Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lipe. These are some of many Thai destinations that are often recommended to travellers looking for a getaway by beautiful beaches.
While Hua Hin is lesser known than its touristy counterparts, this seaside resort on the Gulf of Thailand is also home to beautiful beaches. In fact, Hua Hin’s beaches, historical sites and various attractions make it a popular destination for locals.
Interested in visiting this hidden gem? Here are seven reasons why you should add Hua Hin to your bucket list.
1. The most obvious – it’s less touristy
Step into Hua Hin and you’ll find yourself in a stylish coastal town that’s popular with local tourists. Situated about 199km away from southwest Bangkok, Hua Hin has a relaxed, hipster vibe that makes it perfect for groups of friends and family vacations.
If you’re looking for something new and different, head on over to Hua Hin. Its hipster charm and vibe will surely win you over.
2. Satisfy your craving for authentic Thai food
When you visit Thailand, leave your strict diet plans behind and indulge in the local cuisine. You’ll find Thai dishes at most restaurants, be it the quaint hipster cafes or the swanky, high-end hotel restaurants.
Foodies can indulge in the local flavours at the many restaurants scattered throughout Hua Hin, or even pick up street food at the night markets.
A popular spot for local flavours is Moom Muum Noodle and Rice Cafe. The cafe serves yummy authentic Thai food that’ll keep you coming back for more. The noodle soup and pad thai in particular are a hit with customers.
If you’re at Hua Hin’s Night Market, stop by Lung Ja Seafood. While the restaurant offers a mouthwatering variety of seafood, you’ll find that lobster is a popular choice among patrons. If you’re making plans, take note that it’s a fan favourite among locals and tourists alike, so be sure to get there early.
Alternatively, you can also learn how to whip up some of the local dishes by enrolling in cooking classes taught by locals.
3. Night markets offer Thai goods at local prices
Ever been to Bangkok? You’ll know of the many night markets in the big city.
In Hua Hin, you’ll find three notable night markets – the Hua Hin Night Market, Cicada Market and Tamarind Market.
The Hua Hin Night Market is comparable to those typical street markets that you’ll find in Bangkok. Watch as the street comes to life as vendors set up their stalls hawking their goods. You’ll find an assortment of clothing, local arts and craft, and inexpensive, tasty street food.
Looking for markets with an artsy vibe? Then head on over to Cicada Market. While wandering through this open-air market, you’ll find art exhibitions, lively performances and stalls selling local handmade crafts – all by local artists.
While you’re there, you may want to pop over to Tamarind Market. Just a few minutes away, Tamarind Market offers yummy delights to fill your tummies. As you venture deeper into the market, you’ll find yourself in the local section where you’ll find Thai dishes sold at local prices.
4. Interesting themed locations
Visit the Santorini Park in the neighbouring Cha Am district and you’ll feel like you’re in a different country. Like its Greek counterpart that it was modelled after, the Santorini Park has gorgeous white buildings paired with blue accents.
Besides the picturesque setting that makes it awesome for photos, it also has a variety of shops, restaurants and an amusement park to keep you entertained.
Santorini Park isn’t the only themed attraction in Cha Am. There’s also Camel Republic that has a Moroccan theme, Swiss Sheep Farm that has a European influence and The Venezia that has a Venetian theme, each with its own unique offering.
5. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone
Hua Hin has more than just the beach to offer its tourists. There’s also the lovely Monsoon Valley Vineyard where travellers can wine and dine on the pavilion overlooking the whole farm. Visitors can also take a stroll around the vineyard while getting a closer look at the olive vines.
Not interested in vineyards? Check out the Vana Nava Water Park for a splashing good time. The water park is a hit among local and international visitors. Offering rides for adults and young children, this park is a great choice for families.
6. Leave city life behind for relaxation around nature
The hustle and bustle of hectic city life may have left you feeling weary and in need of a break. Leave the stress and distractions behind with a trip back to nature.
Roughly an hour away from Hua Hin is the Sam Roi Yot National Park, where visitors can climb up to the Khao Daeng Viewpoint. Although it may seem like quite a long journey, the beautiful scenery and views more than make up for it.
Visitors who have been to the park are often left amazed by the stunning views at the top, so if you’re planning to make a visit, don’t forget to bring your camera along!
The viewpoint isn’t the only spot to offer majestic views. There are six other notable sites scattered throughout the park. At the Khao Daeng Canal, visitors can take a boat tour through the park for a relaxing ride while also keeping an eye out for wildlife.
Wildlife watchers will want to stop by the Thung Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh. Located on the northwest corner of the park, it is home to many species of flora and fauna. Visitors can expect to find many species of waterbirds, songbirds, amphibians and various wetland species.
The park also has three caves: Phraya Nakhon Cave, Kaeo Cave and Sai Cave. Of the three, Phraya Nakhon is the main attraction of the park. Phraya Nakhon houses an iconic royal pavilion called Phra Thinang Khuha Kharuhat. The pavilion is especially striking during certain hours of the day when sunlight streams in through the open top of the cave, making for a spectacular sight to behold.
Not too far off is the Kaeo Cave that offers visitors a more adventure-like experience. Visitors will find many stalactites and stalagmites scattered through the cave and the rocky surface will make walking a bit of a challenge, so come prepared! If you’re heading to Kaeo Cave, do note that mandatory guides from the park offices are needed to visit this cave.
Meanwhile, further down in the southern area of the park is Sai Cave. If you’re visiting the cave on weekdays, you can rent torches from the park office, however, the cave is lighted up for free on the weekends to cater to the high number of visitors.
From the Phraya Nakhon Cave, visitors can also head over to Laem Sala Beach and Campsite that’s not too far off. The beach is accessible by foot or by boat, and is a must if you’re visiting the park. The sandy white beach and shallow waters make it a peaceful spot to just hang out with family and friends, or even camp overnight.
7. Kick back and relax by the beach, of course
The beach, of course, is one of highlights of any seaside holiday. You’ll be able to kick back and relax by most of the beaches in Hua Hin, but here are a few highlights of what to do when you’re at each location.
Hua Hin beach is the busiest beach that’s frequented by both local and international tourists. Along this beach you’ll find pony rides and kite flying.
Cha Am is less touristy than other beaches. This peaceful spot is a favourite among locals and you’ll likely find them just relaxing by the beach under the shade of a palm tree.
Khao Takiab beach is not as busy as Hua Hin’s, but can be quite packed during the holiday period. It’s notably near the Monkey Mountain and you may even see some monkeys dropping by for a quick soak.
Last but not least is Pranburi. The beach is about a 30 minute drive from Hua Hin but it’s worth the drive if you’re looking for some peace and quiet. Dotted along the beach are hotels that offer guests a beautiful view of the beach.
Fly direct to Hua Hin with AirAsia.
AirAsia will offer travellers direct flights to Hua Hin with the travel period between May 18 till Oct 26. For more information, go to the AirAsia website.