In a nutshell
Hua Hin is a popular place for tourists as well as locals who want to getaway from the manic streets of Bangkok.
Why go to Hua Hin
Hua Hin sits right by the sea and has a vast white sandy beach that stretches the city’s coastline, which has been cited as the country’s oldest beach destination. The city has a good mix of vibes from the chilled out beach area to the thriving art scene and from the 20th century architecture to the seedy bars and tourists sites, there is a bit of everything here.
There are some nice and easy spots to venture to that give you some peace, tranquillity and beautiful views as well as markets, parks, waterfalls, boat tours, trekking and much more.
You sure won’t go hungry in Hua Hin with its extensive range of food options and we were overwhelmed with the amount of cuisines on offer.
There are touristy areas as well as cheaper local places to go, too, and that goes for the same for bars and nightclubs. Because the city receives a lot of tourists, there are plenty of accommodation options including budget ones all the way up to 5 star hotels that mostly line the beachfront.
When to go to Hua Hin
The climate in Hua Hin is tropical and therefore is mainly hot and humid throughout the year with the highest humidity being between March and May.
As it is one of the driest areas in the country, you will be mainly blessed with hot summer days, where you can see all the sites and do all the things to make your trip that bit more special. You might want to take a light raincoat if visiting between the months of June to October but otherwise all you will need is sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
If you decide to go in December or January just remember that this is the busiest time of the year and we recommend booking well in advance to avoid soaring prices and availability.
Where to stay in Hua Hin
The city is teeming with places to stay at and you will never be far from some type of accommodation. If you are looking for budget options then there are plenty of cheap guesthouses that fill up the spaces behind the upscale hotels that sit along the seafront.
You will also find some midrange places around the same area but it is also worth checking out places around the night market as well. Prices vary but are generally on the cheaper side of the margin, especially if you come here outside of the main holiday months of December and January.
Where to eat in Hua Hin
Hua Hin is full of various eating options with something to suit everyone, whether its romantic sea views you’re after or just to have a cheap eat at the night market. The closer you are to the beach the more touristic it gets and therefore more expensive with some of the best local digs found along Phetkasem road.
Head to the fishing harbour for the freshest catch of the day and there are plenty of western cuisines around the city to try.
Getting around Hua Hin
You won’t have any problems getting around the place with the abundance of tuk-tuks, motorbike taxis and songthaews. Negotiate your price beforehand but generally songthaews are the cheapest and start around THB10 as they are 2 bench pick-up trucks and therefore can carry as many 6-8 people.
Tuk-tuks start out a bit more expensive and the motorbikes are roughly the same, thought alternatively for a bit more money you can rent your own bike. The city is quite flat and because of that a lot of people take up bicycles as it’s one of the cheapest ways to get around or there is always walking.
Getting in and out
Despite there being an airport, there is only one destination served currently – Kan Air operates three flights a week between Hua Hin and Chiang Mai bringing you to the northern capital or vice versa just in two hours.
One of the best ways of getting from Bangkok to Hua Hin is by train and there you will see the historic train station, arguably the most beautiful in the whole country. Trains serve the city with Bangkok and take around 5 hours with prices from as low as TB45 to TB260 as it depends on what type of class you prefer.
You can also hop onto a train heading southwards to Chumphon, Suratthani, Hat Yai and Trang. The morning train #43 leaves Hua Hin at 11.29am daily and the most popular night train #85 passes by at 11.35pm.
In the south of the city is the bus station and from there you can go to a number of destinations including: Bangkok’s Sai Tai Mai (3 hrs, THB175), Bangkok Airport (3.5 hours, THB305), Chiang Mai (13 hrs, THB850-1150), Krabi (9 hrs), Phuket (10 hrs), Nakhon Ratchasima (7 hrs, THB600) and Suratthani (7hrs, TB530). There are more destinations available and it’s best to go to the bus station a day earlier than you intend to leave to check out prices and times etc.
Local buses can be flagged down on Sa Song Road and from there you can go to Pranburi (1 hr, THB20), Phrachuap Khiri Khan (1 hr, THB35) and Phetchaburi (1.5 hrs, THB50). There are also tourist mini buses that leave from the city centre on Phetkasem road, which serve many of the island packages like Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
In 2017 the new ferry service between Hua Hin and Pattaya has been introduced. Tickets cost from THB1250 one-way and the high-speed catamaran brings you to the other side of the Gulf in about 2 hours compared to 5 hours you will spend if travelling by road.
Safety in Hua Hin
Generally the city is safe, especially around the beach area as it is a popular tourist area and there are adequate services like medical care.
Hua Hin station guide
Hua Hin - train
Some say Hua Hin Train station is Thailand's most beautiful and most visited station. The station's meticulous architecture and the retreat house built exclusive for royalties during the reign of King Rama VI are only few of Hua Hin Station's eye-cathing features.
The station is also being remembered for its "Hua Hin" sign that has become iconic for tourists and photographers. Opposite the station is the Railway Train Library which entry and membership are free of charge in exchange of presenting a valid ID.
Getting there by rail, several daily trains from Hua Lamphong, Bangkok can be boarded. Hua Hin is a known attraction in Thailand so it should not be hard to get information from the counters and people around. Tickets for all kinds of trains except third class are bookable 90 days in advance. The train station is situated at the top west end of Damnoern Kasem Road, at the end of Soi 76.
Hua Hin - Bus
The oldest beach town in Thailand, Hua Hin is located approximately 200kms south of Bangkok on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Popular with foreigners and Thais alike, the town gained popularity in the 1920s when the construction of the Southern railway made the beach more accessible. The Railway Hotel was constructed soon after, and still remains one of the most popular hotels in the area under the name Sofitel Central.
Located fairly centrally in town, the Hua Hin bus station offers buses to Bangkok’s Southern terminal approximately every 45 minutes from 3:00 to 21:00. During high season it is important to book online in advance, as these buses fill up quickly. If you’re going directly to the airport, the new Suvarnabhumi Airport VIP bus will take you there with no stops.
There are also buses south to Prachuabkirikhan, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Ranong/Phuket, Hat Yai and Sungai Kolok, but again be sure to book ahead, and ask where the bus will pick you up. Some buses leave from the Clock Tower in town. A bus route to Chiang Mai has also recently been added. Trains link Bangkok with Hua Hin and there are a number of departures daily from Hua Lumphong station, with travel times varying depending on the class of train taken. The train station is located in the town centre.
There are many guesthouses in Hua Hin and a plethora of restaurants. As the town becomes increasingly more popular, the prices for accommodation and food are rising accordingly and there is a lot of variation.
Today, Hua Hin is undergoing rapid development and expansion. The contrast of new and old is obvious as the old fishing docks sit next to luxury resorts, and small food shops are nestled between the brand new shopping complex and movie theatre. Visitors who like nature may wish to visit Sam Roi Yot national park, some 60kms away from Hua Hin.