Hua Hin is known to have some of Thailand’s more traditional and peaceful beaches and from the moment you arrive, you’ll notice a real love of the sea from the locals – particularly in the resort’s local cuisine, as a host of seafood restaurants line the golden beachfronts.
Once a modest fishing town, it has risen to become one of Thailand’s most cosmopolitan seaside towns. Today, tourists not only flock to Hua Hin for its beaches, but to see the Klai Klangwon – the summer residence of Thailand’s Royal Family. This charming holiday resort is a great family destination with a plenty to see and do.
It’s surrounded by long, sandy beaches and tall swaying palms, and the city’s popular beachfront is where holiday-makers spend their days. You’ll spot a lot of expats in Hua Hin, residing in swanky condominiums and holiday homes.
Creating a dramatic backdrop, there are a string of luxury beachfront hotels to choose from, varying in size and style. For the ultimate luxury wellness holiday, head to Chiva-Som, a five-star destination spa offering personalised wellness experiences, award-winning cuisine and a spa with over 150 treatments.
Hua Hin’s main beach stretches over three miles from the rocky headland at the centre of town and finishes in Khao Takiab, famous for its stunning Buddhist temple. Found on a platform facing the sea, this extremely colourful Chinese temple is an absolute must see.
If you like to keep active on holiday, the beach is the place to be. Here, you can enjoy a range of activities including watersports, kiteboarding and horse riding. A number of contemporary restaurants can be found here, offering a superb array of international cuisines as well as a string of vendors serving local favourites including delicious freshly-caught seafood.
If you really want to be immersed in Thailand’s culture and savour traditional local dishes, head down to The Pier to sample a taste of the local delicacy – steamed crab. Alternatively, explore the colourful Hua Hin Night Market where you can try a number of spices and flavours from a multitude of food stalls.
Wine enthusiasts should take the time to visit Hua Hin’s Hills vineyard, Moon Valley Wines – located 25 miles west in a scenic, vine-covered mountain valley. Producing award-winning wines, this is a rare opportunity to experience something a little different for Thailand and shouldn’t be missed.
A few miles north of Hua Hin, Black Mountain Waterpark offers an excellent, fun-filled day out for families of all ages. Featuring nine different waterslides, a range of pools and a lazy river, this is an excellent escape from lazy days at the beach or by the hotel pool.
For a taste of Hua Hin’s royal history, visit the Maruekatayawan Palace, designed by King Rama VI in 1923. Offering an intricate example of traditional raised Thai architecture and crafted purely from teak wood, the palace takes pride in its status as the longest golden teak palace in the world, overlooking the peaceful ocean.
If you’re a bit of a history lover and want a better understanding of what Hua Hin was like in the 1920s, stay at the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin. Once Hua Hin’s famous Railway Hotel it serviced the Hua Hin Railway Station. This belonged to a royal pavilion in Sanamchan Palace and can still be found at the top end of Damnoern Kasem Road – yet another delightful part of Thailand’s royal history.
The station offered the first direct link to the seaside from Bangkok – a new and exciting way to spend the weekends away from the heat of the city. This beautiful wooden station is one of the oldest in Thailand and remains a much loved part of the area’s history.
If you want to learn more about the country’s various religions and beliefs, head to the top of Khao Takiab, known as ‘chopstick hill’, found to the south of Hua Hin’s main beach. Aside from the spectacularly colourful temple, you’ll find a range of miniature chedis and shrines that present a fantastic photo opportunity here. Nearby, Wat Khao Lad is where you’ll find a twenty-metre tall Buddha statue. Built to protect this charming temple overlooking the sea, the statue makes for an imposing sight.
GMT +7 hours
Thai. English is widely spoken at beach resorts.
• You need a full EU 10-year passport. We recommend that the expiry date is at least six months after your arrival back in the UK.
• You only need a visa if you’re staying longer than 30 days (29 nights), and you can get one from the Thai Embassy.
Theravada Buddhism. Minority religions include Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism.
• Thais revere their royal family, so never express disregard for it.
• Outward expressions of anger are regarded as crude and boorish.
• Each Buddha image - large or small, ruined or not - is considered sacred. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything that might show lack of respect.
• Public displays of affection between couples are frowned upon. Westernised Thai couples may hold hands but that’s as far as it goes in polite society.
• It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object.
No vaccinations are compulsory but some are recommended. For more detailed and up-to-date information, contact your GP or a specialised vaccination centre.
Tip porters and hotel staff if you’re happy with their service. If a service charge isn’t added to your restaurant bill, tip 10-15%.
• Dress neatly in all religious shrines - never go shirtless or in shorts, hot pants or other scanty attire.
• Take off your shoes when entering private Thai homes, chapels that house Buddhist images, and mosques.
Try windsurfing, sailing, waterskiing, parasailing, catamaran sailing, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing.
Go walking and horse-riding, play tennis and tee off on the 18-hole Royal Hua Hin golf course.
Browse the market for crafts, food and jewellery; and peruse small shops and tailors selling souvenirs and clothes.
Unwind on the mile-long white-sand beach.
• Restaurants serve European, Levantine, Asian and oriental cuisines.
• Most hotels offer American, English and continental breakfasts, and you may find western-style fast food outlets, snack bars and ice cream parlours.
• Thai cuisine is a spicy mix of noodles, curries, sweet-and-sour dishes, slow- and fast-cooked ingredients, exotic spices and condiments.
• Don’t drink the tap water or ice - stick to bottled mineral water or purified water in hotels.
• Choose from more than 100 cocktails at Ye Olde Buffalo Tavern.
Hua Hin has been the Royal Family's summer residence since 1926.