This is the oldest seaside resort in the country and located on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand, 130 miles from Bangkok. An ancient fishing village that became popular as a seaside resort in the 20's thanks to the construction of a station, a golf course and the summer palace of Emperor Rama VI, Hua Hin rapidly became a favoured destination for Thai aristocracy. The colonial railway hotel which was built during that era still stands today and is now the Sofitel Hotel. The Klai Kangwon palace, which means "far away from any worries", is still used by the King's family (and is open to the public when it is unoccupied).
Hua Hin is primarily a very popular holiday destination for Thais due to its proximity to Bangkok. It is also very popular among British tourists. Despite having a lovely, wide beach, compared to the other picture-postcard beaches in the country, Hua Hin has one major disadvantage: the seafront is overbuilt and covered in concrete. There goes the wild and beautiful surroundings for you!
As far as activities are concerned, you can enjoy any form of water sport you should wish to partake in. In the evening, we recommend that you head for the night market, although it's not quite as big as the one in Bangkok, it's just as authentic.
Make sure you check out the Royal Palace, formerly King Rama VI's summer residence. Designed by an Italian architect, this double storey palace made of teak wood and gold has been dubbed the 'palace of love and hope'. Group visits require special authorisation. Nature lovers should opt for a visit to Kaeng Krachan National Park, the biggest of its kind in Thailand, some 40 miles to the north-west of Hua Hin. It extends all the way to the border with Burma and is a fantastic place for bird watching. Some 40 miles from Hua Hin, at Sam Roi National Park, with its 300 summits, you can spot numerous migratory birds and indigenous species. The departure point for these bird watching excursions is the small village of Ban Khao Daeng. If bird watching isn't your thing though, you can go on an excursion to discover three caves, one of which houses a pavilion built by King Rama V in 1890.
Hua Hin railway station is definitely worth a visit as it is one of the most original in Thailand. If you want to get a real feel for the town, we recommend that you visit the night market or stroll through the narrow streets in the town's centre where you will find numerous bars. In the market, you will find all sorts of souvenirs, clothes and culinary specialties. If you feel like 'getting high', head for the Mirror Mountain, in the north of the city. At the summit, you will find a much revered monastery. After having climbed the 395 steps that lead up to the pagoda, you can enjoy gorgeous views of the valley, the coastline, the sea and the countryside.
Playing golf is a healthy and enjoyable way to spend your time in Hua Hin. There are numerous golf courses around the city centre, including the first ever golf course in Thailand, the Royal Hua Hin Golf, which was built in 1924. Indeed, there are no less than 7 golf courses located at half an hour's drive from the centre of Hua Hin.
Women are not allowed to touch the monks, who consider this an insult. Neither do they take kindly to being photographed whilst praying. It is important to observe the dress code when entering temples, and you are required to remove your shoes and wear a long-sleeved T-shirt at the very least.
If you are into spicy dishes, you will love the Thai cuisine, which features a marvellous blend of flavours and scents. Why not try the traditional tom yam soups? Fruit lovers will be thrilled, the pineapple is delicious and succulent and you will be hard pushed to find more 'local' products than the rambutan (hairy fruit that resembles a lychee) or the mangosteen fruit with its granny apple flavour.
Rice alcohol is a fitting souvenir but the most typical product of the region is definitely fabric. If you plan on staying for a couple of days, you can have tailor-made suits and dresses made for you at unbeatable prices. Wooden decorative objects are also on offer in the night market.
The Dusit Thani Hua Hin has everything of a luxury resort about ...