Hua Hin with a population of 65,000 is one of the big three Seaside Resorts of Thailand, the others being Pattaya (97,000) and Phuket (89,000). In the early 1900’s it was Thailand’s most popular seaside resort due to opening of the railroad from Bangkok in 1911 and also due to its popularity with Thailand’s Royalty. The historic, Victorian style Railway Station remains a highly popular tourist attraction. Located on the Gulf of Thailand (a.k.a Gulf of Siam) the town of Hua Hin is 200 kms South South-west of Bangkok. Hua Hin enjoys a tropical savanna climate with warm to very hot temperatures with little variation during the year. The rainy season generally arrives in May but eases from June to August with the heaviest rainfalls in September through November.
The popularity with Thailand’s Royal family lead to the prominence and development of Huan Hin. In 1921 Prince Purachatra, Director of the State Railway built the Railway hotel close to the beach and it was Prince Krom Phra Naresworiat who was the first member of the Royal Family to build a small group of palaces at Ban Laem Hin and gave the beach next to his palace the name Hua Hin. King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) liked the region so much that he constructed a Summer Palace named Klai Kang Won (“far from worries”). In 2004 it became the full-time residence of King Bhumibol Adulyadel (Rama IX) until health issues forced his return to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok.
Modern Hua Hin is a bustling city with extensive facilities for residents and tourists alike. Known for its long sandy beaches, Hua Hin has seen extensive development along the beach with International chains rubbing shoulder with the many charming local hotels. Whilst some private residences do still remain most have become boutique style hotels or have been demolished for large complexes. Whilst there is no beach promenade, there is excellent access to the main beach and it is highly popular with fitness addicts in the morning and to hordes of locals and tourists in the evenings. The beach enjoys lovely soft fine sand and is kept very clean. Whilst tidal, the beach shelves very gently and you have to walk quite a distance if you want to really swim. The water does become quite warm in the summer months and this does, unfortunately attract a large number of Jellyfish, so most bathers prefer the pools in the hotels.
The centre of Hua Hin is a bustling metropolis of shops, municipal buildings and of course bars and restaurants. There is a famous daily Night Market from Petchkasem Road to the railway line. Colourful market stalls beckon from 18:30 every evening and it does become very crowded as tourists explore the treasures! Naturally there is a vast variety of food both from the stalls and from the excellent seafood restaurants lining both sides of the street. In addition, Hua Hin now also boasts 3 substantial Shopping Centres: Blue Port to the south, Market Village and the older Hua Hin Shopping mall in the centre.
There is so much to do in and around Hua Hin with a vast choice of excursions by boat and by road. There are also 10 top quality Golf courses (Banyan, Black Mountain, Imperial Lake View, Kaeng Krachan, Majestic, Milford, Palm Hills, Royal Hua Hin, Springfield and Thanarat Army), 3 massive waterparks (Vana Nava, Black Mountain plus Santorini towards neighbouring Cha Am).
Accommodation is vast and varied from top quality luxury International luxury resorts through a range of charming boutique resorts and simple guesthouses at the lower end. The town is quite spread out so plan carefully what your priorities are and choose your location in Hua Hin accordingly. Taxis or Tuk Tuks are readily available but their charges are higher that one is generally accustomed to in Thailand.
Hua Hin also has an airport which has recently been elevated to International status. Whilst flights are quite limited at the moment there are ambitious plans to increase the number of flights and destinations. Hua Hin also offers regular ferry services to Pattaya and to the islands of Koh Tao. Koh Phangan & Koh Samui.
Overall a wonderful place to visit with facilities and entertainment for all ages at any time of the year.
Kim Waddoup enjoyed a lifetime in the tourism business and is an active ‘Silver-Ager” living in Thailand. He writes for his age group with high varied articles covering subjects relevant to retirees living in, or visiting Thailand. Any questions or comments on this post? Please do feel free to contact me through our ‘Contact Form’ or directly [email protected]