The coastal city of Hua Hin, a three-hour drive from Bangkok, lets you indulge in some relaxing downtime by the beach, easy hikes that treat you with breathtaking sights, and marvellous Thai cuisine — all with little to no (rowdy) crowds.
Here are a few must-visit spots so you’ll find happiness in the Land of Smiles. Before we begin, be advised that tuk-tuks are not as easily available as in Bangkok. So, you can either get around by taxi or by simply hiring a tour guide.
1. Hua Hin Railway Station
Start your day with a journey back in time at the Hua Hin Railway Station. Built in 1921 to provide access from Bangkok, the station boosted the city’s economy as locals and expatriates used it as a hub to travel to and from Singapore and Penang for vacations.
As King Rama VI, who helmed the railway project, turned Hua Hin into a his family seaside getaway with the construction of Klai Kangwon Palace, it was only natural to build a royal waiting room at the station — one of the city’s best attractions.
Opening Hours: 7am – 11pm, Daily
Click here to look for hotels around Hua Hin railway station.
2. Plearnwan Vintage Village
Located three kilometres away from the station is where you’ll find all sorts of trinkets and old treasures.
True to its name, Plearnwan, translated as ‘play and learn yesterday’, gives you a glimpse of Hua Hin’s glory years as it serves as a living museum with architecture based on villages of Hua Hin’s past.
Offerings include apparel, toys, homemade food and LP records. There’s even a pharmacy selling herbs and roots still being used by baby boomers to treat illnesses. In other words, the perfect place to cross off your souvenir list.
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm, Daily
Click here to look for hotels around Plearnwan Vintage Village.
3. Tamarind Market
As the sun sets, make your way to Tamarind Market for a relaxing evening filled with mouth-watering traditional fare. For added fun, sing along to familiar numbers belted out by buskers!
The operators also serve international favourites like pizzas, honey BBQ ribs, pasta and sushi. Seats are aplenty and the prices won’t break your bank.
Opening hours: 5pm – 11pm, Thursday till Sunday
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4. Cicada Market
Energy restored, enjoy a stroll at Cicada Market located next to Tamarind. Other than the glorious Thai food and drink selection, the market hosts art exhibitions featuring works by local artists such as illustrations, portraits, paintings, photos and sculptures.
The market uses a coupon system for food and drinks. But don’t worry, unused coupons can be reimbursed.
Opening Hours: 4pm – 11pm, Friday & Saturday;
4pm – 10pm, Sunday
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5. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
For nature lovers and hikers, this place is gold. If you’re staying in a hotel, make full use of the hotel breakfast buffet and chomp down as much carbs as you can before hiking Khao Dang Viewpoint in search of the iconic golden pavilion nestled inside the Phraya Nakhon Cave — all within the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park about 60 kilometres from the city.
The 20-minute hike to Khao Dang Viewpoint is recommended to anyone in decent shape as it takes you through lush greenery teeming with wildlife. The viewpoint treats hikers with astonishing views of the Gulf of Thailand.
After a quick snack, continue the hike to Phraya Nakhon Cave. For those who want to skip the longer trek, just hop on a boat (THB400 per boat) that takes you straight to the starting point to climb up to the cave.
It takes almost two hours for a regular person to reach the golden pavilion, but it is truly a sight to behold. Park entrance is priced at THB200.
What better way to sum up your trip at the great outdoors than to catch the sunset from a gazebo floating on a vast lotus pond at the Bueng Bua Nature Education Centre. Rest assured, it will be one of the most beautiful sceneries you’ll ever experience.
Top tip: Visit when the pink flowers bloom from December until March. The centre closes at 5pm, but the pond is located in front of it and is accessible at all times.
Opening hours: 8am – 3.30pm, Daily
Click here to look for hotels around Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
6. Monsoon Valley Vineyard
After a well-deserved Thai massage and good night’s sleep, celebration beckons. Set your watch to wine o’clock at Monsoon Valley Vineyard, 40 kilometres away from the seaside city.
Since its first grape seed was planted, the vineyard has produced a number of award-winning wines, served at leading restaurants and hotels in Thailand.
Enjoy a breath of fresh air in the countryside filled with an endless flow of tasty wines and great company, the best pairing of them all.
Opening hours: 9am – 8pm, Daily
Click here to look for hotels around Monsoon Valley Vineyard.
7. Santorini Park Cha-Am
Extend the holiday cheer with a trip to Greece … in Hua Hin! Santorini Park Cha-Am captures the picture-perfect Greek island’s essence down to the last detail.
Classic whitewashed walls and the blue domes will definitely fool your social media circle. Ultimately, it’s an amusement park complete with amazing games for the entire family. The entrance fee is THB150.
Opening hours: 10am – 7pm, Monday till Friday;
9am – 7pm, Saturday & Sunday
Click here to look for hotels around Santorini Park Cha-Am.
8. Camel Republic
A three-minute drive from Santorini Park takes you to Camel Republic, another mini amusement park that includes a zoo which houses, you guessed it, camels as well as giraffes, alpacas, bunnies and birds like flamingos.
You may feed ALL the residents for that extra mile on your photos. Entrance fee is priced at THB150.
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm, Monday till Friday;
9am – 6.30pm, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday
Closed every Wednesday
Click here to look for hotels around Camel Republic.
9. Chatsila & Chatchai Night Markets
Last-minute souvenir shopping is a must at every trip. In Hua Hin, the best places to be are Chatsila & Chatchai Night Markets. From handmade clothing to home decor items, you will be spoilt for choice. If you find yourself in Chatsila Night Market, be sure to visit the 100-year-old wooden bungalow that has been transformed into a gallery showcasing rare photos and items from Hua Hin’s past.
Chatsila & Chatchai Night Markets
Opening hours: 6pm – 11pm, Daily
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10. Beaches of Your Choice
Nestled on the West of the Gulf of Thailand, the city has been blessed with an endless stretch of beautiful beaches. Not only you will find these beautiful stretches in Hua Hin, but you can also opt for other options like in Cha am, Khao Takiab and Pranburi, to name a few. What better way to sum up your trip than to simply catch the sunrise in the Land of Smiles before your flight home.
Click here to look for hotels around Hua Hin beaches.
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies to Thailand. Book your tickets now at airasia.com.