Hua Hin is a district in Thailand, best known for its stunning seaside resort town. 200 kilometres south of Bangkok, the area is a well-loved destination for both locals and travellers. In the 1920s, the Thai royal family built summer palaces in Hua Hin.
Ever since then, the quaint fishing villages have emerged into a popular escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Simply put, Hua Hin is a superb town for lovers of nature and a slower-paced lifestyle.
This Hua Hin, Thailand travel guide will be your ultimate guide to the area’s best activities and attractions. Keep reading to find out what you can expect in Hua Hin, where to stay, what to eat, and the tours you simply can’t miss out on.
This ultimate travel guide to Hua Hin will show you all the most beautiful places in Hua Hin, what to expect when visiting, where to stay in Hua Hin and things to do in Hua Hin which will help you in planning a trip to Hua Hin.
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How to get to Hua Hin
There are numerous ways to get to Hua Hin from Bangkok. The most common options are train, bus, or private car.
The train is a long yet scenic route, taking a minimum of four hours from Bangkok Railway Station. Tickets are priced according to carriage, with second-class starting at 400 baht and a third-class seat at only 44 baht.
The bus takes anywhere from three to five hours depending on the traffic, but is the cheapest option. Buses depart directly from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, making it incredibly convenient as well. If you’re already in downtown Bangkok, you can catch a bus from the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai).
Lastly, a taxi or private transfer is an option to keep your journey as comfortable as possible and get you straight to your accommodation. Expect to pay anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 baht, depending on the company.
What to expect in Hua Hin
Throughout Thailand, the currency used is Thai baht. The conversion rate often fluctuates slightly, but for reference, 1 USD is about 30 baht and 1 AUD is currently closer to 20 baht. With prices so affordable, you won’t ever need to worry about exact conversions. Keeping these rough conversions in mind, however, will help you be able to understand the cost of things on the spot.
Although the official language is Thai, many locals working in tourist hotspots and popular restaurants are able to speak basic English with you.
There are almost always English translations on menus and signs, for example, so the language barrier won’t be too difficult to navigate. Thailand is the land of smiles, so simply approach anyone with a friendly attitude and communication will be easy!
How to get around Hua Hin
Get the most out of your experience in Hua Hin and explore on foot as much as possible. Walking allows you to stop and head into any new spot that catches your eye.
When you’re visiting an attraction that’s a little too far to walk to, hail a tuk tuk or a songthaew. These big (usually red) trucks in Hua Hin follow four regular routes yet have no specific stops, so simply wave one down and hop in the back.
If you’re eager for some air conditioning, take a taxi instead. Grab, the Uber of Southeast Asia, will become your best friend. You can easily use the Grab app to book a taxi in advance and see how far away a driver is. Just like Uber, you can pay in-app using your credit card, so you won’t need to worry about carrying extra cash with you.
The best time to visit Hua Hin
Although Hua Hin has warm weather all year round, there are certain months that will be much better for a beach holiday. October and November are the rainiest months of the year, so you might want to avoid them.
December and January are also packed with fellow tourists, so if you’re hoping for a quieter getaway, visit anytime between February and September instead.
Things to do in Hua Hin
Although Hua Hin is a relatively small coastal area, there’s much more to do than lay by the beach all day. Here are some of the best things to do and places to see while in Hua Hin:
Anyone who has been to Thailand before knows that it’s all about the night markets! Cicada Market is Hua Hin’s most popular outdoor market.
At Cicada, there’s a focus on art and decor, with vendors selling a variety of eye-catching handmade goods. Of course, there’s also a range of mouthwatering foods to sample! Dig into some of the best Thai street food followed by a Western fusion dessert.
The atmosphere is absolutely mesmerizing and makes the market an unmissable experience. With vibrant lighting installations and live entertainment, your senses will never be bored here.
Cicada Market is held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from four o’clock until 11, so you are free to spend your time slowly wandering and taking it all in.
As mentioned earlier, the Thai royal family embraced Hua Hin and had many summer vacation spots constructed in the area. 12 kilometres north of Hua Hin in Cha-am is Mrigadayavan Palace. This former holiday villa was once the residence of Rama VI, the country’s ruler from 1910 to 1925.
The palace is built atop concrete pillars and made up of three groups of 16 teak wood buildings. Set within luscious green gardens overlooking the sea, it is undoubtedly one of the most peaceful tourist attractions you’ll come across.
Venezia Hua Hin
Not making it to Venice, Italy any time soon? Go with the next best thing and visit Hua Hin’s Venice-themed village. The main attraction here is the small canal with a charming bridge where you can go on a gondola ride for a few hundred baht.
There are a ton of restaurants and shops too, as well as a miniature train, so you can easily spend hours here.
It’s a fantastic spot to take some romantic photos or even bring the kids to. Don’t miss the colourful umbrella laneway and eclectic statues, some of which replicate ones you’ll find in Venice.
Hua Hin Beach
Of course, visiting Hua Hin Beach should be a top priority. The four-kilometre stretch of white sand is never too crowded, so you can always find a peaceful spot to settle in and relax for a while in the sunshine.
In addition to swimming, popular activities include windsurfing, kitesurfing and parasailing. There are plenty of restaurants by the shoreline, and vendors along the beach can offer you anything from umbrellas and deck chairs to ice creams and massages!
The ultimate spot to experience Hua Hin nightlife is around Soi Bintabaht near the Hilton Resort.
There isn’t the same party scene that you can find in Bangkok or Pattaya, but there are a couple of great bars and pubs to enjoy a drink at.
Stop by Hua Hin Beer Garden for a relaxed atmosphere and some live music, or Aladdin Bar for a game of pool. Blue Monkey gets lively if that’s more your style, and there are a range of delicious cocktails on offer.
Wat Huay Mongkol
The most-visited Buddhist temple in the area is Wat Huay Mongkol, which is about 15 kilometres away from central Hua Hin. The complex contains the world’s largest statue of the famous Thai monk Luang Phor Thuad.
Next to the monk are wooden elephant statues, which locals walk under while wishing for good luck. Near the main temple is a peaceful lake and garden with a small artificial waterfall, as well as several Thai restaurants.
What to eat in Hua Hin
If you haven’t eaten much Thai food before, you’re in for a treat! One of the best experiences in Thailand is simply sampling all of the street food, so be sure to taste something new and interesting during your trip. Here are some delicious local dishes you need to try while in Hua Hin:
- Mango sticky rice: A beloved dessert to enjoy after lunch or dinner, or as a snack whenever you feel like! Made with, you guessed it, sliced mango and sticky rice, the coconut milk dressing makes it a super sweet treat.
- Pad see ew: One of Thailand’s favourite street food dishes, made with large flat noodles and a dark soy sauce. Enjoy with chicken or as a vegetarian meal.
- Tom kha gai: A creamy coconut soup with chicken. A good option if you’d prefer milder spices.
- Pak boong: Better known as morning glory, this bean-spinach vegetable dish is prepared with soybean paste, soy sauce, chilli and garlic. It’s ideal to share if you want to add some extra greens to your meal.
- Penang curry: The mildest of Thailand’s curry dishes is a favourite with tourists. Order with your meat of choice or with tofu and vegetables. Enjoy with a side of soft brown rice.
- Kai jeow: Eat your breakfast the Southeast Asian way with a Thai omelette. Served on rice with sweet chilli sauce, you can also add some vegetables if you like by ordering kai jeow pak.
Where to stay in Hua Hin
Your money goes a long way here, and you can find some gorgeous, luxurious places to stay at for affordable prices. Not sure where to stay in Hua Hin? Here are a few recommendations you’ll absolutely love:
Kiang Haad Beach Hua Hin is one of the best value Hua Hin hotels. Reasonably priced, comfortable, clean, and right by the beach – what more could you ask for? Take advantage of the two pools and gaze out over the views from the balcony.
The property is less than two kilometres from the Hua Hin Night Market and the Hua Hin Railway Station, and only 200 metres from the Hua Hin Market Village. Book any double or twin room for under 100 AUD, or upgrade to a suite with a spa bath.
For those sticking to a budget, modest luxury can still be found at First Choice Suites by the Sea. Each self-serviced apartment is modern, spacious and well-furnished, coming with everything you’ll need during your stay.
The rooms show off stunning views of the nearby mountains and gardens. Suites are between 40 to 50 AUD per night, and two-bedroom apartments are just under 100 AUD. This is a truly great choice if you’re travelling with a group of friends or family.
Have a different experience entirely at the Korawan Garden View. Located a few kilometres outside of the main town, the property is quiet and peaceful, allowing you to embrace nature without the noise and light pollution.
For less than 40 AUD per night, you can stay in a surprisingly modern bamboo hut made from eco-friendly materials. The bungalows and cottages all surround a beautiful outdoor pool with lounge chairs. You’ll never want to leave this serene oasis!
Tours to do in Hua Hin
Since Thailand is so well known for its food, you won’t want to miss the Foodie Tour of Hua Hin. Over three and a half hours, you can feast on over a dozen different snacks and desserts.
This insider’s perspective will help you break through the sometimes daunting culinary options and give you a chance to taste some flavours you’d never normally try.
Another enjoyable tour to do in Hua Hin is a half-day bicycle trip around the city. See the best landmarks and temples, as well as the historic Rajabhakti Park.
Along the way, you can stop for photos and gain an insight into each attraction through the interesting stories told by your guide.
A highlight of the tour is reaching Khao Takiab Temple, which features a 20-metre-tall golden Buddha statue looking out over the ocean.
Day trips from Hua Hin
Once you’ve seen the best of Hua Hin, don’t forget to venture out to the areas nearby. Hua Hin’s location along the Gulf coast is an ideal starting off point to explore both the countryside and the islands off the coast.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is one of the best places you can go for a day trip. Only 40 kilometres from central Hua Hin, you can spend most of the time exploring rather than being stuck in a car. If your time is limited, you can book a tour and see the area in only five hours.
Here you must visit Phraya Nakhon Cave, one of the most mystical attractions in Thailand. Reaching the cave requires a steep climb, but you will be wonderfully rewarded for your efforts. On the guided tour, you can even learn about pineapple and coconut harvesting as you pass through the plantations.
A longer tour that’s worth going on is a nine-hour trip to Pala-U Waterfall. While you’ll get to see and swim around the beautiful waterfall, this tour offers so much more.
See the gorgeous butterflies the area is known for and learn about the local flora and fauna. Best of all, you can visit the Karang Village and learn about traditional Burmese ways of life.
To spend the day island hopping, go snorkelling on Tatu Island or book a cruise to Monkey Island.
As you head along the scenic Pranburi River, keep an eye out for the playful dolphins before you stop to meet the cheeky monkeys. Swim and even fish along the coast, and enjoy a complimentary buffet lunch.
Recommended budget tours in Hua Hin
- Foodies’ Food Tour in Hua Hin
- Pala-U Waterfall and Karang Village Day Trip from Hua Hin
- Hua Hin: Day Trip to Kaeng Krachan National Park and Pala-U Waterfall
- Day Trip to Sam Roi Yot National Park from Hua Hin
- Phetchaburi Historical Tour from Hua Hin Including Lunch and Cable Car Ride
- One-Day Pass: Vana Nava Water Jungle Hua Hin