What was once the Thai Royal family’s weekend getaway spot in Thailand, has somehow stayed under the radar of tourists. This quiet little beach town may be one of the last few beach locations near busy Bangkok that is not overrun with the nightlife we have come to expect from Pattaya.
Hua Hin in the Cha am district is just 2 and a half hours drive from BKK airport. It’s a great choice if you want a relaxing vacation without many connecting flights. This town has much to offer for families, couples and the solo traveller too. Luxurious resorts and boutique guest houses at reasonable prices, national parks for day trips and you can even take a romantic horse ride on the beach. You won’t even think of shopping when you see how many experiences are to be had in this simple yet colorful corner of Thailand.
Here’s a list of great activities you must include in your itinerary when travelling to Hua Hin:
1. Kaeng Krachan National Park
Just 2 hours drive from Hua Hin you will encounter a massive rain forest with lush jungles undisturbed by humans. Hundreds of butterflies greet you as you enter the national park that is home to clouded leopards, Malayan tapirs, barking deer and more than 400 types of birds. This tropical jungle gets plenty of rainfall so streams and rivulets flow through it all year round. There are private resorts in some areas, but if you want to spot the wild life you should head deeper into the National park. Go on a tour or with an experienced guide as it is not that easy to navigate the largest National Park in Thailand on your own.
2. Pala U waterfall
This spectacular creation of nature is a 16 level waterfall that cascades down gradually through a rainforest. This waterfall lies within the Kaeng Krachan national park. We are only allowed to hike up to level 5, as the higher levels are closed to the public. If you’re an avid hiker you must check this out. The place is magical with butterflies and freshwater carp fish in the cascading pools of the waterfall. You may even see some animals on the way.
3. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
This coastal National park is known for its caves and caverns. You will also find adventure camps on the beach and hikes through lush greenery amid the limestone peaks. Sam Phraya beach has accommodation and bike rentals to explore the park. I would recommend checking in for a day or two if you have kids and explore the park at leisure. You are charged 200 baht per person to enter. Spark up some mystery by exploring the stalactites and stalagmites at Sai cave with a torch. The Phraya Nakhon cave is the main attraction and can be accessed from Laem Sala beach. The view as you come upon the royal pavilion is worth the hike up. At certain times in the day the sunlight’s angle lights up the sinkhole entrance creating a mystical aura around the place. It’s not too steep so is suitable for kids about 8+ years of age.
4. Snorkel at Koh Talu island
Had enough of the rain forest? The Eastern Gulf of Thailand plays host to a massive array of underwater life. Take a speedboat to Koh Talu and snorkel in the azure waters in the middle of the sea and enjoy a day on a pristine white sand beach.
5. Horse Riding on the Beach
If your kids are as crazy about My Little Pony as my daughter is, then you will definitely make their dreams come true by taking them here. They will never forget an experience of riding a real pony. There are plenty of horses available for riding on Hua Hin beach near the Sofitel Hotel. It costs about 600 baht an hour and the jockeys will let you ride on your own and take in the beautiful beachfront from a different perspective. This also makes for some great photographs. Now tell me one person who wouldn’t enjoy the thrill of galloping across a sandy beach on a majestic horse!