- Palms, pools and pampering
- Serene city-side hills
- Salubrious honeymoon hideaway
- Secluded Pranburi sands
- Asian austerity
- Seaside serenity
- Balearic comfort
- Middle of Hua Hin old town
Hua Hin Overview
- Royal Riviera
- City life
- Sassy society sunspot
A couple of hours south of bustling Bangkok, the laid-back resort town of Hua Hin has been a Thai weekender’s favourite ever since the royal family started heading here back in the 1920s.
Of course, the rest of society followed suit. Enchanted by the feather-soft, white-powder beach, successive monarchs built summer palaces in and around what was once a small village on the Gulf of Thailand’s north-west coast. Since then, Hua Hin has grown into a peaceful paradise of seaside chic, with manicured golf courses, world-class spas, sleek hotels and a smattering of appetising seafood restaurants both here and in smaller neighbour Cha-Am. After enduring the frenetic urban hum of Bangkok, it’s the perfect escape for some lazy beach-based bliss.
Highly Hua Hin
Spend any time in Hua Hin and you’ll realise that, apart from the beach and the spas, the real reason so many people flock to the city is its great golfing. Hua Hin has not one, nor two, but eight world-class golf courses, all open to the public (for a small greens fee, naturally). The oldest is the 18-hole Royal Hua Hin Golf Club (+66 (0)32 512 475), located very centrally behind the station. If you want something newer, head to the Springfield Royal Country Club (+66 (0)32 593 223). Its Jack Nicklaus–designed course is a favourite among pros and passionate amateurs alike.
- There are usually plenty of taxis and songtaews (small pick-up trucks) parked in the centre of town, but you’ll need to negotiate a flat rate with the drivers first. If you have the nerve, rattling motorbike taxis are a racier option. However, unless you want to wander further afield, you can easily navigate this small town on foot.
- Tipping culture
- Restaurants and bars usually add a 10 per cent service charge, although staff may not see any of this. Tip when service merits it.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Not wanting to miss the potential custom of the wealthy Thais who flock to Hua Hin, shops and banks open on time, usually around 10am, and close around sunset. Some cafés and restaurants kick off as early as 8am to serve the breakfast crowd, while Hua Hin’s Night Market caters to hunger pangs.
- Packing tips
- Arty agnès B linens for blending in with the smart set.
- Recommended reads
- Since you’re lounging where Thai royals like to relax, prepare for your trip with a book that features one of them. Anna and the King of Siam, by Margaret Landon, is the novel which inspired the famous movie The King and I. Don’t bring it with you though – it’s banned in Thailand for being culturally offensive. Four Reigns by Kukrit Pramoj follows the ficticious life of one woman witnessing the rule of successive kings.
- Like most beach towns in Thailand, Hua Hin boasts tantalisingly tasty seafood, often prepared in simple curries, grilled or deep-fried and served with sweet-spicy sauces. Head to Hua Hin pier or Khao Takiab fishing village further south for the freshest finds. Naresdarmi Road is home to the best authentic Thai; try hoy tod, or oyster omelettes. Mango sticky rice (khao niew mamuang) is also a highly prized local dish, sold by two warring vendors at the night bazaar.
- Thai baht. £1 is approximately THB50.
- Time zone
- Country code for Thailand: 66; Hua Hin is 032. Drop the ‘0’ if dialling from overseas.
- Dialling codes
- GMT + 7 hours
- Do go/don't go
- Although it’s drier than much of the country during monsoon season (June–October), this region is best visited from November to March, when it’s sunny by day and often cool at night. Hua Hin, like Bangkok, gets horribly hot between April and May. Even worse than the heat, though, are the traffic jams on Fridays and Saturdays; head to Hua Hin on a weekday and you’ll have the whole place to yourself.
Don't go home without...
paying a visit to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard (www.huahinhillsvineyard.com), west of town, where elephants are employed to help cultivate the vines. The Sala restaurant is a smart spot for lunch with fabulous vistas over the winery.