Matthew and I recently had great weekend vacation to Hua Hin. Hua Hin is a nice easily reachable beach town south of Bangkok. During its rise of popularity it was destination for Thailand‘s royalty, rich and elite. It now is lined with small boutique hotels and all the major hotels as well. The Founder and President of school Khun Paron owns property in Hua Hin and was gracious enough to allow us to stay in one of his guest houses while we were there. You can automatically tell that there are a lot of Westerners that visit the area due to the array of restaurants – French, German, Italian, Russian, etc… We actually ate a pretty good Italian restaurant one evening.
To get to Hua- Hin from Bangkok you have several options, rent a private van, take a van that departs from Victory Monument (2 hours), take a train (about 3 hours), or drive yourself. We took the train there and it actually ended up being 30 minutes late, most Thai people take the van that leaves from Victory Monument. For the ride back we cancelled our train ticket and took the van, and it had 2 stops in Bangkok- one that was actually closer to our neighborhood. If we return with a larger group we will more than likely rent a van so that we can have a driver over the course of the weekend, it actually cost more to get from the house we were staying at to the main part of Hua-Hin (a 10 minute ride 200 BHT, Bangkok to Hua-Hin in a shared van 150 BHT)
There are quite a few places that you can visit while on a weekend vacation in Hua- Hin. We actually didn’t go to the nearby caves, waterfall in the national park, or vineyard, and hope to visit again so that we can get to do that. But here are a few things that we did get to enjoy:
Maruekatayawan Palace, built by King Rama VI in 1923
When you think of a palace you think of a grandiose, ornate, closed in, somewhat stuffy place. This palace is the exact opposite. While it is grand, it’s on stilts and is completely open aired with open windows everywhere. It’s a light sand color with aqua and pink highlights. The grounds are amazing with large trees throughout. One of the many interesting features is that any part of the actual building that touch the ground (columns and stairwells) have a small moat about 1 inch wide and deep around them. When King Rama VI lived here, he detested ants; the moats were constantly filled with water, which prevented the ants from climbing up to the living quarters of the palace.
Hutsadin Elephant Foundation
Hutsadind Elephant Foundation is a place that rescues injured, abused, neglected and retired elephants. To raise money they offer a tour of their grounds via an elephant ride, opportunities to feed the elephants, and of course the infamous baby elephant show (at the end she asks for a tip by passing you a basket). The elephant ride starts of a bit tricky because your on top of this massive creature that is walking around on a not so even surface, but after a while you get used to it. Then you notice the elephant goad (the tool used to control the elephant) and it’s shocking because the mahout (the person controlling the elephant) will use this at times to poke it to make it do what they need it to do. Which I do understand somewhat since you have people on this large animal you need a way to make sure that it doesn’t go charging off. I also never heard the elephant cry or scream, so I’m assuming it was something similar to when my mom pinched my arm as a child to make me follow her lead – not fun but not torture either. The interactive baby elephant show was very cute, it really displayed the intelligence of the animal. She danced to the music, put a hat on my head, kicked a soccer ball to Matthew, and hugged us with her trunk.
Hua-Hin Floating Market – Skip it, just don’t do it to yourself.. Go to a real one.
Cicada is a modern artist market that is open in the evening. There are live shows going on throughout the market. There are original quality products being sold by local people, and I don’t mean the touristy gift items these are things, jewelry and clothing that you would actually use. And of course there is food. The atmosphere is great we actually went there two of the nights we were there.
Hua Hin Night Market
The Hua Hin Night Market is more like your traditional Thai market except it’s a night and there are restaurants that sell man eating sized lobsters. I of course wanted to eat one of these gigantic lobsters but I would not be able to take on the task myself and my husband is allergic to seafood. So please come visit soon so we can eat one of these things that were as long as my arms.
And of course the beach
Yes scream at me now, I didn’t take any pictures of the beach… so here’s one from the internet. But it’s a lovely beach you can rent lounge chairs, buy beverages and food, go kite surfing (not that I saw anyone doing that), take a banana boat ride, and of course go jet skiing,