Bangkok – Hua Hin(The Malibu of Thailand)
200 kilometres south of Bangkok sits what used to be Thailand’s see-and-be-seen prime destination. Hua Hin is a beach resort, made popular by royalty and aristocrats. It was discovered by King Rama VII, who liked the area so much he built Klai Kang Won (‘Far From Worries’) Palace and made it into an escape from Bangkok for the rich and famous. The resort is now somewhat less exclusive and attracts nobility and commoners alike, Thais and foreigners. However, the Palace is still a royal residence and until 2006 the Thai King lived there full-time.
What makes Hua Hin so popular with the crowds is the combination of beach life and old charm, with modern entertainment. The resort is famous for the sandy beach, stretching for 5 kilometres and offering great swimming, snorkelling, water sports and leisurely strolls. It also counts itself among the world’s undiscovered quality golf destinations. It’s a golf-holiday heaven, offering superb courses at low prices.
Klai Kang Won Palace is only accessible by invitation, but for a glimpse into Siam’s past, you can visit Maruekatayawan Palace – the other royal palace in Hua Hin, which was built by King Rama VI as a summer residence. It is open daily between 8 AM and 4 PM. Another architectural gem is the town’s railway station. It has been voted Thailand’s most beautiful railway station, originally built in 1923 and then restored to its full glory in 1968.
Other nearby attractions include hills with panoramic vantage points, pretty waterfalls, caves and wats. For a bird’s eye view of the area, climb Takiap Hill, which also houses a Buddhist temple, or Hin Lek Fai Hill with a public park on top. 60 kilometres from Hua Hin is the scenic Pa La-u waterfall. And for wine lovers, don’t miss a chance to visit Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, where you can learn about wine production in the tropics and taste some local wines. There are many tours on offer to help you explore all the natural and cultural attractions around the resort.
Hua Hin is easily reached from Bangkok either by road or rail. It’s on the southern rail route, the main reason it’s so accessible to Bangkokians seeking a reprieve from the noise and hot closeness of the city. Direct buses also go from the capital. Hua Hin is only about 2 hours away from Bangkok airport