A question that comes up again and again is the question about the closest beach to Bangkok. When it comes to pure distance Bang Saen, Chonburi is probably the safest bet. Due to it’s lack in almost everything many Bangkokonians however usually avoid that area and rather head down towards Hua Hin.
Hua Hin is not only just 2-3 hours away from Bangkok but also the residence of His Majesty the King of Thailand. The good things about Hua Hin are that it’s not too far away from Bangkok and that it is pretty well developed. It’s quite decent in size and will offer you everything that big cities usually offer. You’ll be able to do your shopping, find your supermarkets and lots of western food. Having that said you can already guess the downside of you Hua Hin as well. For some it might be to touristic, to crowded and to westernized. Especially the few “tourist” streets bascially scream “Farang” when entering. Besides that the nightlife, although not as bad as in Pattaya, also develops a bit into that direction. Nevertheless it’s still easy to avoid those spots and have a good time in Hua Hin.
How to go to Hua Hin
There are several ways to head down those 2.5 hours to the beach. Last time we went we took a van from Victory Monument in Bangkok. 160 THB per person. The vans leave basically every 15 minutes or so. So simply take the BTS to Victory Monument, get off there and head down (next to the Victory Mall) to the van stop. You can’t miss it.
Besides vans there are also trains (mostly from Thonburi) leaving from Bangkok to Hua Hin. Buses are also available but our recommendation stays the van due to it’s speed and price. If you carry lots of luggage however it might not be the best choice since it’s quite limited in space.
If money isn’t a problem you could also always rent a limousine or ask a taxi to drive down there. 2.000 – 3.000 THB and you’re good.
Where to stay in Hua Hin
There are lots of hotels in and around Hua Hin of course. If you don’t want to use agoda to resever in advance your chances are high on finding decent accommodation around the tourist street number one, Soi 61. It might get a bit noisy there though due to the amount of bars and restaurants around that area. It still might be worth checking out though of course especially since the prices are a bit lower around that area than in the more quiet Soi 65. Over there the guesthouses are a bit cleaner and you won’t run into any huge party or bar crowds.
Last time we stayed at the Sunshine Guesthouse and had a good time with this small but tidy accommodation. The staff was quite friendly and spoke decent English as well. Overall quite a good experience.
What to do in Hua Hin
Now that’s a good question. To be quite honest I was a bit disappointed when I entered Hua Hin for the first time. Simply because it was too much of a ‘normal’ city to me. Not much holiday flair at first. If you give it some time however you’ll be able to find a few nice places.
For once there is the Grand Night Market. I am not quite sure where it got that name from since it’s not that grand but the food there is quite decent. Especially in the first stall on the right hand side. Quite some good curry and SomTam (Papaya Salad) there.
Besides that I would recommend renting a Motorcycle and then check out some of the spots a little further down the road since Hua Hin Beach itself isn’t that amazing. It can be cool to hang out after dark when most people left but before that it’s just crowded and pretty ugly. I’d rather go to the beaches down south, 15 minutes away by motorcycle. Chances you’ll find a quiet spot there are much higher. Khao Tao beach is our favorite here but the others are quite nice as well – especially compared with the beach back int he city.
Some other nice and scenic spost might be the Railway Station (really pretty) or the temples and statues in the mountains (you can’t miss them – just look around when you’re at the beach). It takes a bit (not too long though) to go there so bring your camera and enjoy a few nice views (also again check Khao Tao.
Last but not least I’d like to recommend the Corner Corner restaurant in Soi 61 since it was the only ‘cool’ and ‘original’ looking place in all of that tourist area and served quite good food for fair prices.
More pictures and experiences will follow since we’ll be heading back to Hua Hin soon for an even deeper inside view. However I have to say that so far the best thing about Hua Hin is it’s closeness to Prachuap Khiri Khan.
As always, more updates and pics on facebook.com/MyThai.org