When I shared with friends that I am visiting Thailand for Thailand Happiness Street Festival, I got the cliche response – “So you must be going to Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya”. I was surprised to know that no one knew about Hua Hin, not even those from travel industry. Having visited Thailand couple of times, I understand the sense of hospitality in each and every Thai national and without even seeing Hua Hin on internet I was sure that it is going to be something interesting.
Hua Hin is one of the upcoming destinations that is very boutique and has tastefully built its attractions. It is a well known place for that rich Indian community that flies off in charter planes for a marriage ceremony in international destinations.
About Hua Hin: It is the summer destination of the King of Thailand and a very peaceful place as compared to the party atmosphere of Bangkok or Pattaya. It lies about 193 km south of Bangkok in Cha-am district. Usually it takes about 3 hours by your own vehicle. It is a weekend destination for the rich Thai community that likes to own a private sea facing villa.
If you are flying to Thailand, here are some of my recommendations for Hua Hin. Don’t worry! they will suit every pocket size –
Damnoen Saduak floating market: Thailand and most of South East asian countries are in close proximity to water bodies and have extensive canal systems. In those times, merchants, vegetable, meat and fruit vendors sailed into the backyards of the houses to sell. Due to extreme tourist interest in floating markets, most of the people have now started selling souvenirs in boats but many still continue to sell fruits, thai food that they cook on the boat, meat and flowers. Damnoen Saduak floating market in on the way to Hua Hin and about 95 km from Bangkok in Ratchaburi province.
Best time to visit: 7 am – 9 am
Khao Sam Roi Yot national park: Thailand is brimming with numerous national parks most of which are in the north. This is one is barely 50 km south of Hua Hin in Pran Buri district. Due to heavy rains, I took a boat to the national park but regretted missing an alternate route which has a dense forest on one side and gulf of Thailand on the other. I recommend spending at least a full day here and visiting the Phraya Nakhon Cave followed by some self pampering at Laem Sala beach.
Visit Santorini and Venezia theme parks: Thai are skilled at dazzling the guest with creativity. As the name suggests, Santorini and Venezia theme parks literally transport the person into Greece and Italy. Only difference is that the people serving speak Thai.
Santorini theme park welcomed me with the typical shades of white and blue with fairytale shops that I would see in actual Greece. The theme park is about 34 km from Hua Hin.
The Venezia theme park welcomes me with its Italian pastel colors and a Thai version of St. Marks Campanile (Campanile di San Marco). Here are some snapshots from the 3D museum that made us do some unbelievable tricks and the gondola ride.
Splurge in the luxury resorts of Hua Hin: Even the resorts are built with a lot of love. That’s why two of them actually made me fall in love. While Amari – Hua Hin offered some stunning views and pure luxury, Six Senses Resort and Spa transported me from a modern life to a forest where the only sound was that of birds, raindrops and insects.
Amari Hotel, Hua Hin
Cicada night market: I haven’t seen such glorious night market elsewhere as I have seen in Thailand. The Thai tourism definitely knows how to present a concept beautifully. When I walked into the Cicada night market that was hardly 400 mtr from Amari, I was amazed not only by the food but the ambience as well as the atmosphere. I will leave you with some photos of the market and hope that next time you put Hua Hin in your itinerary. Leave a message for me when you are back. I would love to hear your experience.
Disclaimer: All the views above are authentic and out of my own experience. The information given above is subject to change over time. The trip to Thailand was in association with TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) and Thai Airways