If you enjoy walks through quiet winding streets of a friendly coastal village, play golf at championship course and experience pampering spa treatments, Hua Hin is the place for you. Golf courses within 30 minutes drive from the town and luxurious spas at five-star resorts and stand-alone establishments are its biggest attractions.
History has it that when the State Railway of Thailand laid tracks from Bangkok to Hua Hin in 1920s, a Scottish engineer on the project designed the country's first 18-hole golf course next to the railway station. Completed in 1924 and christened Railway Golf Course, today it is known as Royal Hua Hin Golf Course. It might not be a championship course, but it does have fairways winding around the foothills of Khao Hin Lek Fai, fondly known as Flintstone Mountain, a hop-skip-and-jump from the town centre.
There are other courses with plush clubhouses where everything from golf clubs to electric carts can be rented. They also provide trained caddies, foot massage and spa treatments at rates unmatched in Europe, the US and most Asian countries.
Golf aside, Hua Hin spas have been receiving rave reviews for their top notch service, excellent signature treatments and employing state-of-the-art technology. Most international spa chains are located in hotels, however, local brands are also worth experiencing. In fact, there is much more to this beach resort than meets the eye.
If you're looking for bright lights and vibrant all-night cabarets and discos, it might not level up to Pattaya and Phuket, but Hua Hin certainly has places for nighttime revellers, one of them is a beer house at Hilton called the Hua Hin Brewing Company.
For the sporty type, there is cycling, mountain-biking, go-cart, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) racing and horse-riding. The Elephant Village, just two kilometers north of Hua Hin, offers trekking around the fascinating Buddha images of Wat Itthisukhato and surrounding mountains and waterfalls.
Loads of action await watersport buffs in the form of banana boats, sailing, scuba diving and beach volleyball.
This stretch of the Gulf of Thailand's coastline is also becoming famous for windsurfing because of its strong northeasterly winds. Hua Hin is also a neat place for kiteboarders, a five-kilometre stretch of its beach making for great down winders. What furthers the cause of kiteboarders is that the town has the longest windy season in Thailand (November-April). There is about 40 kilometres of Hua Hin coastline running north to south waiting to be explored.
Next on the list of activities you can do there is shopping. For local handicrafts, the Hua Hin Bazaar is a popular venue. Khomapastr and Rashnee are famous names in Thai silk. The latter is a village complex divided into zones where you can watch the different steps involved in making silk.
Meanwhile, Chatchai market in the middle of the town, is an especially happy hunting ground for anyone looking for a typical local meal and desserts.
Golf, spas, water sports, shopping - the list goes on and on. There is never a dull moment in Hua Hin.
Bangkok Post December 05 www.bangkokpost.com
Return to the main Hua Hin news page