Best Hotels in Hua Hin and Things to Do
Mentioning Thailand in any crowd or conversation and chances are most will be ready to respond with stories of their adventurous holidays on the country’s island shores, hiking in rain forests, scuba diving off colourful reefs, late nights in Bangkok and, maybe even have a tattoo to prove it. Those who cannot talk along will immediately confirm their intent to go there very soon. Thailand certainly is a fascinating place to visit with ancient cities revealing the country’s age-old history, it has many islands to explore and temples, palaces and statues dot the capital Bangkok.
For most people who visit Thailand, Bangkok is usually their first stop for a few days shopping in the famous markets before they start their journey either by flying or traveling over-land by bus and then by boat to the most popular and well known locations such as Phuket, Koh Samui or Phi Phi islands.
But a mere 190 kilometers south of Bangkok, so close you can take a taxi and be there in less than 2 hours is a place which is fast becoming one of the most popular locations and best places in Thailand to spend a holiday. Yet, many of the country’s 22 000 000 annual visitors still need to discover and experience Thailand’s royal Town, Hua Hin .
Why you should visit Hua Hin
Hua Hin (pronounced Wa Heen) has been the holiday destination of choice for royalty and affluent Thais as far back as the early 20th century. Apart from enjoying its own micro climate which makes it a nice location weather-wise even during the monsoon season when hotel accommodation is cheaper and, being conveniently close to a major centre like Bangkok, the area also possess many of the attractions of other locations all rolled into one cool package by perfectly combining vibrant urban living with the charms of a small Oriental seaside village.
Hua Hin’s primary sandy white beach stretches for countless kilometers from north to east. In addition you can take a car and go discover more pristine beaches and small coves where you can spend hours in total seclusion all within a 45 minute drive from the town centre and, if your holiday plans included kicking back on an idyllic island you can have that too.
A short 40 minute drive outside Hua Hin is Prachuabkirikhan where you can hop on a boat and be on Koh Talu Island within 20 minutes. Koh Talu is surrounded by water clear as glass in which to snorkel and view colourful coral and its beaches are the purest white. Also very close by are places like Dolphin Beach which is largely free of mass tourism which has seen the area retain is natural beauty and tropical charms. There are a few resorts here if you want to stay just outside Hua Hin to enjoy some seclusion. You can even walk from the beach and follow a hiking trail in the national Park called Sam Roi Yot or go explore small islands by kayak a stone’s throw from the beach.
In down-town Hua Hin narrow winding streets along the shorefront offers a quaint nightlife where you will find great restaurants, beer bars and vendors vying for your business. The town has an assortment of markets, at one of which you can have your lobster and other seafood grilled on a BBQ while you watch before setting off to test your negotiating skills at the many stalls selling all kinds of items from clothes to handcraft.
This is also undisputedly one of the best family friendly places to visit in Thailand where the attractions and exciting things to do will see to the thrills and spills of any adventure seeker. On the beach, right in front of some of the best beach hotels in Hua Hin children can enjoy pony rides or banana boat rides in the shallow water and with conditions being absolutely perfect there are also several kite surfing schools, not to mention some world class golf courses.
The Best Hotels in Hua Hin
You will find the assortment of 5 star hotels in Hua Hin rival the very best anywhere in Thailand and in fact in the world. Most of these are located directly on the beach and so central you can walk almost anywhere you want to be while some are on quieter beaches where you can enjoy lots of personal space and tranquility.
The luxury Centara Grand Beach Resort is listed as one of the leading hotels of the world. It is located directly on the main beach and surrounded by all the town has to offer. It is also one of the best family friendly hotels in Hua Hin which has a kids club to amuse children and its facilities include beachfront pools, tennis courts, a pampering spa and even putting greens to name only a few.
Right next door is Centara’s neighbor, the 5 star Hilton Hotel which, due to it towering 20 floors high, offers amazing views of the Gulf of Siam. Elegant rooms are simply enormous and the hotel’s facilities world class.
Putahracsa Beach Resort is just outside the town’s bustle on a tranquil part of the beach and one of the best pool villas resorts in Hua Hin where you can have your own private pool right on the beach.
A little further north from Putahracsa and 5 minutes’ drive outside the town centre is The Sheraton Beach Resort and Spa located in quieter surroundings on a long flat beach. It has what must be one of the biggest, if not the biggest seaside pool in Thailand meandering through the resort premises. Like Centara Grand Beach Resort, this is also one of the best places to stay in Hua Hin for families since it offers a kids club with an entertainment program for children, a kid’s pool and often have special deals for families with children enjoying free lunch or dinner.
Approximately 7 kilometers to the south where Hua Hin Beach merges with Takiab Beach the setting of the Hyatt Regency Beach Resort is incredibly exotic with its manicured tropical gardens dotted with palm trees, pools and water features which spill onto the white sand. A little further down the restful Takiab Beach is Amari Beach Resort. The resort is particularly popular for families with children since it offers a two bedroom suite.
Things to see and do
Apart from the famous beaches the entire area has a wealth of recreational opportunities and things to see to keep your days occupied. The Black Mountain Water Park is a great outing for families featuring pools, water slides, artificial beach and even cable wake boarding.
A leisurely drive along the coast brings you to Sam Roi Yot national park where you can explore caves, kayak and hike in the forest. Also make sure you visit Pala-U waterfall. Getting there is part of the fun since the winding road through Hua Hin’s signature hills is very scenic nd you can stop at some really cool little restaurants along the way.
If you like a little history, visit Klai Kangwon Palace which was the residence of King Rama VI and “Plearnwan” which is sort of a museum depicting the town as it was more than 100 years ago.
The artist village is also worth a visit where you can try your hand at painting and pottery, support the local talent or just sit down for a beer and listen to some live tunes. There is also an elephant village and Hua Hin Hills is a quality wine producing estate where you can go pick your own grapes on elephant back before trying out their restaurant. And if you thought it was only Bangkok which can boat famous floating markets, think again. Hua Hin has two located right next to each other.
This article has been contributed by George Conradie who has been calling Hua Hin his home for the past 4 years. He works as a hotel accommodation booking consultant for hotels across Thailand and enjoys sharing information about the country with anyone who plans to visit.