Guest Post by George Conradie:
I bet there will be a many reading this and think, “I have been to Thailand, but I do not know Hua Hin” or, “I have heard of it, but not sure where it is exactly.” Just 200 kilometers south of Bangkok on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand lies Hua Hin, pronounced ‘Wah Heen’, delighting visitors with friendly warmth and gracious hospitality for a number of years already in a town that still retains its age old Thai charm.
It is over the past 8 years or so that this lovely coastal village really made its presence known on the international tourism scene. Recently it has even been mentioned as one of the top 10 fastest growing international travel destinations by one of the biggest online travel websites. As a resident of Hua Hin I can bear witness to this growth with the area visibly expanding year over year. Where once was only open land, new hotels and beach resorts are appearing; tourist numbers are rising steadily. And a large expat community has already settled here. The real estate market is one of the most attractive in Thailand. Apart from its close proximity to Bangkok, there are many other factors that can be attributed to Hua Hin’s growing popularity.
One of the primary reasons is because Hua Hin is such a family friendly destination. Hua Hin is a treasure chest of attractions and activities for all ages. Children can enjoy pony rides on the beach, banana boat riding and an enormous water park featuring slides, pools and even cable wake boarding. A short scenic drive outside the town center is the Pala-U waterfall and approximately 90 minutes away is the incredibly beautiful Sam Roi Yot national park open for visitors year round.
Elephant camps offering jungle treks is a big attraction and boat tours to great snorkeling locations are offered daily. It is even possible to travel from the town center by car to Prachaubkirikhan approximately 150 kilometers away, hop on a boat for 30 minutes and stay one or two nights on a nearby island called Koh Talu. For the adventure seekers, kite boarding is big in Hua Hin and several kite-boarding schools are available for the novices. Golfing is also big in Hua Hin with the area boasting top-notch 18-hole golf courses and golf resorts. If you though you have to travel far to shop at a floating market, Hua Hin has a treat for you in this department also since it now features ot only one, but two floating markets right next to each other.
Hua Hin also feature quite a number of markets where you can shop and bargain for clothes, souvenirs, handy craft, leather accessories and everything else you can think of. All of these are centrally located and easily accessible. The latest addition to the market scene is Cicada market.The market has a lovely and relaxed atmosphere with an artistic twist to it. Trees are full of lights, artists entertain with dance moves and sons on a big cement stage and vendors serves finger linking good meals while you watch all the activity go by.
Hua Hin is also famous for its wealth of restaurants. At the markets, you can pick your seafood fresh from the ice and watch while they grill it right next to your table. Some of the very popular seafood restaurants are located on the pier. It is simply fantastic to dine in the open air with the sound of the waves in the back ground. Hua Hin does have a nightlife featuring innumerable bars, a club or two, some really cool wine and beer bars. However, for those who know Patong in Phuket, this is not it. Instead, it is much more family friendly orientated with an absence of a loud party culture and raunchy activities.
One of the highlights of Hua Hin is it’s weather. The area has its own micro climate given it’s location between the ocean and rolling hills flanking it’s rear. With the exception of March and April, it is very seldom too hot. Severe weather conditions like often experienced elsewhere in Thailand does not happen in Hua Hin and there are never any floods.
Leaving the most important for last is the fabulous hotels and beach resort accommodation in Hua Hin. Hua Hin’s beaches are numerous. The main beach stretches for 8 kilometers from where the Hilton Hotel and Sofitel Centara is located to where it becomes Takiab Beach and ending against a rocky outcrop which also serves as a great view point and feature an enormous Buddha statue. The beaches are flat and shelves slowly making it perfectly safe for swimming.
At the other end is the small town of Cha-am, where the locals are of the opinion that their several kilometer long beaches are even better than in Hua Hin. Along this pristine ocean front, accommodation fit for any budget and every requirement is available. From romantic private pool villa hide-outs to family friendly venues, Hua Hin does not stand back one inch for for any of its competitors. If you want to be on the ocean front while at the same time being within walking distance of Hua Hin’s town attractions, then The Hilton, Sofitel Centara and The Marriott are good choices. Anantara and Sheraton is not too far out either, but you will need a tuk tuk or taxi into the town centre.
George Conradie lives in Thailand where he works in the travel industry. George writes articles for several websites including hotelsphuket.travel which offer a booking service for those much desired top hotels Phuket offers and also for thebesthotelsinthailand.com, another service provider offering a booking service for luxury five star accommodation in Phuket and destinations in Thailand like Hua Hin, Koh Samui and Krabi and all other populat Thailand vacation destinations.
images via BestHotelsinThailand.com