Thailand has to be one of my favourite countries to visit and always holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first country my husband and I visited in south east Asia, and we fell in love instantly with this amazing place. We have been fortunate to travel to Thailand on several occasions and a few years back we both had a random week of annual leave booked in June and didn’t have anything planned so decided to jet away to Thailand.
As we only had one week and not much time we opted to stay in Hua Hin as it’s easily accessible from Bangkok, it’s south of the capital and about a 3 hour car journey. We chose Hua Hin as it’s located on the beach, and there isn’t much to see and do there, and we both really wanted a chill out break, and knew if we went somewhere with lots around we would be wanting to go and explore everyday. Hua Hin has been a popular getaway for the royal Thai family for over a century.
We booked a stunning resort and spa and spent 5 nights relaxing by the pool and beach all day and in the evenings venturing out to the town for massages, dinner, drinks and Hua Hins many night markets. Hua Hin isn’t the most exciting place in Thailand however if you just want a relaxed trip and you are strapped for time then Hua Hin is easily accessible and affordable, and you won’t be beating yourself up about not venturing out sightseeing as there really isn’t that much to see or do in and around Hua Hin.
Sights & Activities
Hua Hin Market Village
Market Village is Hua Hin’s largest shopping complex located in the centre of this sleepy seaside town. The complex offers shopping, dining, entertainment and a cinema. With over a 150 shops and restaurants there is something for everyone all under one roof. The mall is very modern but also offers lots of affordable products and food options. The mall runs a free shuttle service between the mall and Hua Hin’s many resorts and hotels.
Hua Hin’s Nightmarkets
Hua Hin has a really good selection of night markets in the town centre to visit we went to several different ones. Chatsila Nightmarket was one of my favourite markets and is more like an arts and crafts market with lots of locally made items, it has a really nice relaxed atmosphere and there is food stalls too.
Hua Hin Night Bazaar is also another night market to explore it comes alive at night with the many street vendors and stalls. It may not have as big of a variety like the night markets in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, however if your really into your seafood there is a big selection of seafood stalls selling fresh quality fish and shellfish street food dishes.
The Grand Night Market is popular with locals and sells more main stream goods such as gadgets and electricals, clothing and homewares with also some street food stalls.
There are also several other markets to explore too, I would suggest every evening just wandering around the town centre, and see what you stumble across as this is how we found the various markets, shops and restaurants and it’s a great way to spend an evening just getting lost amongst the many stalls and people watching over a cold drink.
Hua Hin Train Station
Hua Hin Train Station might seem like a bit of a strange place to go and visit however it was built during the reign of King Rama VI, and is only a short distance from the town centre, Hua Hin’s railway station and adjacent royal waiting room are brightly painted wooden buildings that are Thai in design but have a Victorian feel to them. Hua Hin many years ago had no road access and train travel was a new alternative to get from Bangkok to Hua Hin instead of by boat. The train station was built in 1926 and the town gradually grew around the station.
It’s only a small attraction and we came here early evening one day before heading out for dinner, and had a wander around. There is also a small brightly coloured shrine opposite the station with lots of animal statues which is quite nice to go and see too.
Food & Drink
Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa
The Anantara food which was on offer was absolutely exceptional and we had the most delicious lunches by the pool during our stay. The resort has a good selection of western and Thai dishes but we always opted for the Thai and Asian dishes as we always like to try and eat local delicacies as we can eat western food anytime while at home. I also tried lots of the cocktails from the menu and all were amazing and not over powering and great drinks to have either by the pool or to finish off the evening. I also managed to drink my body weight in fresh coconuts by the pool daily.
Hua Hin’s Nightmarkets
As we ate in the resort for breakfast and lunch, in the evenings we enjoyed venturing out and seeing what the night markets and local restaurants had to offer, so each night we would try somewhere different. Hua Hin is a great place to try lots of fresh seafood from the many local stalls and restaurants. You won’t be disappointed with the food around the town centre as there is so much choice, and it’s all so affordable and much cheaper than eating in the hotels and resorts, and also helping the locals make a living.
Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa
Anantara Hua Hin Resort was the first hotel from the Anantara brand. It is an award winning resort and spa, and set amongst lush green gardens. The grounds of the resort are truly stunning with lots of plants, flowers and lotus filled lagoons. The main pool area in the hotel is simply gorgeous and is really big and doesn’t feel crowded and has a fab swim up bar, and really comfy day bed seating around the other side of the pool bar for casual lunch time dining in your bikini.
There are 190 rooms and suites on offer at the Anantara Hua Hin and all have a terrace or balcony. The rooms were spacious and absolutely immaculately kept, with one of the hugest beds I’ve ever slept in! The room decor is in keeping with a traditional Thai theme. The bath was so big it was more like a hot tub! It also gave you the option to have an open plan room and bathroom are there are sliding doors to shut off your bathroom from the bedroom. Everything felt really well thought out and luxurious. The staff were all so friendly and welcoming and couldn’t have been more helpful.
There are also several bars and restaurants to choose from dotted around the resort. We only ate breakfast in the mornings and would order an informal lunch around the pool as we went out into the town in the evenings for food. The breakfast was absolutely delicious and so much choice available. It was a buffet breakfast but had everything you could possibly imagine to make for the perfect breakfast. The lunch options were also really tasty and always cooked fresh to order.
The resort also offer their guests the chance to learn some Thai cooking, kick boxing or kite surfing. There is a spa that offers a load of different treatments and uses Elemis products. There is the option to either have your treatment by the pool or in the spa itself. We never actually got round to using the spa we literally snoozed by the pool all day and then went to the night markets in the evening or would grab a foot massage from one of the many massage parlours around the town before going to bed.
The Anantara is a real treat and relaxing getaway, the only thing that we weren’t too impressed with was its beach front setting, it’s great that the Anantara has it’s own private stretch of beach, however it wasn’t the prettiest beach we had ever set foot on and there was some litter about. We just felt that the whole resort was so well cared for and the attention to detail was second to non, however it seemed like the beach had been forgotten about, that was the only downfall that the resort had in our opinion.
I really can’t recommend the Anantara enough if your on a budget and time constraint this is the perfect week long getaway that won’t cost the earth!
Transport & Getting Around
To get from Bangkok airport to Hua Hin we booked a transfer in advance which did cost about £45 each way, you can get a taxi from outside the airport however we wanted to have everything arranged prior as we didn’t fancy messing around after an 11 hour flight, we just wanted a transfer ready and waiting which worked out really well, and also I’m not sure if it would cost more or not just picking one up at the airport.
Getting Around Hua Hin
Shuttle buses are laid on by the resort and will take you into the town, from what I can remember they only cost about a £1 each and you could arrange for them to come and pick you back up in the evening too. We used their shuttle buses most nights. There are also taxis and tuk tuks readily available too if you didn’t want to be stuck to a set pick up time.