If you’re looking for a beach resort close to Thailand’s capital, Hua Hin pretty much gets the gold for being the nearest beach to Bangkok. Located on the mainland of Thailand 195 km away from Bangkok, Hua Hin is a popular escape for locals and expats from the city.
Nearest Beach To Bangkok
The beaches at Hua Hin are not the best that Thailand has to offer, and the town is not the most picturesque of places to visit in Thailand either. With a rather ugly dual carriageway noisily cutting it’s way through the middle of the town, you need to be aware that you’re not going to be getting a perfect tropical island escape in Hua Hin. However! Apart from being the nearest beach to Bangkok, Hua Hin does still have it’s perks…
Hua Hin town is actually Thailand’s oldest seaside resort and serves proudly as the King of Thailand’s primary residence. Because of it’s royal association, Hua Hin offers a much more ‘wholesome’ and family friendly vibe, free from the go-go bars and seediness that tends to seep it’s way into the other beach resorts of Thailand.
Despite the large number of tourists that visit Hua Hin, it retains a relaxed and honest vibe, without the hassle of pushy tuk tuk drivers and stall vendors (not so many anyway). Tourists can still enjoy lazing on the beach, eating at the local restaurants, or taking excursions to the nearby National Parks and historical sites.
Where to stay in Hua Hin
Most of the restaurants, nightlife and shopping attractions are clustered together in the centre of Hua Hin town around the Hilton Hotel area:
If you want to stay centrally and be able to get around easily on foot, it pays to stay around this area of Hua Hin. From here, you can easily reach the main beach, night market, old railway station and lively restaurants. Damnoenkasem Road marks the most popular area of the beach and leads directly down to the main part of the sea front. The Hilton Hotel and Centara Grand Resort are a good choice if you have a big budget.
Getting Around Hua Hin
Some tourists rent scooters to get around the town and explore further outside, however Hua Hin can be a little more daunting to drive around than other Thailand beach resorts. This is mainly because of it’s busy traffic and intimidating multi-carriageway than runs through it. Alternatively, tuk tuks cost from a minimum of 100 baht per journey up to 300 baht per hour – you can usually find drivers hanging around popular spots around town.
To save money, you can catch a songtaew from just 10 baht per person – these are basically pickup trucks with sheltered seats in the back. Look out for the white songtaews to go to Market Village and the night market from around town. The green songtaews in Hua Hin go to the airport and Takiab mountain (Monkey Mountain).
Things to do in Hua Hin
- Food – Naresdamri Road offers the biggest choice of restaurant and bars, ideal for tourists and expats in Hua Hin. If you’d prefer to try something a little more local and authentic, make sure to check out the cheap and cheerful Thai beer garden ‘Ruam Saeb’ on Phetkasem Road near Soi 88/2 (within walking distance to the Hua Hin Market Village).
- Shopping – Hua Hin has plenty of night markets to check out – namely the Cicada Market, Hua Hin Night Market and the Grand Night Market. The Cicada market is the most impressive of the three. It’s located in front of the Hyatt Regency hotel and is open from 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. The Cicada Market has a charming atmosphere with live performances, art exhibitions, art markets, great Thai food, and hand made products.
Hua Hin night market is open from 5pm everday and runs along Soi 72 (Dechanuchit Rd). It’s not as interesting as the Cicada Market but still offers a good Thai night market experience – be sure to check out the enchanting market square ‘Chatsila’ and sample all of the Thai treats along the way. The Grand Market is very small and not particularly aesthetically pleasing. However it is popular with locals and offers some bargain prices and good, simple Thai food. If you prefer more modern shopping, Hua Hin Market Village is a nice little shopping centre with plenty of restaurants, designer shops and a cinema on the top floor.
Chat Sila Night Market
- Sightseeing – Within the town of Hua Hin, you can visit the beautiful old Hua Hin Railway station, take a trip back in time at the quirky Thai vintage village of Plearn Wan, or take in the views from Hua Hin fishing pier. A little further out of town, you can take excursions to religious sites such as ‘the biggest statue’ at Huay Mongkol Temple, the giant golden buddha of Chopstick Mountain or the Thai shrines of Turtle Hill. For a peaceful getaway, take a trip to Pala-u waterfall, or the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard and it’s highly reputed restaurant.
Plearn Wan Vintage Village
- Sport – Hua Hin has ideal conditions for kite surfing: take a stroll down the main stretch of beach and you’ll find the sea buzzing with activity from kite surfers and their whirling kites. Click here to find out more about kite surfing courses with KBA. You can also go horse riding on the main beach in Hua Hin – it’s hard to miss the many guides trotting up and down the beach. Alternatively, Hua Hin Black Mountain offers some of the best golfing in Thailand as well as a great water park and wake boarding park.
- Music – If visiting Hua Hin during June, make sure to visit the annual Hua Hin Jazz Festival on the beach: Relaxing atmosphere, cheap beer, good music… and it’s on a beach dammit!
How to get from Bangkok to Hua Hin
The cheapest and quickest way to get from Bangkok to Hua Hin is by minivan. Minivans depart from Bangkok to Hua Hin frequently throughout the day from Victory Monument for just 180 baht per one-way journey. If travelling by BTS skytrain, take the Sukhumvit line BTS to Victory Monument station, then exit the station via exit 2. You’ll notice Century Plaza and a load of minivans waiting at the left hand side of it.
You can purchase Bangkok to Hua Hin tickets at a little desk near the minivans. On it’s way from Bangkok to Hua Hin, the minivan will usually make one stop in Cha-am first, so make sure to listen out for your correct stop.
If money isn’t an issue for you, you may prefer to fly from Bangkok to Hua Hin instead.