Hua Hin is a coastal town in central Thailand and is one of eight districts that make up Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. This famous beach resort town is approximately 200 km south of the Thai capital, Bangkok. It is a popular weekend getaway amongst Thai people, and a favourite spot of successive Monarchs.
It is a popular destination with foreign tourists, especially those with families, or those looking for a more peaceful experience than is offered by other well known cities such as Pattaya and Bangkok. Hua Hin is also home to a growing community of expat workers and retirees, attracted by its beautiful location, modern infrastructure, huge selection of real estate opportunities and the visitor friendly attitude of its native community.
The climate in this part of Thailand is tropical, but Hua Hin is often much cooler and more pleasant than other parts of Thailand due to the wonderful cooling breezes blowing inland from the Gulf of Thailand. The cool season between November and February is the most pleasant time of year, while the wet season, generally between May and October (October is usually the wettest month) experiences short, heavy outbursts of rain followed by hot sunshine. Average daily high temperatures are between 29°C and 33°C, depending on the time of year. Again, the cooling sea breezes make for very pleasant evenings under the stars with comfortable temperatures.
Hua Hin is very well served by both public and private transportation. You can get here from Bangkok by bus, taxi or minivan, or you can even take the train directly to Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station. If you plan to travel further south of Hua Hin, transportation is easily booked when you are actually on the ground in Thailand. There is no need to book ahead except during one of the Thai public holidays when residents of Bangkok will often flock to the coast to escape the noise and pollution of the bustling capital. If you plan to live here, Thai driver’s licenses are easily obtained and cars and motorcycles easily purchased. I will explain this process in a future article.
Hua Hin is itself a fairly new town. Although named in 1834, and frequented by the upper echelons of Thai society, the town only became popular as a tourist destination after the opening in the early 20th century of the state southern railway allowed more people to visit for short holidays.
Hua Hin is home to many beautiful and interesting historic buildings. The old Railway hotel (now the Sofitel) was featured in the film ‘The Killing Fields’, and there are many stunning Buddhist temples to visit, including Wat Huay Mongkol, which is situated 10 km to the west of Hua Hin.
There are also many incredible areas of natural beauty that can be easily reached from Hua Hin. Kaeng Krachan national park, situated in nearby Phetchaburi Province is at 2,915 square kilometers Thailand’s largest national park, and is just 60 kilometers to the west of Hua Hin. Well worth a day trip or you can rent a bungalow for a few days, or even hire a guide and trek through the forest, camping overnight.
If you’re a sporty type, Hua Hin is also a great place to live or visit. Golfers are spoilt for choice with world class courses in the district. Anglers, wake boarding enthusiasts and kite surfers are also well catered for.
Shopaholics are very well served in Hua Hin. As well as two floating markets, there are many outlets offering locally made products and international brand names. European and American foods can be purchased at Tesco Lotus or Villa supermarkets.
The nightlife in Hua Hin caters for every taste. Although quieter than many Thai tourist destinations, there are hundreds of excellent restaurants in the district serving both Thai and foreign food. The freshly caught and landed seafood available in this coastal town is a great attraction for seafood lovers. There are also plenty of bars providing live music 365 days a year, and some very lively discotheques where you can party the night away with the friendly, welcoming locals.
All told, Hua Hin is a wonderful place to visit or live. If none of the above activities interest you, how about learning to cook Thai food? Courses are offered by numerous establishments in town, or you could even take a crash course in Thai language. The proud locals will be genuinely impressed if you make the attempt to learn their language and a few language schools offer very reasonably priced short or long term Thai courses.
Accommodation in Hua Hin need not be a problem. As well as the many guest houses and hotels in and around the town, long term rentals are also available in every price range. For those that wish to make Hua Hin their home, properties are also available to purchase at amazing prices compared to the western world. A small condo overlooking the beach can be bought for as little as 1 million Baht! More palatial properties can also be purchased in the hills around Hua Hin or on one of the golf course complexes in the district.
If this general overview of our wonderful town has you interested in coming to visit or live here, please read on as I will be going into more depth about the attractions, amenities and way of life here in Hua Hin.