coach Terminal is just past the HH airport, 7 km north of town centre. Next door is a huge sign, "Koncept" (furniture store).). Bell Travel Service is the HH agent for the Roong Reuang Coach Company that provides an air conditioned VIP coach service between Hua Hin-Suvarnabhumi Airport-Hua Hin. Travel time is 3 hours. Buses depart the Roong Reuang Coach Terminal at 06:00, 07:30, 09:00, 10:30, 12:00, 13:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30, 18:00, 18:30. 269 baht.
Taxi service from Hua Hin to Bangkok (a distance of about 200 km) is widely advertised and available. Price after negotiation should be around 2,000 baht. Limousine service, available at Bangkok Airport, is more expensive. Taxis are bookable via agents around town. A few are located outside the post office, and others are along Naresdamri Rd. Taxis to or from Pattaya are around 3,000 baht.
- 9 Hua Hin-Pattaya-Hua Hin (The ferry dock is 7.3 km south of city centre in Khao Takiap.), ☎ . , Buy tickets at dock, 08:30-10:30. A passenger-only ferry service, Hua Hin-Pattaya-Hua Hin, beginning January 2017. The service is operated by Royal Passenger Liner Co, Ltd. The January launch begins with one ferry which will accommodate up to 150 persons. The ferry leaves Hua Hin at 13:30. From Pattaya it leaves at 10:30. The journey is claimed to take 2 hr. The first month of operation has been rocky, with some sailings cancelled due to bad weather. As of 1 Feb, it is evident that the service has teething problems: no taxis to meet arriving Pattaya passengers trudging down the road with their suitcases and no updated posting of sailing times for February. As of 2017-02-01 there is no published schedule for February and beyond. The only web presence is on Facebook. A notice in Thai only gives the following prices: Budget, 999 baht; Business, 1,299 baht; Cabin for 8, 14,000 baht.
There are many ways to get around in Hua Hin. Songthaews run the same routes all day and cost only 10 baht. There are many motorcycle taxis and tuk-tuks, fewer car taxis. Negotiate price beforehand, but you will not get a tuk-tuk for less than 100 baht over any distance (unless you are lucky) if you are a Western tourist. You will also be able to find samlors (rickshaws). There are quite a lot of upscale tourists in Hua Hin and prices are sometimes adjusted upwards. Better to clarify the matter ahead of time. Motorcycle rentals are readily available. Hua Hin is very flat, and bicycle is a good way to get around locally. Rentals available, but not so prevalent as motorbikes.
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) (Naepkhehat Road). Daily, 11:00–18:30. It has a collection and exhibition of works of contemporary Thai artists, as well as old furniture and many pictures of 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.
- 1 Khao Takiap (8 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 Takiap is one of the highest areas in Hua Hin. From the top, you will see Hua Hin and also nice beaches. Also, the food at Khao Takiap restaurants is very delicious too.
- 2 Klai Kangwon Palace (พระราชวังไกลกังวล), ☎ . 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.
- 3 Rajabhakti Park. Daily, 08:00-18:00. Rajabhakti Park is meant to honor past Thai kings from the Sukhothai period to the current Royal House of Chakri. It was built by the Royal Thai Army, with funds donated by the public and private sectors. Princess Maha Vajiralongkorn and Princess Bajrakitiyabha officially opened the park on 26 September 2015.
The park covers a total area of 222 rai, or 355,200 square meters. It consists of three main sections. The first section, covering an area of five rai, or 8,000 sq m, features the giant statues of seven kings, whose achievements are well-recognized. The seven kings made great contributions to the country in each period of Thai history. They include King Ramkhamhaeng (1279-1300) of the Sukhothai period, King Naresuan (1590-1605) and King Narai (1656-1688) of Ayutthaya period, King Taksin (1767-1782) of the Thonburi period, and King Rama I (1782-1809), King Mongkut (1851-1868), and King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910) of the Rattanakosin period. Each statue is made of bronze, with an average height of 13.9 meters. They were designed by the Fine Arts Department.
The second section is a multi-purpose plaza, covering 91 rai, or 145,600 sq m. It will be used for major ceremonies, performed by the Royal Thai Armed Forces, such as military parades, and for welcoming foreign dignitaries.
The third section includes a museum featuring Thai history, especially the biographies and achievements of the seven kings, from the Sukhothai to the Rattanakosin periods. The museum is at the base of the statues. Admission free.
- 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.
- 4 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.
- 5 Namtok Pa La-u (น้ำตกป่าละอู) (60 km west of Hua Hin), ☎ . 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.
- 6 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.
- Some attractions within the park:
- Hat Laem Sala (16 km north of the park office. Can be reached by boat or on foot across a hill from Bang Pu Village). A beach. The well-known cave, Tham Phraya Nakhon, has a large hole in it so sunlight shines through, and this allows plants to grow. There is Phra Thi Nang Khuha Kharuhat which is a Thai-style pavilion with a scenic view of the cave. It was first built during the reign of King Chulalongkorn before being dismantled and reconstructed here. There is a viewpoint on Khao Daeng which is 400 km from the park office and Ban Khao Daeng. The latter offers boat trips to watch wild birds.
- Hat Sam Phraya (3.5 km north of the park office). A lovely beach with a line of pine trees. Accommodation available.
- Tham Kaeo (Around 23 km from Pran Buri (15 km north of the park office)). A cave with an abundance of stalactites and stalagmites. Oil lamps can be rented at the nearby village to aid in exploring the cave.
- Tham Sai (9 km north of the park office). A cave which can be explored, and oil lamps can be rented in the nearby village.
- 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 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.
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.
Traditional Thai massage is aimed mostly at extracting money from your wallet. Claims for its holistic approach to health by enhancing physical, emotional, and spiritual states is mostly hogwash. The majority of massage places are fairly dumpy except at the high end, do not have soothing background music, nor the scent of Asian incense.
There are over 200 massage shops in Hua Hin. Most have identical prices. Most hotels in Hua Hin offer massage services. 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 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 cheaper for equivalent massage, as low as 200 baht per hour.
- Wall Ride DH Track (On the slopes of Khao Hin Lek Fai, a small elevation about 5 km west of Hua Hin), ☎ . Smooth, flowy yet technical downhill single track constructed by local aficionados.
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.
- 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.
A few Thai cooking schools have sprung up in Hua Hin where tourists can learn the art of serving up their favourite Thai dishes such as pad Thai (Thai-style fried noodles), tom yum kung, Panang curry with beef and chicken and cashews. Courses vary in length from just a single day to a few. Courses are available at most of the large hotels. Ask around.
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.
- 1 Cicada Market (Khao Takiap). Open-air market at the south end of Hua Hin.
- 2 Hua Hin Ham Bacon & Meat Company, 2/38 Soi 41 (Soi 41 is on the sea side of Phetkasem Rd), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa, 08:00-18:00; Su, 09:00-17:00. British-run makers of hams, bacon, sausages, pies, burgers. Importers of beef, lamb, pork, fish, veg, grocery items. Their products are sold in many of the shops catering to Westerners in Hua Hin and beyond. Their spotless little shop sells all their meats and pies, as well as a good selection of British and continental foods ranging from pickled eggs to Bisto to olive oil. During holidays you can order cooked turkeys, hams, and other seasonal meats from them.
- 7 Nightly Street Market (ตลาดโต้รุ่งหัวหิน) (Town centre adjacent to Dechanuchit Rd, just west of Phetkasem Rd). A great place to eat. There is a market devoted primarily to tourist shops along Dechanuchit Rd. This is a favourite venue for shoppers, with opportunities for shopping, enjoying seafood cooked on the spot and glimpsing local lifestyles.
- 3 Villa Market, 218/1-4 Petchkasem Rd and 17/139 Soi Moo Baan Borfai (Between Soi 84 and San Paulo Hospital), ☎ . Daily, 08:00-22:00. This high-end Thai supermarket chain has 32 stores throughout Thailand, two in Hua Hin. Imported and Thai foods. Has extensive frozen foods, liquor, and a butcher shop.
- 4 The Blue and Yellow Book Exchange, 114/23 Phetkasem Rd (Across from Krungsri Bank). Daily, 10:00-18:00. Small shop chock full of paperbacks in all European languages. Will accept exchanges for credit.
- 5 Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall (Between Sois 100 and 102). M-F, 10:30-22:00; Sa-Su, 10:00-22:00. Hua Hin's latest shopping centre, opened in October 2016. Shops, banks, restaurants, cinemas, impressive supermarket with many Western items. The shops here are little more than kiosks for name brand merchandise at full list prices attended to by bored salespeople. Except for the cinemas and the supermarket, you may be better off at Market Village, down the road towards town centre.
- 6 Hua Hin Shopping Mall (Not far from the Night Market. Has entrances on Phetkasem Rd, Soi 74/2, and Sa Song Rd but it's easy to miss as the entrances are small and non-descript). Daily, 09:30-21:00. This place is inaptly named. It does not look like a shopping mall, but it is a collection of small vendors selling clothing, watches, shoes, and also a largish supermarket. It's not slick at all, just a Thai supermarket and jumble sale right in the centre of town. Shopping there is a blast, as you never know what you will find next. Not much for vegetables, and the meats are frozen, but a good assortment of Thai and Western foodstuffs. Prices probably the lowest across the board of all the supermarkets listed here. Ground floor: supermarket and clothing, etc. Second floor: housewares and clothing. Third floor: mobile phones and computer stuff.
- 7 [dead link]Market Village, Soi Hua Hin 88/1. Su-Th, 10:00-21:00; F-Sa, 10:00-22:00; Homepro and Tesco-Lotus open daily at 09:00. Anchor stores are Tesco-Lotus Supermarket and Homepro.
Souvenirs from Hua Hin include accessories from coconut shells, printed fabric in traditional Thai patterns, brooms, utensils made of sisal fibre, bamboo woven products, as well as fresh and preserved food.
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.
- Baan Khao Tao Handicraft Centre. For hand-woven cotton go to Baan Khao Tao. It was founded in 1964. In 2003, the centre's works were registered as the province's leading OTOP (handicraft) product. Hand-woven cotton is offered for purchase in different forms, such as in the Yok Dok print, sarongs, even large items like bedsheets.
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, seafood can be purchased (its provenance is unknown as the Gulf of Thailand is increasingly fished out).
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.
- 1 German Restaurant and Bakery, 4/117 Soi Hua Hin 98 (Between Bluport and the bus station). Daily, 08:00-18:00. It's always a good sign when local restaurants buy their bread from your bakery. That's the case with this place. Good assortment of breads and an excellent menu of breakfasts and luncheon dishes. No Thai food. Free Wi-Fi. American breakfast, 135 baht.
- 2 Happy Pig Restaurant, 10/133 Soi Hua Hin 94. 18:00-22:00, longer in high season. Family-restaurant, European and Finnish food, barbecue, meatballs. Rack of ribs, 270 baht; large rack, 450 baht.
- 3 Mirabelle, 34/199 Soi Hua Hin 94 (Next to Star Bar), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cute, clean little French boulangerie-patisserie. Also sells French food imports: cassoulet, mustards, pates, foie gras, wines, Calvados. Not cheap, but these things are not widely available. Small quiche, 60 baht; large can of cassoulet, 295 baht.
- 4 Pacific Bar & Restaurant (Follow Soi 94 inland, past the railroad tracks, about 1km until Soi 94 seemingly ends. Turn right, then an immediate left on the continuation of Soi 94. Pacific is immediately on the left.), ☎ . Lunch and dinner. Small, immaculate bar/restaurant run by the affable Rick and his Thai partner. American, Mexican, and Thai foods. The American and Mexican menu is limited, the Thai menu is more extensive, but everything is good, clean, and fairly priced. Full bar, free Wi-Fi. Hamburger, 120 baht, cheeseburger, 150 baht, fries extra; wings, 100 baht; burritos, 130 baht; chicken fried rice, 60 baht.
- 5 Say Cheese Restaurant & Guesthouse, 6/4 Amuaysin Rd (Soi 74) (Just W of the corner of Soi 74 and Sa Song Rd), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Terrific bar and guesthouse run by the Dutchman Jeroen (Jerry) and his Thai partner. Great Dutch and Thai food, reasonable prices, and international favourites as well. Free Wi-Fi. Backpacker guesthouse on the premises. Clean to a fault, very well run, and a good venue for sports on TV. Cajun Salad, 90 baht.
All bars close at 02:00 in Hua Hin.
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 the locals, 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.
- 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.
- Meeting Point Bar (Soi 74 (Amuaysin Rd), about 50 m up from Phetkasem Rd (inland side of road)). Daily, ~18:00-24:00 (high season only). Small sidewalk bar with three small tables run by an affable Thai couple. Very drinkable cocktails for 90 baht. No Wi-Fi or other amenities. Just good drinks and good company. Thai beers 50 baht; cocktails 90 baht.
- 1 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 than 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.
- 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.
- 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.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||less than 500 baht|
|Splurge||over 1,500 baht|
Hua Hin is relatively expensive for accommodation, with few options below 400 baht. The best area for budget rooms seems to be around the corner from the Hilton Hotel, on the street parallel to the water.
- Laila Food And Drink Guesthouse, 178/55/56 Soi 80 (Walk down Soi 80. Take any turn south. Lailas is 2 blocks from the main road.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. In a quiet street but only a ten minute walk from the beach and even closer to the railway station, Laila offers clean, good sized double rooms with air-con, fan, fridge and free Wi-Fi. Bunks are four to a room with modern beds and air-con. There is a good on-site restaurant and a nice chill out terrace in front. 280 baht dorm, 600 baht double.
- Memory Guesthouse. Very small but clean rooms. 300 baht for double en suite (Oct 2014).
- Rooms@102, Soi 102 (Across the railroad track from Petchkasem Rd), ☎ . Includes air-con and TV, fan, hot water, Wi-Fi. 300 baht.
- Sukwilai Hotel and Guesthouse (On western Soi Bintabaht 150 m to Burger King). Upscale rooms available in the main building. Guesthouse is opposite some bars playing loud music until 02:00. Fan rooms for 300 baht, or 350 baht with cable TV.
- Tientong, 226/107 Petchkasem Rd (Behind Grand Hotel near station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Rooms with private baths. Includes high-speed Wi-Fi (if it starts working slow, just reboot the router). Located downtown at end of secluded street near market. Friendly staff. Nice views of hillside from communal balcony. 10 min walk from beach. 400 baht (low-season) to 600 baht.
- Victor Guesthouse, 16 Naresdamri Rd, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sixteen rooms in a Thai traditional teak guesthouse in the heart of Hua Hin, close to beaches, restaurants and night life. Family suites available. Includes air-con, LED TV and DVD in all rooms. Fan, hot water, Wi-Fi, 24/7 security and friendly staff in a relaxed atmosphere. 350-700 baht.
- 1 Baan Nilawan Hotel, 17/99 Soi 23 (Soi 23 is slightly N of town off the main road on the sea side of the road), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Quiet, spotless little place just off the main road. Charming little restaurant on-site. Run by affable Thais. Free (good) Wi-Fi. 800 baht high season.
- 2 Chada Guesthouse, 178/201 Soi 80 (One block up Soi 80 behind the 7-Eleven), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Good location in Hua Hin's second tourist bar area. Clean, basic rooms with air-con and Wi-Fi. 7-Eleven adjacent and nearby restaurants abound. 800 baht high season.
- Chom-Haad Guesthouse, 178/175 Soi Hua Hin 80 (Close to Tientong, San Paolo Hospital, and Grand Hotel), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Nice rooms, on a quiet road with lots of guesthouses. Nice fresh-looking furniture in bright colours. 700 baht.
- 3 Citin Loft Hua Hin (โรงแรม ซิติน ลอฟ หัวหิน บาย คอมพาส ฮอสพิทอลิตี้), 120/22 Soi Huahin 78, Petchakasem Rd (Near Hua Hin Night Market), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: noon. Fifty comfortable guest rooms each with a private balcony overlooking the green hills beyond; rooftop pool, sundeck, Internet stations, restaurant and a free shuttle service to Hua Hin Beach, Hua Hin Market Village, and Hua Hin Night Market. 935+ per night.
- Dolphin Bay Resort, 217 Moo 4 Phunoi, Sam Roi Yot, ☎ . Beach resort for families.
- Hotel Pananchai (Coming from the north, get off at the clock tower on your left. Look back along the street which leads off to the northeast. You will see the hotel sign from there a couple of hundred metres up the road). A basic hotel with breakfast, although this is only a couple of small slices of toast and jam, with a cup of tea or coffee. The hotel has air conditioning and TV. The rooms are quite small. There are restaurants nearby. The beach is 300 m away and all the tourist restaurants are close by. 650 baht.
- Nicha Suite Hotel, 4/125 Soi Hua Hin 98 Nongkae, Petchkasem Rd (100 m south of the bus station, 3-4 km south of the main part of town). Clean and modern, with friendly and helpful staff. Breakfast included. The rooms have large flat screen TV with plenty of channels, and there are tea and coffee making facilities provided. No lift. 1,200 baht.
- 4 Royal Express Hua Hin, 79/9 Petchkasem Rd (Opposite Soi 78, near train station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Small hotel within a few minutes walk to the beach, restaurants, and convenience stores. The rooms are well-designed with a simple, cosy and modern style with flat screen TV, en suite bath, and free Wi-Fi. 622+ baht.
- Thipurai City Hotel, 8/5-7 Soi Kanjanomai, Poolsuk Rd (In the heart of Hua Hin), ☎ . 1,350+ baht.
- Aleenta Resort and Spa, 183 Moo 4, Paknampran, Pranburi (20 min south of Hua Hin), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A beautiful and relaxing beachfront complex of 22 luxury sea-facing villas, suites, and residences. 4,125 baht.
- 5 Anantara Hua Hin Resort, 43/1 Phetkasem Beach Road, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. They have used Thai artwork in their interior designs and the Landscape gardens are designed by Bill Bensley. Guests can take fruit carving , yoga or cooking classes. Has 187 rooms and suites. 2,750+ baht.
- Anantasila Resort, 33/15 Moo Bann Huadon, Petchkasem Rd, Nongkae. 2,000-15,000 baht.
- Chiva-Som International Health Resort, 73/4 Petchkasem Rd, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the best destination spa resorts in Thailand. Very private. Pricey, but the quality is the best.
- Chomview Hua Hin (Near Kao Takeab). On the beach with beachfront swimming pool. Nice, not big, but cheap, clean. 1,550+ baht.
- Devasom Hua Hin Resort, 1446/23 Petchkasem Rd (km221), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A small luxury beach resort on the beach between Cha-am and Hua Hin, with only 24 villas and rooms, all with sea view and charmingly decorated. Excellent food and services. 13,040+ baht.
- Dhevandara Resort and Spa, 451 Hua Hin, Huay Mongkol Rd. Hin Lek Fai (Near Grape Farm, 8 km from Hua Hin). Resort with private pool. 3,097+ baht.
- 6 Fulay Hotel, 110/1 Naresdamri Rd (Follow the road just inland from the Hilton Hotel downhill about 75 m. Hotel on left), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Sparkling clean, accommodating staff, great location. Has a terrific little restaurant on the ground floor. Air conditioning, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, minibar, convenience store open until 01:00 adjacent. Just far away from the bar scene to offer 2 min access but quiet ambiance. 850 baht low-season; 1,500+ baht high season.
- Haven Hua Hin (on Hua Hin beach). Boutique resort. 4,000-15,000 baht.
- The Hideaway Hua Hin, Hua Hin Soi 9, Petchkasem Rd. 2,500-3,000 baht.
- Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, 91 Hua Hin-Khao Takiap Rd (on the beach), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 204 rooms and suites. The hotel is on 12.5 acres of tropical landscaped gardens on a 200 m long beachfront. The Barai Spa is on-site.
- Nern Chalet Hotel, 144/7 Nongkae-Takieb Rd, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. On the beach, relaxing atmosphere, free Wi-Fi. 3,500+ baht.
- Pattawia Resort & Spa, 9/21 Moo 5, Pak Nam Pran Beach, ☎ . Spa, swimming pool, and sea view rooms. 2,400 baht.
- 7 The Rock Hua Hin, 4/44 Moo Baan Takiab Rd (Left side of Takiab Rd on the way to Khao Takiab.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Luxury hotel, resort, and spa with seaside view at Hua Hin Beach. It has a seafood restaurant and a beachfront bar and lounge.
Renting a house for a long stay
If you're staying for a month or more, then Hua Hin has great options. The price for renting a nice villa with private pool can be as low as 20,000 baht. Houses have modern furniture and are ready to move into. Best way to find a house is to go to realty agencies around the Hilton Hotel. They pick you up from your hotel and show options for your budget and taste. Best strategy is to contact by them email a week before, so they will make a selection beforehand.
It would seem that if you are not Thai, you are viewed by the Thai police as a walking ATM. Should a cop be short of beer money and see you not wearing a helmet while on a motorbike, you are likely to be stopped and shaken down for cash. The police box at the SE corner of Soi 61 and Phetkasem Rd seems to be where they send officers who are short of cash. The cop on duty will often signal farang to the roadside for some infraction, often trumped up, or for a sobriety test. Most of the time, you will pay cash on the spot, 200 baht and up, to be allowed to go on your way.
- 10 Hua Hin Immigration, 17/26 Hua Hin Soi 21 (Take Soi 21 or Soi 23 off Phetkasem towards Queen's Park and the sea. Immigration is not more than 100 m from the beach.). M-F, 08:30-noon; 13:00-16:30.
There are a number of English-language publications, offering a variety of styles, as well as information and entertainment. Long-time visitors to the town will have been familiar with the free monthly Hua Hin Observer magazine found around the town, but in Jan 2010, this became an on-line-only publication. Another monthly publication is the Hua Hin Today newspaper which can be a little dry for tourists, as it contains plenty of local government and local dignitaries news along with details of the latest infrastructure projects and housing developments. Its on-line presence is more of a portal for international news and selling property than a local site. More of interest to tourists is the widely available free weekly AWOL newspaper, which is a mixture of entertaining true and not-so-true stories, typical tabloid content such as a page 3 girl and sports coverage, and major local news stories. AWOL's website includes a discussion forum, free classifieds and all their back issues to download. The longest established local Internet forum is Hua Hin After Dark which is a valuable source of information for both tourists and expats alike, although its slightly cliquey attitude can be off-putting, and discussions can often turn into playground squabbles.
There are a number of other printed publications and Internet sites relating to Hua Hin, but they are mostly concerned with selling or renting property, or promoting another local business. There are also a couple of non-English language publications with a small distribution.
Landline telephones, all mobile phone systems, high-speed Internet (ADSL), post offices, and parcel services are available in Hua Hin.
There is a city-wide free Wi-Fi service as well, although speeds tend to be slow and a signal difficult to obtain outside the central area.
- Chumphon - ferry to Ko Tao
- Damnoen Saduak
- Ko Samui
- Ko Tao – for diving
- Pattaya – via 2hr ferry, short cut to Ko Chang
- Samut Songkhram
- Surat Thani
|Routes through Hua Hin|
|Bangkok ← Phetchaburi ←||N S||→ Prachuap Khiri Khan → Butterworth|
|Bangkok ← Cha-am ←||N S||→ Prachuap Khiri Khan → Sadao|