Everyone’s felt that itch. The need to escape, explore, live and just be yourself. Ideally there’d be a place where you could venture into a tropical paradise, relax by a beach and yet enjoy some modern comforts and amazing food. Well, that place exists, and it’s called Hua Hin, Thailand. In fact, it’s considered Bangkok’s beach escape town!
There are activities, hotels, restaurants and places to “just relax” for every kind of soul! As a beach escape destination, Hua Hin offers water parks, world class golfing, wake-board parks, kite boarding, climbing, hiking, biking, waterfalls, national parks, shopping, amazing restaurants and some beautiful beaches all either in, near or just a short drive away from downtown.
When I visited last time, I had the pleasure of staying at First Choice Suites by the Sea and it was perfect for me. Nestled into the heart of Khao Takiab beach area I was just a stone’s throw away from Hua Hin’s famous Cicada Market, majestic ocean side temples, Khao Takiab beach and many other great restaurants. I loved this part of Hua Hin because it was a bit quieter and I could still venture into town very easily.
You see, when I travel I love to get into the local culture and experience things I usually wouldn’t get to at home. While that’s led to some random experiences like taking shots of locally made whisky while eating a deep fried scorpion with a guy named Pedro, it’s also opened up doors and inspired locals to share their favorite parts of their hometowns.
On my first night in Hua Hin, I wanted to experience some great food and yet “get local”. So, applying the Thai rule of thumb that kindness and smiles will get you more of the same in return, I asked some locals for advice. After some laughter, confused looks and loads of broken English I was finally directed toward lesser known foodie area, Hua Hin Soi 51. Adventure time!
I jumped into a taxi and was soon walking around an eclectic courtyard filled with ocean themed statues, murals and restaurants. Though there were some foreign expats it was easy to see that this was a lively local hangout spot. They also had incredible variety and the food looked clean and delicious!
As I was drooling and trying to decide where/what to eat I spotted what must be the largest and most beautiful cocktail in the world in front of place aptly called the Sound Library. As the awesome music and giant cocktail welcomed me in, a happy Thai man with long dreadlocks stepped out to deliver what must be Thailand’s version of a cornucopia combined with a mai thai. Seriously! This thing looked like a fruit jungle!!… And was equally delicious.
After a couple drinks, some amazing curry fusion chicken steak and a few laughs I asked the owner about the local beaches. He gave me some great advice. He said that if I’m looking for ease of access and convenience Khao Takiab and Hua Hin beach are great places to relax and are within walking distance to great food and drinks… but I’m an adventurer so I pressed on. And he revealed a couple of gems.
The first, Khao Sam Roi Yod National Park. Located about a 35-40 minute drive south of Hua Hin it is a great day trip filled with hiking, a white sand beach, boats, islands, mountains and even sacred temples in caves! Even driving there is a magical journey as you are surrounded by ancient green mountains and rice fields twinkling in the sun and the occasional beautiful Thai temple popping up in the middle of it all.
Once you arrive you have the option to climb 2 km over a stunning ocean side mountain or to take a boat. Either way, you’ll need to pay a park entrance fee, but it’s worth it! If you choose to hike, bring water. Once you get over or around the mountain you’ll find yourself on a pristine white sanded paradise. Coconut trees and tropical pine trees shade you as you look out over the crystal blue ocean water at an island, just a kayak’s ride in front of you.
The second was this quiet little beach located just north of Hua Hin and next to a Kite boarding school called 17-knots. Getting there was a bit tricky but 17-knots was great and they helped guide us in. Once there, we were treated to one of the cleanest stretches of beach that you can find in the area. The drinks were awesome and the owner even let me try my hand at flying a small kite-boarding kite! My friends and I ended up spending the day relaxing, swimming, slack lining, jamming on guitars and watching the locals pull off some incredible kite-boarding tricks.
The rest of the time that I was in Hua Hin was spent relaxing and discovering other local gems. One classy Thai lady and I literally did “tea time” in Centara Grand’s beautiful gardens. Another helped me find the beautiful lookout point on top of Hin Lek Fai and I even woke up early enough, 6 a.m., one morning to give alms and food to the local Buddhist monks!
Check out more information on Tourder’s and feel free to send us your questions. Then, pack yourself a travel bag, a good book, good walking shoes, a swimsuit and an open mind and check out Hua Hin, Thailand for yourself.