Things to Do
Take time to explore some of the culture that Hua Hin has to offer. Most people who come to this sleepy town come here for the beach. While other beach towns in Thailand are all about the nightlife, Hua Hin is a much quieter destination where you can truly lie down on the beach for hours of peaceful sun-worshiping.
Hua Hin’s beach stretches for four kilometers—and while it might not be the largest or the whitest in Thailand, it makes up for it by being great for swimming, offering lots of family-friendly things to do, and always having deckchairs and umbrellas available for rent. Beach vendors selling refreshments and local souvenirs and crafts are often around (without being pushy) in case you need to stock up on goods without walking too far.
Baan Silapin, or Artists’ Home, is the brainchild of Thawee Kaesangarm, chairman of Hua Hin’s artist club. This gallery complex exhibits works from Thailand’s artists all year round as well as offering various art courses for children and those who wish to take their love of art to the next level.
Set in a picturesque location overlooking Hin Lek Fai Moutain, Baan Silapin complex contains an art gallery, art studios, classrooms and mud house displaying ceramic art and sculptures. There’s nothing formal or rigid about this place.
Its founding philosophy, as a gathering and work place for local artists, fills Baan Silapin with warmth and liveliness.
For Art’s Sake
Thailand’s first 4D Art Museum is a must-see for all ages. A quirky collection of fun murals painted by Thai artists, art installations, and sculptures, these are truly living images. Place yourself in the right spot, take a photo, and voila—you’re automatically part of a 3D image where piano stairs come to life, you can jump into the mouth of a shark, and monsters almost get you in the Horror Zone. The 4D element is provided through music and sound effects that make each museum zone even more unique.
Vic Hua Hin
Vic Hua Hin is an outdoor complex dedicated to contemporary art and culture. Its landscaped grounds house an art camp, art gallery, open-air amphitheater, school, and restaurant. On selected weekends, the complex hosts an array of dance, theatre, and music performances. Spearheaded by Patravadi Mejudhon, renowned actress, director, playwright, and founder of the Patravadi Theatre in Bangkok, Vic Hua Hin reflects K. Patravadi’s continuous effort to create public spaces for the artistic and creative minds, particularly the young ones who will become tomorrow’s talented artists. Vic Hua Hin offers a series of workshops, art camps, and performances by local, regional, and international artists.
Hua Hin Railway Station
Built during the reign of King Rama VI, and only a short distance from the centre of town, Hua Hin’s railway station and adjacent royal waiting room are undeniably attractive. The brightly painted wooden buildings that are Thai in concept and design somehow manage to have a ‘Victorian’ feel to them.
Outside of the station, there is a hidden library. Two of the old train carriages have been overhauled and turned into beautiful, quaint libraries.
An open-air weekend market that’s all about arts and crafts, Cicada is popular with both Thai and foreign tourists and is particularly lively once the sun goes down. The market is divided into four sections that include decorative home items and fashion for sale, an art gallery, a massive outdoor food court, and an area dedicated to live music and shows featuring bands, dance groups, unique pantomime performances, and live DJs.
Just after the Cicada market, the Tamarind Market is another Hua Hin night market only open at the end of the week. There is a stage with live music and dozens of food and drink stalls. Don’t expect to buy souvenirs, the stalls here offer almost only food and drinks. The difficulty, on the other hand, will sometimes be to find a place to sit to enjoy your dinner.
Hua Hin Night Market
No matter how much upscale shopping you do in Thailand, nothing beats the authentic feel of a local night market—a chance to soak up the atmosphere and experience real Thai market culture. Night markets often have no rhyme or reason in Thailand—and Hua Hin’s night market is no exception. Here, you’ll find arts and crafts next to cheap snacks (don’t be too shocked at the deep-fried insect snacks for sale) and stalls offering apparel.
Built for King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) as a summer retreat in the 1920s, Maruekhathaiyawan Palace is constructed entirely of teak wood and sits right on the beach.
The clever design of the palace—which sits on pillars and is made up of several sections connected by long covered corridors—allows for perfect air circulation and keeps the place cool in the hot and humid Thai afternoons. There’s even a corridor leading straight to the beach and the Queen’s former bathing pavilion.
The King’s living chambers are partially furnished with some of his original possessions. His study, where the king composed poetry when staying here, overlooks the ocean and houses his beloved desk and writing materials.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
Just two hours’ drive from Bangkok, Kaeng Krachan is one of Thailand’s most bountiful and ecologically diverse national parks. The park’s 2,915sqm forest area consists of pristine rainforests, granite mountain ranges, waterfalls, caves and a reservoir lake, offering plenty of trekking and bird-watching opportunities. The park features many wild as well as endangered animals, including black-and-yellow broadbills, barking deer, tapirs, Asian elephants, tigers, wild dogs and Asiatic leopards.
Sam Roi Yot National Park
Khao Sam Roi Yot’s dramatic backdrop of endless limestone peaks festooned in lush greenery inspired its name (Khao Sam Roi Yot means ‘the mountain with three hundred peaks’). Covering an area of nearly 100 sqkm along the coast, approximately 60km south of Hua Hin, Khao Sam Roi Yot is as close as it gets to Krabi Province’s dream-like seascapes in the south of Thailand. Peppered with marshes, wetlands and mangrove swamps, the mountains house an abundance of wildlife, including barking deer, crab-eating macaques and serow, an Asian goat-antelope.
Pa La-U Waterfall
This cascade is found on the south side of Kaeng Krachan National Park, some 60kms west of Hua Hin. The park is one of the largest in Thailand and sits right next to the Burmese (Myanmar) border. The waterfall has 16 steps, making it one of the highest in Thailand and those who make it to the top will be rewarded by superb views over Thailand and towards Burma. It should be noted, however, that progressing further than the third stage will be arduous and should only be attempted by those fit enough to do so.