On the western edge of the Gulf of Thailand lies the beach resort city of Hua Hin. If you spend any time at all in the country you will no doubt hear of it.
It is so popular that it is even home to the summer palace of the country’s Royal Family. There is a seemingly endless list of activities and sights to see here and in the surrounding area. It is among the most popular of playgrounds in the Land of Smiles.
The railroad built to connect Bangkok with the Malaysian border is one of the contributing factors that gave Hua Hin its popularity. The city’s stop along this line was built in 1921 and it opened the access door for everyone to enjoy the beauty of the area.
In fact, this railway station is among the oldest in Thailand. In 1923, to accommodate the tourist demand for lodging, the Railway Hotel opened for business. Today, the same hotel is known as the Sofitel Hotel and is one of the most spectacular in this area.
Of course everyone here knows the area as the home of the Royal Family’s Southern Palace. It was during this time of the area’s rising popularity that it caught the eye of King Rama VII who saw its potential as a summer resort and home. He had a palace built and it is named Klai Klongwon which is Thai for “far from worries.”
Things to See and Do
The main attraction in Hua Hin is the beach. It is five kilometers long with beautiful ocean views and white sand. However, the beach is not all that awaits you in this area. There is a variety of activities, historical sites, natural wonders, and shopping venues that the visitor can enjoy here.
Golfing is among the most popular activities here and the area has some of the finest in courses. There are several courses to choose from such as the Black Mountain Golf Course which also hosted the 2009 Asian Golf Tour.
Natural wonders are also what make the area around Hua Hin so popular. For instance, if you want to escape the heat, the Pala U Waterfall is just a short drive from the beach resort area. This waterfall has 11 tiers and if you are adventurous enough you can climb all of them.
However, be careful because each tier gets more difficult and treacherous to climb. At the waterfall, you can also sit at a pavilion, eat, and enjoy the coolness of the dense forest and the wildlife that is native to the area.
On the way to Pala U, you can stop at Wat Huay Mongkol which is a Buddhist temple situated in a park where you can relax and enjoy some local food. What is special about this park is the giant statue of Luang Phu Thuat who was a Buddhist monk renowned for his miracles. It is a must-see monument for Thai people and foreigners alike.
Hua Hin is popular for its night market. This is a place where you can experience local food and crafts long after the sun sets. You can find the market towards the center of town and it has many stalls that will serve you fresh Thai cuisine cooked while you watch. After enjoying your meal you can browse and shop among the vendors offering local crafts and souvenirs.
As mentioned before, the railway station is a landmark and important icon representing how the popular resort destination got started. It has been restored and it is an interesting structure with its Thai-style architecture. You can visit and reminisce about how it was back in the day of Hua Hin’s newfound appeal.