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Hua Hin Travel: Plus Chaam & Pranburi

May 8, 2008
Hua hin is the biggest of the three towns and easily accessible at only three hours drive south of Bangkok. The town itself is laid back but by no means boring; good swimming beaches, water sports, golf courses, historical sites, national parks and shopping are all available to keep your days filled. There's also some nightlife but not quite as over the top as Pattaya, making Hua Hin suitable for families and travelers in general. And it's ideal for those who don't want to make the long (and expensive) journey to Phukey or Koh Samui.

You don't need to travel all the way to the south of Thailand to find wonderful tropical beaches and resort-style accommodations. With a short distance from Bangkok, the beachside town of Hua Hin, Chaam and Pranburi on the northwest coast of Thailand make an ideal short escape from Bangkok or are equally suited as longer tropical of holiday destinations. Cool weather year round makes Hua Hin, Cha-am and Pranburi more enjoyable than Bangkok. Now we're in the middle of summer and while the temperatures in Bangkok and the North are near boiling the beaches here still average a pleasant 30 degrees Celsius during the daytime.

Once a sleepy fishing village, Hua Hin started to become better known in the 1920s when it was linked to Bangkok by rail. It developed into a popular retreat for the Royal family and, nowadays, the King himself resides at the summer palace there. (Due to its proximity to Bangkok and popularity with the Monarchy, many wealthier Bangkok Thais now have condominiums along this stretch of coast.)

Hua Hin literally means "rock head" but don't let the name fool you a few smooth boulders are scattered along the beach but the seabed itself is all sand and safe for swimming. The town is developed but still compact making it easy to walk around, and it has retained its casual beachside feel. You'll find all major amenities including accommodation to suit every budget, from cheapies in town to big name resort operations on the beach.

The famous Hua Hua hin Railway Hotel was built near the beach here in 1923. The magnificent two-storey colonial building has been beautifully restored and is now operated by Sofitel Central Hua Hin Resort. To the north, the Hilton Hotel was the first high rise hotel in town, while Marriot Resort and Spa is located along the southern beach.

Down on the beach in front of the Hilton, deck chairs and umbrellas provide a place to relax and vendors sell all kinds of things from snacks to grilled prawn. Along the beach you can get a Thai massage or even ride a horse.

If you love seafood then you'll love Hua Hin. There still fishermen operating from fishing Pier who land the catch of the day which is cooked to order and served fresh to your table at any of the waterfront seafood restaurants. You'll never find seafood this fresh and at these low prices elsewhere. As well as seafood, plenty of international restaurants line the streets, some with live entertainment. There are also a few beer bars but the atmosphere here is pretty relaxed.

While the township can easily be explored on foot some of the other attractions will require transportation. A car is always handy, but those without have a choices of day excursions which take in all the major sights, including natural attractions like Khao Sam Roi Yot (Three Hundred Peaks) National Park with its magnificent views of the Gulf of Thailand and caves to explore. Just to the south of Hua Hin, Khao Takiab Temple is located on a rocky hill with good views of Ao Takiab (Chopsticks Bay) where more beaches and resorts are located. You can also visit other beaches along this coastiline. Waterfalls and the kids will enjoy Hua Hin Zoo.

The other two beaches are renowned; Pranburi is rather new to the scene. Located 30 kilometers south of Hua Hin, this stretch of sand used to be visited just as a day trip, but now has a number of boutique-style resort operations of its own. It's much quieter than its northern neighbors, but still easily accessible to Hua Hin for those after a bit of action many of the resorts offer free transportation services to Hua Hin for this purpose.

How To Get To HuaHin:

From Suvanabhumi international Airport in Bangkok, You can take minivans and taxis to take you to Hua Hin, be careful for too expensive price. For those in a hurry, there are fights ran by SGA Airlines 3 times a day everyday. Minivans also operate from near Victory Monument BTS Station in Bangkok (Taxi fare to get to Victory Monument could be 250 baht), or air-conditioned buses leaves nearly every hour from the New Southern Bus Terminal to Cha-am, Hua Hin and Pranburi town.

When you get Hua Hin city you can get around easily by feet. However, many of the attractions outside of town will need some kind of transportation. There would be tuk tuks, motorcycle taxis, songthaews and taxis; you usually have to negotiate the rate before you get in, try to lower your fare as much as possible, driver always overcharge a tourists. Better plan your trip before you go out, otherwise you won't make it on time due to Hua Hin has many attractions to visit.
About the Author
Eirik Comm is the professional freelance writer. He's also the webmaster of Thaihiptravel.com
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