Cool cafés, groovy galleries, and hipster hang out spots on Hua Hin’s Naeb Kehardt Road
In Hua Hin you’ll find a large percentage of the tourist traffic congregating around the train station, night market, Soi 57, and Poon Suk Road, however there’s something a little more “alternative” in store if you head over to Naeb Kehardt Road—which runs exactly parallel to the beach and attracts a somewhat younger crowd of teens and trend-setters.
The “cool” stretch of the street is anchored by two hotel properties—the sleek and chic Putahracsa Hua Hin at Soi Neab Kehardt Soi 3—home to the Oceanside Beach Club & Restaurant—and the Chinese-style Baan Talay Chine Resort at the northernmost end of the street. In-between these two landmarks java junkies can check in at any one of the numerous coffee shops. Velo Café is run by young baristas who are also bicycle enthusiasts, while Two Beds and a Coffee Machine (on Hua Hin Soi 43 side street) is a tiny but tantalizing coffee shop specializing in single origin roasts from Mae Jam, in Thailand’s Lampang province. Also noteworthy are the Hua Hin Town Café and Icy Beans, which veers more towards the iced coffee spectrum. For sweet treats try Eighteen Below, an artisanal ice cream shop that also doles out super-rich cakes and brownies, or drop in on the newly opened White Home Café which has a bit of everything (sweets, teas, coffees, and more).
For fans of traditional Thai food, try the dtam sang lunch at Ratama restaurant, and feast on specialties such as chicken soup, shrimp curry, spicy minced pork with basil, and braised duck in fragrant spices. Another great place for a midday meal is Baan Thong Kam, where spicy som tam, sticky rice, BBQ chicken, and other meat dishes are the order of the day. Another neighbourhood favourite is Baan Itsara, which some say is the best Thai food in town.
For more international dining, Mooz offers traditional Thai as well as Halal dishes, Ob-Oon is a “boulangerie et patisserie”, and for imbibers the Dune Hotel’s stylish bar and restaurant offers a wide-ranging menu, as well as plenty of drink specials. Another drink spot is the Wine House Bar & Bistro which specializes, not surprisingly, in wine. But if you’re after a casual outdoor setting overlooking the waves, take the Soi 51 side street that leads to Coco 51 and enjoy a couple of sundowners in the fresh briny air.
Directly across the road from Coco 51 is the Green Gallery Boutique Hotel, where individually artist-designed rooms are set inside a classic teakwood bungalow separated into three zones. The property also maintains a restaurant and an art gallery, much like the nearby Chub Cheeva, located back on the main road. Here diners can choose from a menu that includes Thai dishes, sweet drinks, and desserts, while enjoying the eclectically decorated courtyard and funky artworks in the adjacent gallery.
See and Be SeenSpace
Since its official debut in the spring of 2016, SeenSpace Hua Hin—a beachfront community mall and hipster hang out zone located north of the main downtown area (13/14, Hua Hin Soi 35)—has been steadily growing, both in terms of visitors and the number of stores and restaurants setting up shop within this cool complex. The overall laid-back vibe here exemplifies the owners’ philosophy of ‘Eat, Lay, and Play’, creating a chilled out environment that all can enjoy. If you’re familiar with the original SeenSpace on Thong Lor, in Bangkok, you find this sister venue a little bit “same same, but different”.
For shopping there are plenty of options including Seek 35, a multi-purpose store featuring over 200 brands of trendy and chic clothing, paired accessories, home décor, organic items, and more. For fashionistas the popular Thai designers Sretsis have a boutique here, decorated in tropical splendor with a tike and mermaid motif, while vinyl junkies and bookworms will love Virus, a studio space with records, CDs, and books for sale, alongside rare craft beers (they also offer entertainment, with DJ Dr. Doom spinning records all night long).
For the hungry hordes there are literally dozens of eateries to choose from, offering everything from burgers, pastas, and ice cream, to Thai specialties of all kinds. For imbibing there is a HOBS (House of Beers) outlet here—designed with a nautical theme and including a terrace that stretches out into the ocean—but perhaps the most eye-catching drink spot is Oasis (above), an infinity pool bar overlooking the ocean that offers panoramic views, loungers and day beds of all shapes and sizes, live music from renowned DJs, and plenty of food and drink.
SeenSpace Hua Hin is open daily from 10am till 10pm.