Hua Hin & Cha Am
Hua Hin Beach Vacations
I had never heard of Hua Hin before we decided, on a stiflingly hot night in Bangkok, to head south to the beach. The few locals we quizzed on where to go unanimously favoured Hua Hin, adding that it’s the summer residence of the King of Thailand. Feeling royal, we hopped on the next morning’s train.
The King’s summer palace is beautifully named Phra Ratchawang Klai Kangwon which means Far from Worries Palace. Far from worries is how I felt, gazing out at the streets of Hua Hin town center from the back of an overcrowded taxi as we travelled away from the lively cosmopolitan center towards the never-ending expanse of the sea.
We dropped our bags with the late night concierge and ran straight down to the beach, eager to wash the residue of the city and a testing train journey off our skin. The entire stretch of pristine beach, curving off into the distance as far as the eye could see, was empty with only the glow from the moon and the stars showing us where the gently lapping sea began.
The next morning the spell was still unbroken. The tide on Hua Hin beach comes right up to the steps of the beachfront hotels and goes out far enough to reveal a massive stretch of clean, white, glittering sand which, for the most part, is quiet and still.
Hua Hin is the perfect mix of lively city center and tranquil beach. A favourite weekend spot for Thais eager to escape the heat of the big city, the center of Hua Hin town is home to a fantastic night market full of handcrafted souvenirs and delicious Thai street food. The cuisine in Hua Hin is of the standard you’d expect from the original seaside getaway spot with no shortage of Thai and Chinese restaurants serving up a vast array of seafood – so fresh it’s still moving- from the fishermans village at the end of the beach. Head to the village yourself to sample the morning’s catch alongside the fishermen and their families.
For more European tastes, seek out the Italian deli for a breakfast of incredible coffee and pastries, spend an afternoon at Hua Hin’s very own vineyard, dine that evening at the exclusive French brasserie and indulge in a few after dinner steins at one of the town’s German watering holes.
If you’re a keen golfer I’m sure you already know that Hua Hin is home to one of Thailand’s premier golf courses, Black Mountain, and while your other half is off perfecting his or her swing, watersports, bike tours and horseback riding can all be arranged.
For a moment of serenity visit Wat Huay Mongkol, home to the largest statue of famous monk Luang Phor Thuat in Thailand, or climb the hundreds of steps up to a Buddhist temple built high on Takiab Hill. Keep your pockets zipped and your bags clasped though as the hill is home to a population of monkeys renowned for helping themselves to your lunch.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be tackling first things first and planning a day spent entirely around the pool and bar area of your resort. The only fitting start to a vacation in Hua Hin, in my opinion, involves a glass of champagne, a king prawn salad and a full body Thai aromatherapy massage. For exquisite luxury, sample these delights at the beachfront resorts of Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Dusit Thani and Aleenta Hua Hin.
Tropical Sky client Peter Lambert says: “When traveling from Bangkok to Hua Hin, I decided rather than to hire a driver it would be more fun to travel by rail, experience a Thai train and see some of the country I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Hualampong Railway Station, other than being an interesting place to visit whilst in the capital, is the integral middle point for all rail travel in Thailand. You can also travel to Malaysia, Singapore and up north as far as Chiang Mai from here. Travel on Thai trains are split into three classes: first, second and third. I headed for first class which was roomy and comfortable. There are also different categories of train that travel at different speeds – so check this out before you travel. My journey was beautiful and interesting. With a little effort before setting off this is a great way to travel round Thailand.”
More information and to book: Hua Hin vacations will make you want to stay for as long as you can.