02 Mar The Best Places to visit in Hua Hin, Thailand
I have been meaning to visit Hua Hin for the past two years. Everyone I knew had been there already. It’s outdoorsy, it’s close by and has lovely beaches, but I wasn’t very convinced if there are any great places to visit in Hua Hin.
But after 2 years of Covid and being locked in Thailand, I didn’t have a lot of options. I wouldn’t say I was blown out of my mind. After all, covid did take away the bling and lustre of most towns. But I did enjoy empty attractions, empty beaches and empty viewpoints. Although I think that they are pretty fun crowded too.
Anyway, I have a bunch of things to share. So here is everything you need to know about visiting Hua Hin, Thailand.
How to reach Hua Hin
Hua Hin is close to Bangkok, so if you are travelling from there, roadways are the best option. Hua Hin has a small airport but I am not sure if it has many flights. It is also not well connected by rail or ferries. I will also not suggest one day tours since you would spend insanely long hours (4 hours each way) travelling.
Bus: One of the most mainstream ways to reach Hua Hin is to catch the public bus. If you are travelling from Bangkok, you can head over to the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) and buy a bus ticket to Hua Hin. The ticket will cost you between THB 250-350 per person and the journey will take around 4 hours. You can take the bus back from Hua Hin bus station as well.
Van: Vans are a more convenient way to travel short distances in Thailand. And if you are not uncomfortable in a smaller space (it does get a little cramped sometimes), vans are usually cheaper and faster. They usually don’t overcrowd.
Now you can get a van at any terminal – Mo Chit, Ekkamai or Sai Tai Mai. The ticket would start from THB 180 and the journey will take between 3.5 – 4 hours.
If you are taking the van for the return journey, you can head over to Ekkamai van station and buy a ticket at the counter itself. Booking online both ways can save a lot of time. You can find the schedule and book on busonlineticket.co.th.
Train: I would have preferred train over everything else if it was easy. While there are usually trains from Bangkok to Hua Hin, some were discontinued due to covid and others were rerouted to Thonburi railway stations (maybe due to the shifting of Bangkok’s railway station to Bang Sue). Although the Hua Hin train station is definitely beautiful so you can stop to enquire anyway.
Taxi: If you are travelling in a group or wish for more comfort, taxis are a great way to commute. You can rent a car online that will pick you up from your doorstep. Most hotels offer cab service from Hua Hin as well at great rates. The cost of a taxi one way would be around THB 1900.
How to go around Hua Hin
Motorbike Rental: Motorbikes are just a fantastic way to drive around Thailand. They beat the city traffic, are cheap and easy to park. But you do need to be adept at Asian roads and decent helmets (sometimes the renting place give out really bad ones). You can rent a bike at any of the shops near Hua Hin beach to be super-convenient. There are a lot of others around the city as well.
A day’s rent is around THB 200 for a 125cc bike. Do try it by driving it yourself before paying. You will need to give them your passport as a guarantee. Sometimes they also take some security money instead (if you don’t wish to hand out your passport). You don’t even need a license for this.
Car Rental/Taxi: Cars are also widely available in Hua Hin and instead of trying to find one yourself in the city, you can book one online. A day’s rent starts from THB 900 depending upon the type of car you choose. The roads around Hua Hin are in pretty decent condition. You will need an international driver’s license for this.
Traffic in Hua Hin can be a nuisance at times. The city centre is usually crowded and prone to traffic jams. Instead of driving, you can also opt for a day taxi and enjoy yourself in the backseat. Taxis cost around THB 1800 for a full day and THB 1200 for a half-day. You can check with your hotel for options.
Guided Tours: There are a lot of tours operators in Hua Hin. You will come across them even as you are walking on the road. Just stop by one of the shops and enquire what they offer. The tour will consist of a list of some of the popular places in the area. If you are convinced with the itinerary, go for it. Just make sure there is an English speaking guide. I will suggest, avoiding tours that take you too far away or you will spend a lot of time commuting.
Where to stay in Hua Hin
Hua Hin has an insane number of options and will totally depend upon how you want to do your trip. If you are looking to sightsee and explore a few places in the town, I will suggest you live somewhere near the city centre, near Hua Hin beach and Wat Hua Hin. The area is good with a lot of restaurants, malls and markets around. I lived in Sirin Hotel (a budget hotel) and I really liked what I got for the money – a decent room and very hospitable staff.
If you are looking for a more secluded time, there are tons of resorts to choose from. You can pick one with a beachside view. The further from the city centre they are, the cheaper they become.
Here are some options that you may like:
Places to visit in Hua Hin
1. Hua Hin Beach
If you have come all the way to Hua Hin, you have to stop at the beach. Hua Hin beach is right in the middle of the city. And due to its location, it’s usually pretty busy. But we decided to hit the beach early in the morning and found it deserted.
The shore is clean, although it’s not as pristine as some white sand beaches in other parts of Thailand. There are a lot of restaurants right next to the beach and you can enjoy a good selection of seafood and drinks sitting there. I am sure there are plenty of people offering water sports and equipment but we didn’t see any due to covid and early morning hours.
2. Wat Hua Hin
I know, I know! You could be wondering what’s a temple doing here. But as far and wide I have travelled in Thailand, their temples are the centre point of all cities and probably the most beautiful and flashy buildings in the entire area.
Wat Hua Hin is not that flashy though. However, it is still an important landmark. If you fancy some culture, you can still make a stop here. It’s right next to Hua Hin beach. There are some lovely murals inside the walls of the temples. The large courtyard in the front is a popular place for public gatherings and events in town.
3. Monsoon Valley Vineyard
This was one of my favourite places in Hua Hin. Technically, it’s not in Hua Hin. You will have to drive around 45 mins to the west to reach this place. But if you can, I suggest you do. The vineyard is managed by Siam winery also operates two more vineyards in Thailand.
The vineyard was founded in 2001 by Chalerm Yoovidhya, a wine-loving entrepreneur who wanted to introduce wine to the Thai dining experience. After studying abroad, he came back to Thailand with the purpose of growing grapes in the region and finding a way to make world-class wines.
In recent years, several other tropical countries have started to produce tropical wines that are unique in flavour and rich in taste. A lot of grapes are brought from other countries depending upon which ones can thrive in the soil and climate here.
There is an entrance charge of THB 200 to the vineyard that you can redeem as food coupons in their restaurant. In normal times, you can taste their wines and pair them with cheese and cold cuts that they serve as a platter combination. Then you can take a wine tour where they take you around the vineyard, show you the produce and answer any questions you have. The staff is fantastic.
They also organize special events like weekend barbeques and grape picking & stomping during the harvesting season.
4. Cicada Night Market
Now you must have been to several night markets all across Thailand. They are present in every city! But I suggest you check this one out. Something more chic and unique in Hua Hin. Cicada is a great night market with hanging fairy lights and minimalistic looking outdoor decor.
The night market has several sections including food, souvenirs, clothes, accessories and art. But a great thing about the place is the live performances happening in many areas. A small Thai band welcomes you to traditional music at the entrance.
There is a small amphitheatre where some people could be performing dramatics. There is also a live band area at the back where single or multiple people perform at a time. In the art section, you will find several artists painting and can even request a live sketch.
The food is okay while the prices are on the higher side compared to other night markets. You will need to buy food coupons for all food stalls.
5. Tamarind Night Market
Right next to Cicada Night Market is another small night market called Tamarind Night Market. It is way smaller compared to the one before. Most of the stalls here are of food only. But I found the prices more affordable just like other night markets in Thailand.
The place is also way more crowded and it seems that most Thais prefer it for hanging out. There is a live band performance that goes on in the middle while the place was decorated with cute knickknacks. I think the atmosphere was pretty warm and lively.
6. Khao Hin Lek Fai
Khao Hin Lek Fai is a popular viewpoint, not that far away from the city centre. You can drive up to the place all the way to the top and park your vehicle in the parking lot. From there you need to walk a little to several viewpoints that will open up the space to Hua Hin city below.
There are 5-6 viewpoints in total and each viewpoint has a slightly different side of the city. You can see quite far, all the way up to Koh Singtoo (a tiny rocky island off the shore) on the right. However, I absolutely loved the view of the Hua Hin railway station that stands out as a red heritage monument in the middle.
There are a few shops in the area where you can sit, eat and have a coffee as well. There are a few notorious monkeys around and we saw one tearing open a motorbike’s seat and ripping it to pieces. So park your vehicle closer to others.
There is no entry ticket to the place. The sun rises from the ocean side, so I am sure it would make a great spot for the sunrise view but not much for the sunset. Although but it’s definitely cooler to visit around then.
7. Mrigadayavan Palace
Mrigadayavan Palace was the summer palace of King Rama VI of Thailand. The palace was built for him so that he can reside in an airy seaside atmosphere to help him with his rheumatoid arthritis. He wanted to keep the palace simpler compared to other palaces and hired an Italian architect to build it. The palace was constructed between 1923-24.
The king visited the palace just twice before he passed away and subsequently, the palace remained abandoned for 30 years. It was under King Rama IX rule that the palace grounds were permitted for use again. Today it is a popular tourist attraction, although it sometimes still remains closed.
The palace is not excessively huge but still pretty lovely. There is a soft blend of European and Thai architectural styles with huge rooms open and long verandahs. Several shaded passageways connect the main buildings and even go all the way up to the private beach. Some rooms are still closed to tourists.
For more details on history, a trip with a tour guide will fill you in with more details. Although if you want to enjoy the place in quiet, reach here early in the morning before the tourist bus arrives.
8. Khao Takiab Beach
The name of the beach comes from the small hill right nearby that gives a nice scenic view of the area from the top. This is located around 7 km south of Hua Hin city centre and makes for a nice long drive. The beach itself is far less touristy in case you want to enjoy some private time.
There is a temple right next to the beach located on different levels of the hillside. It does make an interesting place to visit, a little something to do when here. A large standing buddha statue is recognised as its landmark.
There are also plenty of resorts in the area, so if you are looking to relax with time away from the city, you can even think of staying in the area.
9. Pran Buri Forest Park
This is a reforested mangrove area with a plan for conservation also converted into a tourist attraction. Although you won’t find a lot of tourists around. The main feature is a 1km teakwood walkway in the middle of the mangrove forests with several information posts talking about the flora and fauna of this ecosystem.
The area is free to enter for everyone. You can either walk the way. Or you can take a boat ride that costs THB 450 per person and takes you around for 40 minutes. You may get a chance to spot some interesting creatures here. The beach on the other side is usually deserted as good for a swim.
The ride to the forest can be a bit confusing though as it is way off the main road and takes you through narrow roads into the wilderness.
10. Phraya Nakhon Cave
Perhaps this place was supposed to be way on top. It is an important attraction for tourists in Hua Hin. This beautiful cave is a part of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park and is a part of a huge forest area. It is a bit of work to reach the cave. To start with, it takes about an hour from Hua Hin to reach the National Park itself.
Once you are inside the National Park, you can either choose to take the trail for about 30 mins or a boat from the other side and climb (a steeper terrain) for around 15 mins. There are two caves inside with a display of stalagmites and stalactites.
The main attraction is a small temple, claimed to be the smallest sitting under an open-top where the natural light comes in. At the perfect time of the day, the temple seems to bask in the glow of the sunlight and the whole setup looks divine. Trees around it inside the caves add to the perfect frame.
To catch this view at the best possible time, start your trip from Hua Hin at around 8 am in the morning, reach the park by 9 am and the caves by 10 am.
Entrance fee to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park: THB 200 per person
11. Rajabhakti Park
An iconic park a little south of Hua Hin, the highlight of the sprawling area is a series of statues of the seven Thai kings of the Chakri dynasty all the way from the Sukhotai period. The park was built by the Royal Thai Army on Thai army property.
The name of the park directly translates to ‘the park that has been built with people’s loyalty to the monarchs’ dedicated to bringing in a sense of nationality and devotion of the people towards the royal house.
Sure, the statues are gigantic and a work of art, but besides them, there isn’t much to see. The area is also covered mostly in concrete and without any trees or shade, the place can get extremely hot during the daytime.
12. Artists Village
We are now sailing towards some of the offbeat places to visit in Hua Hin. This is a small community set up, east of Hua Hin city centre. The place is called artists village and a couple of unique statues welcomes you at the entrance.
As you walk in, on one side you can find a small area that looked like a community space. Unfortunately, we arrived later in the day but it seemed that a workshop took place earlier in the day. There were also posters about an art fair during the coming week.
On the other side though were rows of shops where artists painted freely and you can walk around all their art, maybe even buy them. There were not just paintings but sculptures and some damn crazy stuff.
There seemed to be an exhibition area at the end that was also closed when we arrived. But I bet if you go at the right time, it would be a happy place to be.
13. Hua Hin railway Station
Maybe you are wondering I have run out of places to visit in Hua Hin. And honestly, I thought so too when I read numerous other blogs mentioning this place. But it’s true.
It is when I saw the railway station all the way from Khao Hin Lek Fai, a long strip of bright red colour in a classic vintage look, even I thought that this is a place worth checking out.
So I decided to stop by to enquire about a train back to Bangkok. Although I didn’t get one, I did enjoy a few minutes of peeping around looking at different areas of the railway station. I think I also saw an old carriage displayed outside the entrance as well. I dunno what was that about.
14. Chicken Drop Cave
Again, something totally offbeat, very few people head this way. This is another set of caves, rather small compared to Phraya Nakhon Cave, but deserted as well. Located around 32 km west of Hua Hin, you can only drive to this place. Once you reach the area, there are another 200 steps to climb to the top.
The insides of the caves are surprisingly pleasant in temperature and are decorated with several Buddha images. People say that the caves were discovered by a local farmer who was looking for his chicken. I also read a late king spent some time here in his monkhood.
15. Wat Huay Mongkol
Wat Huay Mongkol is an important stop for Thai from all over the country. The temple is dedicated to Luang Phor Thuad, a very important and revered for his supernatural powers. People believe that he had performed several miracles. Therefore a lot of people come here to ask him for favours, good luck, health, fortune and happiness.
As per local beliefs, an amulet of the monk could also protect someone from many natural disasters, especially tsunamis and flooding. And you can find one on the premises.
The place has a gigantic looming statue of the monk over a large pedestal that you need to climb up to. There are a few statues of Airawat, the mythical three-headed elephant and the interpretation of Thai angels in the shape of Garuda.
During normal times, the premises has busy restaurants and shops selling food, flowers and other articles for pilgrims.
Book Experiences in Hua Hin
Best time to visit Hua Hin
The absolute best time to visit Hua Hin is during the winter months (November – January). The temperature drops down to its lowest in Thailand (18 – 22°C) and there is very little rainfall. Although skies are also clear and the weather pleasant around September and October.
The summer months starting as early as February can get really hot and a full day out in the sun will seem like torture. The evenings are pleasant still.
The rainy season that starts from May and goes all the way up to early September can also be disappointing if you plan to spend long days on the beach or outdoors. But at least it’s cooler on most days and the tourist crowd is low.