Hua Hin, the Original Beach Resort
Hua Hin is located in the northern part of the Kra Isthmus on the sunrise side of the Gulf of Thailand, 281 kilometers southwest of Bangkok. Hua Hin, which literally means stone head in Thai, is the oldest beach resort of the country. On the outskirts of the town is the summer villa, Klai Kangwon, built by King Prajadhipok (d. 1935), which is still a favourite residence of the royal family. Hua Hin is much quieter than Pattaya and its beautiful beaches of fine sand, crystal clear waters, tranquil atmosphere and excellent facilities for sports of all kinds has continued to attract tourists in search of peaceful and relaxing holidays. Hua Hin’s magnificent golf courses are world famous. Hua Hin has successfully developed the manufacture of hand-printed cotton fabrics in traditional Thai patterns. The shops selling these materials are well worth a visit.
The building of the railway line down to the Malaysian border during the early years of this century turned Cha-Am and its neighbour, Hua Hin, from tiny fishing communities into a royal resorts. Its immense sweep of beach proved irresistible to Thailand’s aristocracy making Hua Hin the favorite week-end and holiday destination of the royal family, thai people and foreigners alike.
In 1921 the director of the state railway, Prince Purachatra, built the Railway Hotel, today’s Sofitel Central Hua Hin, close to the beach. in the traditional architectural style of old Siam. In 1926, King Prachatipok set the Royal seal of approval by himself building a summer palace on the beach, which he named Klai Kangwon, or Far From Worries. And ever since, although luxury hotels and condominiums have taken the place of aristocratic beach houses, Hua Hin has retained an air of style and elegance. Many of Bangkok’s rich and famous built their own beachfront summer homes to the north and south along the curving sandy bay, enjoying leisurely family weekends in a resort which has maintained its unique identity.
Getting to Hua Hin
From BKK and DMK airports in Bangkok there are minibus services. Tickets can be purchased just outside the customs hall. Limousine services offer transport to and from the International airport, at a cost of THB 2800 to 3200. While from Suvarnabhumi Airport there are taxis and private hires that ply between Hua Hin and BKK. Taxi fare can range from TBH 2000 to TBH 3000. Travel times from the airport vary from 3 – 3½ hours depending on traffic conditions.
There are also buses that leave regularly from Southern Bus Terminal to Hua Hin. For more information contact +66 (02) 24351199. There are a number of daily trains from Bangkok’s Hua Lampong Railway Station (tel. 02 220 4334, Hotline: 1690) to Hua Hin; the first one leaves at 7.45 am arriving in Hua Hin at 11.30 am. Preferably take a “Special Express” train to the slower “Rapid” and “Ordinary”.
An Air Shuttle Service operated by SGA is available with 4 flights daily between Bangkok and Hua Hin. Equipment: 11 seat Cessna Grand Caravan. Flight duration is approx 45 minutes. For bookings and enquiries call +66 (032) 531073. Domestic flights from Bangkok Airways to Hua Hin and to Koh Samui have been postponed until further notice.