Hua Hin is a seaside resort city about a 2-3 hour car or bus ride from Bangkok, in Thailand. Hua Hin has both a cosmopolitan (big hotel chains like Hyatt, Mariott, and Intercontinental are here) and quaint seaside town feel simultaneously. It used to be the “go to” resort destination for Thailand's royalty. It has a quiet, family friendly feeling to it. The Hua Hin beach is 5km long and the beach is clean, the sand is soft (no debris anywhere to be found, except for the occasional deceased jelly fish). We chose to go to Hua Hin because it is known as the beach in Thailand with the least amount of rain (especially in monsoon season). It was also very easy to get to from Bangkok.
Getting to Hua Hin was easy from BKK (Suvarnambhumi International Airport). All you got to do is take the Airport Hua Hin bus. It costs around $8 for a 3.5 hour smooth ride. They give you a nice bottle of water and some good air conditioning and you're off (albeit moving at a snail's pace along the highway). The bus drops you off on the main road in Hua Hin and you can take a Tuk Tuk (at least 150 Baht, or around $3-$6) to your accommodation.
Where to Stay
There are lots of different types of accommodation in Hua HIn, from economical to splurge. Places are often booked up on the weekend because people from Bangkok come to Hua Hin to play. Since it was our honeymoon, we stayed at a place that was a boutique style hotel called Baan Bayan (it used to be an old house that they converted to a hotel) and splurged a bit. Even with the splurge, the price came out to be $120/night including taxes. It was beach front, had a gorgeous view, and a delicious breakfast every morning. It was pretty convenient, a mall was located just across the street with lots of food options and of course, pad thai for under $2.
Getting around is easy around Hua Hin. Everything is pretty much centred along the main stretch of 5km sand. However, you can walk to downtown (where the night market and the day markets are located) in about 20 to 30 minutes. If you're too tired, you can always grab a ubiquitous Tuk Tuk. Or a motorcycle taxi. Most Tuk Tuk rates are around 100 Baht (about $3) around Hua Hin.
Things to See/Do
There's lots of see and do, other than soaking up some sun and relaxing. Sand combing was really fun, I have never seen so much aquatic life so active on the beach. From hermit crabs, to sand dollars, to jelly fish washed up to the shore, there was lots of life happening, even on the beach. There's less hassling on the beaches, less vendors pestering you to try and sell you something. Though they did try to sell a horse ride (horses walk on the beach). We declined and also fortunately averted much horse dung on the beach.
In addition, you can rent a Sea Doo, a Banana Boat, among other ocean activities. There is also a few water parks just outside of the beach area that you'll need a taxi or a car to get to.
At night, the Cicada market near the Hyatt is a beautiful place to enjoy live music, people watch, and find some hand made hipster crafts that people of Hua Hin are selling. There were street performers as well. It had a very romantic and relaxing ambiance.
Of course you can't go to Thailand without trying a massage. For about $6 an hour you can have a thai massage or a reflexology massage. There are different prices to suite every budget. At Lanfah Massage the owner was a physiotherapist and it is very clean and well worth the visit. It was recommended on TripAdvisor and the accolades and recommendations are definitely accurate. If you want to go more upscale, The Barai Spa (again, another splurge) at the Hyatt was probably the most amazing spa I have ever encountered. The architecture was absolutely amazing was inspired by Ankor Wat in Cambodia. It was very visually appealing and we felt instantly relaxed when we entered the spa.
Readers, have you been to Hua Hin before? Any tips/ recommendations from your experience?