Hua Hin Events and Festivals
There are many exciting events, festivals and holidays celebrated each year in Hua Hin and the surrounding area, attended by a diverse mix of Thais, locals and an increasingly international crowd, a trend which looks set to continue. Some events attract such large visitor numbers that it can be very hard to find accommodation, so it might be worth booking ahead during those busy periods. Thai holidays and traditional Buddhist events are mentioned separately in our Holidays section.
We have listed the main events and festivals roughly in chronological order, but they don’t necessarily occur every year and the dates and venues are prone to change. Occasionally, other small local events take place which are worth watching out for. We have also mentioned some lesser known interesting and unusual events.
Hua Hin Ballooning Festival
The Ballooning Festival lasts several weeks in February and March, organised by the Rest Detail Hotel and Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. Balloon flights leave the vineyard (around 35 km from Hua Hin) very early in the morning and last around one hour, but the experience includes a chauffeur, champagne breakfast with jazz music, and a commemorative certificate and photographs. This is definitely aimed at romantic couples that want a memorable few hours, but it’s quite expensive at around 15,000 baht. It’s certainly an appealing but exclusive activity, and the enormous balloons are an attractive sight for everyone else.
Hua Hin International Kite Festival
In March the winds are ideal for the International Kite Festival which is held every two years at the Rama VI army camp between Hua Hin and Cha Am. Thousands of exquisitely designed and colourful kites fill the skies, with all types and sizes of kite on display. Individual and team competitions are held, with competitors and flying clubs coming from all over the world. Entry is free and spectators are sure to enjoy the show. The next one is scheduled for 2012.
Hua Hin Kiteboarding World Cup
Kiteboarding is now an established water-sport in Hua Hin, and the large kites are a common sight at the southern end of Hua Hin beach between October and May. The World Cup is held for six days in March when there are consistent and favourable wind conditions, with a four day pre-event only for Asian riders. Professional kiteboarders compete in the main grand slam event which includes categories such as freestyle, course racing and off-board. This entertaining and fashionable sport always draws good crowds and has become a popular date in the Hua Hin sporting calendar.
Hua Hin International Cricket Sixes
Every April the Dusit Thani Hotel hosts this five day cricket competition with teams typically representing Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Thailand and UK. First started in 1997, this is now a long-running local fixture. There are two divisions in the competition, namely the Cup and the Masters.
Honda Summer Festival Hua Hin
A recently established event, the Honda Summer Fest is a free one day music festival held on the beach in May featuring reggae, ska and dance music, performed by well known Thai musicians with appearances from international bands and DJs. There are also water sports displays, fashion shows and movies to add to the carnival atmosphere. The festival has now moved to Khao Takiab beach and has become very popular especially with young Thais and teenagers. Many visitors arrive from Bangkok and so the area is extremely busy with a dire shortage of parking and accommodation. There is also the obligatory chance to discover more about Honda cars and motorbikes, and dozens of promotions and prizes.
Preserve Hua Hin Heavy Half Marathon
The Preserve Hua Hin Group organises this annual run in April or May comprising a half marathon, a quarter marathon and a less gruelling fun run. The aim is to raise awareness about environmental and social issues in Hua Hin and to motivate us all to exercise a little more. The course starts at Khao Hin Lek Fai (Flintstone Hill) which has quite a steep incline, and there are various cash prizes on offer.
Hyatt Open Golf Tournament
As an ever popular golfing destination, Hua Hin holds several professional and amateur events each year. This is a new two day amateur-only tournament, organised by the Hyatt Regency Hotel which takes place at the Banyan Golf Club in mid July. There are chances to win impressive prizes including cars, holidays and golf clubs.
Hua Hin Jazz Festival
The annual Hua Hin Jazz Festival is certainly one of the highlights in town during an otherwise slow period, attracting musicians and visitors from all over Thailand and abroad. The next edition of the festival will take place between 20-22 June 2014. All the music and performances are free, situated on one of several stages down at the beach from the afternoon until late evening. The performing musicians are an eclectic mix of local and international talent, and it has grown into one of the jazz world’s most popular festivals. Most of the audience sit on the beach to enjoy the party atmosphere and wonderful music. There are also many other attractions, such as stalls selling food and handicrafts, and the whole town really seems to come alive for a few days.
Hua Hin Regatta
This sailing contest is organised by the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand and held in August each year in honour of the King, who is known to have a keen interest in sailing. Fierce competition can be expected as the boats battle it out to win the coveted royal trophies. The regatta is due to run for eight days towards the end of August with the first few days reserved for registration and practice, and will be held on the beach in front of the Dusit Thani Hotel.
Hua Hin International Triathlon
This demanding sport attracts well-trained and aspiring athletes to compete in three disciplines including a 1.5 km swim, a 42 km bike ride, and a 10 km run. The triathlon takes place around Suanson Pradipat beach and army building (10 km south of Hua Hin). The bike course is a circular route that follows Petchakasem Road, Soi 112 and the road to the Banyan Golf Club. There are both individual and team categories and prizes. This year the triathlon is scheduled for August 21st.
Hua Hin Golf Festival
The Golf Festival is a fantastic opportunity to play at most of the major courses around Hua Hin and Cha Am for a massively reduced price of 800 baht for green fees, every day during August and September. Some of the participating courses have in the past included Banyan Golf Club, Majestic Creek Golf Club, Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, Palm Hills Golf Resort, Springfield Village, and Kaeng Krachan Country Club, to name just a few. There is an organised tournament every Sunday and many worthwhile prizes to be won. The local hotels and guesthouses can become busy during this time, so consider booking ahead.
King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament Hua Hin
Elephant polo is an entertaining variation of traditional horse polo, and this year the King’s Cup tournament celebrates its tenth anniversary. Organised by the Hua Hin Anantara Resort and Spa, what was once a small competition has expanded to become a nine day tournament in September with around 16 teams, 4 leagues and competitors from 15 countries taking part. The elephants are surprisingly nimble around the pitch, and perhaps enjoy the game even more than the riders. The competition raises money for the conservation of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephants, which are often neglected or mistreated.
Hua Hin Seafood Festival
This small culinary event takes place at the Market Village shopping mall over several days during September. Local restaurants and hotels set up small booths downstairs in the centre of the mall, offering a wealth of freshly cooked seafood and shellfish specialities. There is also an informative display area dedicated to various types of seashells, and stalls selling ornamental shells and related handicrafts. This festival is definitely worth a short visit, at least to try the amazing seafood dishes at reasonable prices.
Hua Hin Food Festival
The food festival is a four day gastronomic extravaganza to celebrate national and local Thai food, with many of the major hotels and restaurants from the area taking part. Amongst the activities are cooking demonstrations, food contests and countless stalls selling fresh seafood and other Thai dishes. As well as the delicious food, people come to the festival to enjoy the live entertainment including music and cabaret. It’s usually held at the Royal Queen Park in November or December.
Hua Hin Bike Week
Just like many other towns in Thailand, Hua Hin has it’s own bike week which seems to be growing in popularity every year. It normally takes place in December at a large area just off the canal road known as 48 Rai. Organised by the local Vampire Motorbike Club and the police, it’s an excuse for a big party where bikers can show off their machines and admire what others have. The majority of bikes tend to be choppers, but there are also custom bikes, sports bikes, and just about every other kind imaginable. Everyone is welcome to attend, whether a dedicated biker or not. To keep the crowds happy, there are live rock bands, food and drinks, stands selling bike gear, tattoo contests and even coyote dancers on stage. The profits usually go to a local charity or school, or towards new bikes for the local police.
Hua Hin Horse Festival
This equestrian festival (known as the ‘endurance classics’) started in 2009 and features beach-based endurance marathons with 40 km and 80 km categories, as well as a shorter horse race for local competitors, and another for VIP guests only. The festival has been previously held in July and December, with close involvement by the Thailand Equestrian Federation and the Dusit Thani Hotel which also hosts a special VIP party.
Preserve Hua Hin Concert
Another charitable event organised by the local Preserve Hua Hin Group, an annual evening concert is held in December at Hin Lek Fai hill to raise awareness about local environmental issues. The event aims to be completely carbon-neutral so a carbon credit donation is made to charity, and tree seedlings are planted on the hill by volunteers. The entertainment is provided by popular Thai and local musicians.
Black Mountain Masters
This high profile golfing competition is now part of the Asian Tour and was previously held in December at the Black Mountain Golf Club. It’s a chance to see some big name players on the Asian Tour circuit, and it certainly highlights Hua Hin as a great venue for international golf. Black Mountain also hosts other golfing events such as the Royal Trophy.
Hua Hin Vintage Car Parade
The annual Hua Hin vintage car parade is a classic car rally lasting for several days in December, starting with a leisurely drive from the Sofitel Centara Grand Hotel in Bangkok to the Sofitel Centara Grand Resort in Hua Hin. Most participants wear period-style costumes from the 1920s to 1940s and drive an assorted collection of classic car marques such as Jaguar, Mercedes, and Fiat. In previous years, more than forty cars have taken part in the parade. The official opening ceremony is hosted at Market Village followed by a buffet dinner which is open to the public. The next day, the cars parade around Hua Hin and there is also a chance to ride as passenger in a vintage car, with proceeds from ticket sales going to charity. The event culminates in a gala evening dinner at the Sofitel.