Hua Hin was Thailand’s first ever seaside holiday destination, with the country’s first resort, the Railway Hotel, built here over 90 years and it remains a favourite for Thai locals and international tourists alike. Here are our 10 best things to do in Hua Hin.
1.Visit Wat Hua Hin, light some incense and pray for good fortune. Hua Hin’s most important temple was built during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V)
2.Take in the sights, sounds and smells of Chat Chai market which sells everything from fresh vegetables, all manner of seafood to local handicrafts and school uniforms. Be sure to quench your thirst with a fresh coconut, usually around 20 Baht ($1).
3.Take a selfie outside the old Royal Waiting Room at Hua Hin Train Station which opened in 1911 and still holds its colonial charm. This grand-looking building that was used to welcome the King and his court when they visited the town.
4.Go for a horse ride along the beach. At the entrance to the main beach area you’ll find ponies and horses of all sizes, available for hire for a walk or a trot along the white sandy beach.
5.Get your adrenalin pumping at Vana Nava Water Jungle, one of the largest water parks in Thailand, which also boasts the largest and longest water slides. As well as the thrills, there are water play areas for littlies and a unique ‘Aquacourse’, a course of ropes and challenging obstacles, combined with water guns.
6.Step back in time with a visit to Mrigadayavan Palace, the Summer Palace of King Rama VI. The Palace is currently being restored to its former glory, and there are lots of interesting artefacts on display throughout the sprawling complex. NB: Wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees.
7.Taste food from all over Thailand, browse through stalls selling arts and crafts and take in some live music at Cicada Market. This upscale market opens at 4pm on Friday and Saturday nights, and it’s very family friendly.
8.Get an ice cream at Plearn Wan – a two-storey wooden ‘vintage village’ that is a bit like Thailand’s answer to Coney Island or Brighton Pier. There’s plenty of stands upstairs selling ice cream and pancakes, and souvenir shops downstairs, as well as a Ferris wheel.
9.Have lunch on the beach at one of the many cafes and restaurants on Hua Hin Beach, have a swim while you’re waiting for your meal to arrive and wriggle your toes in the sand as you eat. Most cafés serve the same thing (Thai favourites such as Pad Thai, BBQ seafood, pasta, burgers or fries).
10.Visit the Hua Hin night markets, taste some giant BBQ prawns and pick up a few souvenirs. The night markets stretch over two blocks, a few blocks down from Hua Hin Railway Station, and they’re a blast to the senses, a kaleidoscope of colour and cacophony of noises.
Where to Stay: The Railway Hotel is now the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, and while the hotel has grown significantly over the years, the original building still stands. At the centre of town, it’s a great place to stay.