Things to do and see in Hua Hin
When talking about what to do and see in Hua Hin, if you are planning to stay for a holiday, you may want to book an extra week. Hua Hin is jam-packed with great things to do, nice places to go, and interesting things to see. From the beaches to the mountains, from the shops to the restaurants, and from inspiring temples to breathtaking national parks, Hua Hin is the perfect destination.
Feeling lazy? Hit the beach. Hua Hin’s stunning beach is blessed with white sand, swaying coconut palm trees and granite boulders. Stretch out on a sun bed and soak up some tropical sunshine. Or, choose from one of the many water sports on offer like jet-skiing, banana boat riding or kite-boarding. Fancy a beach that is a bit slower in pace and a lot more chilled out? You can choose between another 5 beaches: Khao Takieb beach, Suanson beach, Had Sai Yai beach, Had Sai Noi beach and Khao Tao beach – perfect and you can buy food and drinks at all of them.
If you like to visit sites of historical interest, there are some great places to see. You can choose to visit Hua Hin’s famous railway station that is located in the centre of town. Here, you will find a very old railway station that is bright red. It is a great place to visit. Not only for the spectacle of the railway station but also because you can see hawkers selling their wares outside on the streets; trains rolling in and out of the station; and you can sit under the very old trees that provide shade and simply watch the world go by – and watch the crazy traffic racing by too!
Just over the railway track from Hua Hin railway station is Hua Hin’s town centre golf course – the Royal Hua Hin and it is Thailand’s oldest golf course too. Also built in the early 1900s, it is a lovely place to visit even if you don’t like to play golf as the restaurant there is a great place to unwind from the heat and humidity of the day. There are also many temples to see in Hua Hin and lots of Buddha statues too.
About 20 minutes’ drive west from Hua Hin is Wat Huay Mongkol Temple. The best time to get there to see the huge and enchanting sitting monk statue is just before sunset. The sky turns a multitude of exquisite colors as the sun sets behind the imposing monk. There are also the grounds of the King’s Palace to visit and Chat Chai wet market is a great place to see where the Thais buy their fresh products like vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. But, watch out for the live frogs and eels on sale!
Hua Hin has two famous national parks: Khao Sam Roi Yot and Pala-U. Both of these parks are teeming with wild animals. Expect to see birds of prey like Thai kingfishers and eagrets, and also mudskippers, huge beautiful multi-coloured butterflies and monkeys to name but a few types of the wildlife on offer. Pala-U is a waterfall park with eleven different waterfalls. It is located on the border of Thailand and Burma and is a 50 minute drive west of Hua Hin. Khao Sam Roi Yot is located about 45 minutes’ drive south and is right on the sea.
As you enjoy your trip out to Pala-U national park watch out for the road signs that warn of elephants. Also, as you arrive at the entrance of the park, you can buy fish food to feed the fish in the river. It is highly recommended you do this and sit on a rock in the river to feed them. The fish are so fast and powerful that you will get splashed with water cool, clear water as the fish speed to the surface to grab the food – great fun.
Throughout the national parks and Hua Hin, there are many places you can find trails that are perfect for walking on. There are also some superb mountain bike trails that wind and twist throughout the mountains and hills. There is a cycling club in Hua Hin called Hua Cha Hash Pedalers that regularly meet up. There are also some very good bicycle shops in Hua Hin that provide good machines and great advice and service. There is also a running club called Hua Hin Hash House Harriers. These crazy people like to run in the heat of the day around Cha-am, Hua Hin and Pranburi – be prepared to drink beer on the way. That said, whenever running, walking or biking, make sure you go properly prepared. Hua Hin can get very hot so take a mobile phone if you are heading into the ‘outback’. And, take plenty of water, sun cream and a puncture repair kit if you are biking.
There really are so many other things to do and see here too. For example, Monkey Mountain with its monkeys, Thai and Chinese temples, Khao Takieb fishing village with its boats, fishing nets and fresh seafood, Pranburi Forest Park with its wildlife, Pranburi Dam with its stunning landscape and nature trail; ATV terrain parks; elephant villages; art galleries; Hua Hin Animal Park with its variety of animals. Also, there are many golf courses, paintball centres, Thai cooking classes, fishing lakes, Thai massage, Thai kick boxing centres and sea fishing trips to choose from.
There is also a good selection of events throughout the year. For example, there is the Honda Jazz Festival every June. This is fantastic with a huge selection of bands. Prepare to get hot and the event gets busy with half of Bangkok descending on Hua Hin for the music, fun, food and beer. Songkran water festival is held in April and probably makes Hua Hin one of the craziest places on earth with everybody drinking, dancing and throwing water and multicolored talcum powder all over each other. If you visit Hua Hin at this time, it is virtually impossible to stay dry unless you stay in your room all day long.
There are also some great festivals in Hua Hin. There is a dragon boat racing regatta on Khao Tao Lake. There is also Loy Kratong festival where you can float your water craft and pay homage to the spirits of the water. The floating crafts are usually handmade from materials like banana leaves and flowers. There is also a kite festival held just north of Hua Hin and there is also a vintage car rally held in the grounds of the Sofitel Hotel.
Plearnwan historical centre just past the King’s Palace is also well worth visiting but it gets busy at weekends. There is a small fee to enter the centre. Something you can do for free as long as you can get up early enough, is to walk down to Hua Hin beach at sunrise. The view is just beautiful on the beach as the sun rises lazily from its bed you will see many Thais offering food to the monks in their unmistakable orange robes with their shaved heads. As you can see, there are many things to do and see in Hua Hin throughout the year.