Hua Hin is a city where an atmosphere of well-being and tranquility reigns.
It is a city of sandy beaches, green hills, waterfalls and mysterious caves, whose coast is washed by the waves of the Gulf of Thailand, has a long history, from which its name derives.
In 1834, some agricultural areas in the province of Petchaburi suffered a severe drought. A group of farmers moved south and discovered a small village that struck them, with it’s white sands on the sea coast and green hills along the shore. They settled here, and called this place Samore Riang, which translates to “Stone Head”.
Hua Hin is a district of the province of Prachuapkirikan, and is located about 180 kilometers south-west of Bangkok. It’s about 3 hours drive by car or bus, and about 5 hours by train, and a realaxing scenery of random, steep hills and sometimes dense forest, with glimpses of the coast along the way.
Hua Hin is closely connected to the Thai royal family. King Prajadhipok (Rama VII), liked this place so much, that he built a summer palace in 1926 (completeled 1933). It was named Wang Klai Kang Won (Far from Cares). It was the residence of His Majesty the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), until his death on October 18, 2016, at the age of 88. At the time of his death, he was the the longest reigning head-of-state in the world, and the longest reining Monarch in Thai history at 70 years, 126 days. The King’s Summer Palace is located in the north of Hua Hin. It is built right next to the sea, and its gardens are filled with various exotic plants. Built on around several large lakes, the palace is open for tourists to visit in the morning and in the afternoon, but you must dress appropriately. It is necessary to dress with knees and shoulders covered (no tank tops, or spaghetti strap dresses… dresses may be worn, but they may not be shoulder bearing or sleeveless, and need to come down to at least below the knees. Shorts and a t-shirt are acceptable for men to wear).
If you go on an excursion along the Gulf of Thailand, you will see the ships of the Thai fleet – this is the sea guard of the palace. At night, these ships illuminate the horizon, and create a truly unforgettable impression for those who stroll or dine at numerous restaurants along the beach.
In contrast to Pattaya, Thailand’s most famous seaside destination, Hua Hin is a much more calm and charming resort town, perfectly suitable for families. It’s a picturesque town, that has managed to retain the typical Thai flavor, despite tourism and modernazation. Among wealthy Thais, it is considered a very prestigious city to own real estate in.
Here you will find entertainment for pretty much any imaginable taste: Golf, Horse-back riding along the beach, Kite-surfing, Water skiing and wake-boarding, Wind-surfing, kite flying, fishing (both fresh and salt water), Walking/ hiking in the national park, elephant riding, a floating market, tourist markets, souvenir shops,and restaurants of dozens of different cuisines, with an abundance of dishes that will not leave even the most sophisticated tourist dissapointed.
If you take a walk past the Hilton hotel, you will come to a small pier. Here you can not only look at Thai fishing boats with their daily catch, but also watch the local fishermen who fish along the pier. At night, looking at the Gulf of Thailand, you will see a horizon dotted with green neon lights, used by Thai fishing boats to lure squid, a tasty Thai favorite, cooked just about every way possible, including not at all.
One of the oldest historical buildings of Hua Hin is the Railway Station. It is a famous landmark of Hua Hin, and althought small, it is one of the most beautiful railway stations in Thailand. Along with the construction of this station in 1911, Hua Hin itself began to develop, becoming a resort. In 1920, there was a Royal waiting room where the members of the royal family waited for the train. This room is now closed and not used.
The station itself is built entirely of wood in a traditional Thai style, and is surrounded by verdure. More than a hundred years after the construction, this station remains operational, and trains arrive and depart multiple times every day, to and from Bangkok, and to other cities in the south of Thailand, all the way down to the border of Malaysia.
At the station you will see a sign with the name of the city; this image is universally used in souvenir products, so this sign has become a kind of symbol of Hua Hin, and makes for a great background for photos.
Another famous landmark in Hua Hin is the hotel Sofitel. It was built in 1920 as a railway hotel. Located directly on the beach, just down the street from the train station, it is one of the most beautiful hotels in Hua Hin. By order of King Rama VI in 1922, the oldest, and most famous place to golf, the Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, was built to welcome hotel guests.
Though Hua Hin is a small city, it will not be a waste of your time. Even if you are not too interested in history, the King’s Summer Palace is simply stunning, there are numerous, beautiful temples, and the railway station is a great place for unforgettable photos. From the golf course, to the railway station, to the Sofitel Hotel and its beautiful architecture, it is truly a paradise, and especially for beach lovers.