Located just a three-hour drive from Bangkok, Hua Hin has—for a long time now—been a go-to getaway spot for city dwellers seeking beachfront bliss. If you prefer not worrying about ferry crossings or airport hassles, and you shun the casino atmosphere of nearby Pattaya, then this sleepy seaside city might be just what you’re after.
Although Hua Hin was a thriving fishing village for many generations, around 1911 Prince Nares ordered the creation of a royal residence here called Saen Samran. Soon the area became a hotbed for high-class construction, as Bangkok’s wealthy class began to build bungalows along the beach. In turn, Hua Hin became Thailand’s first true resort town.
In 1923, in neighbouring Cha-Am, the golden teakwood Mrigadayavan Palace was built, and when Klai Kangwon Royal Palace—HM the King’s summer residence—was completed during the reign of King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) in 1933, Hua Hin’s status as a “royal retreat” was firmly cemented in place. The town that grew up around these noble landmarks continues to attract both holiday makers and (more recently) property investors.
For the frugal-minded, many small and medium-sized low-cost guesthouses can be found scattered throughout the downtown core. Meanwhile, the many captivating boutique hotels—such as the elegant Devasom Hua Hin Resort, or the Morrocan-themed Marrakesh Hua HIn Resort—offer charming romantic getaways, while the grand luxury hotels—such as the Wora Bura Hua HIn Resort & Spa and the Intercontinental Hua Hin Resort—offer swaths of pristine beachfront
and all the amenities one can dream of.
The area has also become a booming locale for housing and condo developments, especially in the hills to the West of the main highway. Retirees—especially expats from Northern European countries—have certainly staked their claim in Hua Hin, and many own homes and businesses here. But that’s not to say that the town is a sleepy seniors’ village with ocean
views. In fact, the burgeoning art and café scene is full of creative young Thai entrepreneurs, many of whom have set up shop here to escape the rat race in Bangkok (where the rats are real!). In addition, the number of funky beach clubs has grown—last year the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin unveiled its sister venue, The Wave Beach Club—and for beer lovers the long-standing Hua Hin Brewing Company operates a marvelous pub and micro-brewery (on the ground floor of the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa).
Of course, for vacationers this part of Thailand will always be an easy access destination offering sun, sea, sand, and mountains of seafood—especially at the lively Hua Hin Night Market that runs every day from 5pm till approximately 11pm. Add to that numerous golf courses, family-friendly attractions, and restaurants to suit every taste, and it’s easy to see why Hua Hin is such a fail-safe for hassle-free holidays.