Hua Hin is Thailand's oldest beach resort – first developed in 1922 as a getaway for Bangkok's elite (including the royal family) – and offers a 5km-long stretch of golden sand backed by numerous seafood restaurants with accommodation options to suit all budgets.
As one of Thailand's few mainland beach destinations, Hua Hin is ideal for honeymoon couples who wish to relax on a beach without having to take another plane trip. It is also a peaceful and discerning alternative to the riotous, red-light arena of Pattaya.
Hua Hin is a favourite destination of the royal family: the former King of Thailand lived here for much of the year. And the added presence of Royal Thai navy and police security teams make this one of the safest places in Thailand for foreigners and locals alike.
Hua Hin's long beach rarely gets crowded and the safe, shallow waters are perfect for honeymoon couples (and families with children).
Shelving gently into a shallow turquoise sea, Hua Hin’s main golden-sand beach is dotted with tall palm trees and stretches 5km from the town centre to the large, rocky outcrop of Khao Takiab.
Sunbathe on the beach, unwind with a Thai massage under a beach umbrella, snack on freshly grilled prawns, go swimming and kite surfing or rent a jet ski.
At one spot on the beach is a series of rock formations from which the town derives its name, meaning ‘Stone Head’.
The beach is bordered by several restaurants and 5-star resorts including the Centara Grand Resort and the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, which overlook some of the beach’s best powder-white sand.
More great beaches near Hua Hin, include…
This quiet, palm-fringed stretch of white and golden sand sits in a pretty bay on the southern side of the rocky headland of Khao Takiab and is lined with several beachside restaurants, shops and hotels.
Sunbathe, swim, unwind with a Thai massage, hire a bicycle to explore the coastal road or saddle up for a horseback ride down this long beach.
Nearby Khao Takiab offers a giant Buddha to see, friendly monkeys to feed and panoramic views along the coast to feast your eyes on. At low tide the beach is almost 100m wide.
Lying south of Khao Takiab Beach around 15km south of Hua Hin sits this quiet, 2.8km-long undeveloped stretch of white sand, fringed with pine trees and shelving into a tranquil, shallow bay that is perfect for swimming.
As the Thai navy owns this beach, you can swim and sunbathe in peace, free from the attention of beach vendors, and meet the locals who favour this beach. Although there are no hotels bordering the white sand, there are several located close by.
Discover this remote and unspoiled white-sand beach framed between rocky headlands and located in a secluded bay around 20km south of Hua Hin and near the charming town of Khao Tao.
Bordered by seafood restaurants and a fishing village, the beach is relatively quiet during weekdays but fills up on the weekends, as it’s a favourite for locals.
This 1km-long stretch of quiet and unspoiled beach is fringed by the Pranburi Forest Park, which is part of the larger Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
Sunbathe on the golden sand, swim the shallow bay, stroll wooden walkways through the mangrove forest and be pampered at one of the nearby boutique resorts.
Discover Thailand's second longest beach, a stretch of white sand that runs along the Gulf of Thailand, just 20 minutes drive from Hua Hin and only two hours from Bangkok.
Bordered by dense jungle and a mountainous interior, this unspoiled beach is rarely crowded and offers a tranquil atmosphere, with the occasional five-star beach resort set along its length.
Relax in the shade of palm fronds, go swimming, waterskiing, windsurfing and parasailing or explore the beach by horseback. The nearby Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course is the perfect challenge for golfers.
Hua Hin offers a wide range of beachside activities such as horseback riding, kite surfing, windsurfing, catamaran sailing and jet skiing.
Relax on the white-sand beach, enjoy a seafood snack at a beachside food stall, admire coastal vistas from the promontory of the temple complex at Khao Tao near Khao Takiab, wander the old squid-piers of Hua Hin and explore nearby Kaeng Krachan National Park on foot or by elephant.
Tee-off from the famous 72-par 18-hole Royal Hua Hin Golf Course (established in 1924) or be pampered at one of Hua Hin’s world famous spas: try the incomparable Chiva-Som on Petchkasem Road or be pampered at the luxury Evason Resort and Spa, located opposite Paknampran Beach about 30 minutes drive south of Hua Hin.
A choice of sighsteeing attractions lie in and around Hua Hin, including…
Admire arguably Thailand's most beautiful train station, complete with a wooden sala that was once used as a royal pavilion in Sanamchan Palace, Nakhon Pathom Province.
The sala was rebuilt in Hua Hin in 1968.
Hua Hin is a stop on the southern rail route that originates in Bangkok; daily trains continue on Hatyai in Songkla Province, with connections to Malaysia.
Stay for a night or longer and explore the pretty landscaped gardens and colonial buildings of one of Thailand’s oldest resorts, originally built for Thai royalty and their guests in the 1920s.
Or spend an hour sipping traditional afternoon high tea and nibbling scones on the marvellous original wing of the hotel, much like guests did in the era when Hua Hin was a getaway purely for the Thai elite.
Once known as the Royal Hua Hin Railway Hotel, this magnificent Victorian-style colonial building was used as a stand-in for the hotel in Phnom Penh in the film The Killing Fields.
(Chopstick Hill) – Climb up the stairs to check out the large standing Buddha and coastal panoramas from the summit of this small cape, located around 7km south of Hua Hin.
Note: Keep an eye out for the local macaque monkeys that will snatch anything left unattended.
Take a short boat ride to this gorgeous, privately owned island with unspoiled, palm-fringed, white-sand beaches that shelve gently into translucent turquoise waters.
Sunbathe on the beach, go kayaking, snorkelling and diving, trek through the rainforest and snack at one of the seafood restaurants.
Stay for a day or enjoy a longer sojourn at one of two luxury beachside resorts.
Explore Thailand’s first coastal national park, a beautiful region of towering limestone cliffs, caves, marshy wetlands, white-sand beaches and scenic bays.
The 98km² park, which means ‘Mountains with 300 peaks’ in English, is home to a variety of flora and fauna.
Hike to the summit of Khao Krachom for panoramic views overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, visit the impressive Tham Phraya Nakhon cave, see fascinating wildlife such as the Dusky Leaf Monkey, and cool off with a swim at the beautiful white-sand beach of Haad Laem Sala.
Follow one of the park’s two main hiking trails and try to spot some of the local wildlife, including monitor lizards, barking deer and the dusky langur, a type of monkey also known as the spectacled langur because of the white circles around its eyes.
Check out panoramic views overlooking the Gulf of Thailand from the summit of Khao Krachom – at 605m above sea level the hill provides the highest elevation in the park.
From the village of Ban Pu, either hire a boat or hike over rolling hills to the picturesque white-sand beach of Haad Laem Sala. This shady casuarina-lined beach has a small visitors centre, a restaurant, guest bungalows and campsite.
Tham Phraya Nakhon — A 450m-long trail leads from Haad Laem Sala to Tham Phraya Nakhon cave, which contains two large caverns and sinkholes. Try visiting the cave in the morning to witness the somewhat mystical effect when sunlight shines through an opening in the roof. You can also reach the cave by boat from Ban Pu.
The cave is famous for the visit in August 1868 by King Rama V to observe a total solar eclipse. The king was particularly interested in astronomy and had calculated the date and location of the solar eclipse himself. However, during the overnight visit it is thought that he contracted malaria from mosquito bites and died two months later.
The Kuha Karuhas pavillon was built for the visit of King Chulalongkorn in 1890. In later years, King Vajiravudh as well as the current king Bhumibol Adulyadej visited the cave.
Tham Kaew — If you’re feeling especially adventurous, head to the underground chambers and narrow passageways of Tham Kaew: look out for limestone formations including glittering stalactites.
Or follow a 280m-long hillside trail to Tham Sai – the large cavern features an natural army of stalactites and stalagmites.
Nearby sits Hat Sam Phraya, a shady, casuarina-lined kilometre-long white-sand beach that’s just perfect for a refreshing swim. The beach has a restaurant and toilets.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is located about 63km south of Hua Hin, a 40-minute drive. It's easy to reach by hire car or in a songthaew from Pranburi.
Note: Today the risk of malaria is low, but the mosquites can still be irritating, especially during the rainy season from June to November.
Location: 63km south of Hua Hin; Entry cost: 400Baht.
Explore the lush forest of Kaeng Krachan National Park on foot or atop a swaying elephant.
Along the way, look out for colourful butterflies, dusky langurs, monitor lizards and hornbills.
Sign up for a guided tour and follow a network of riverside trails along the banks of the Phetchaburi and Pranburi rivers; other trails snake through savannah-like grassland and forest past caves and mountains to a large lake formed by the Kaeng Krachan dam at the eastern border of the park.
Local wildlife in the park also includes wild elephants, deer, tigers, bears, gibbons, boars, gaurs, wild cattle and more than 400 species of birdlife.
Meet colourful hill-tribe people at the village of Kareng, who still honour a lifestyle of ancient traditions and use their own archaic language.
Then visit nearby Pala-u Falls, the third largest waterfall in Thailand, with 15-tiered cascades and great views from the top overlooking the border between Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar.
At 3000 sq km, Kaeng Krachan National Park is Thailand’s largest park. The highest elevation is 1200m. Although located on the border region with Burma, the park is still close enough to visit from Hua Hin, which is a 1 hour 45 minute drive away.
The best months to visit Kaeng Krachan National Park are between November and April.
Address: About 60km south of Hua Hin; Cost: 400B; Hours: Visitors centre 8:30am-4:30pm
Admire the high tiled roofs and tall shuttered windows of this elegant summer palace, built by King Rama VI (King Vajiravudh) in 1924.
The palace is also known as the Teakwood Mansion.
Explore some of the sixteen one- and two-storey wooden buildings interlinked by covered walkways and constructed of golden teak, sitting high above the ground on painted concrete pillars.
Stroll through the beautifully preserved rooms complete with polished teak floors, period furnishings and shuttered windows.
Then wander along the raised, covered walkway to the beachside pavilions, formerly the royal changing rooms. Feel the fresh sea breeze on your face and be transported back to another era.
Although now surrounded by the grounds of a military post, it is usually no trouble to tour the palace during opening hours.
Location: Cha-Am, about 10km north of Hua Hin; Cost: 90B; Hours: 9am-4:30pm.
Once a royal retreat during the reigns of Rama IV and Rama V (1851-1910), Phetchaburi is famous for its majestic temples, some of which date from the same period as Ayutthaya and Kanchanaburi.
Explore the stunning royal temple complex at Phra Nakhon Khiri, a summer palace that sprawls across a forested hillside overlooking the city, then check out Wat Yai Suwannaram, built during the Ayutthaya period and featuring a collection of large religious murals.
Discover impressive paintings inside Wat Ko Keo Suttharam, also built in the 17th century, and the decorative Wat Kamphaeng Laeng, originally built as a Hindu shrine during the reign of Khmer ruler King Jayavarman VII (1157-1207) and later converted to a Buddhist temple.
Note: Watch out for the gangs of monkeys that roam the streets of the town looking for food handouts.
Phetchaburi is just an hour’s drive from Hua Hin. Sights to visit include…
Phra Nakhon Khiri – Discover Phetchaburi's most famous historical site at Phra Nakhon Khiri (also known as Khao Wang).
Built in 1858 by King Mongkut (Rama IV) as a summer retreat for the royal family (and foreign dignitaries), the palace and the surrounding temples, guesthouses and shrines combine Thai, European and Chinese architectural styles.
The historical park is spread across three peaks on a 92m-high forested hillside overlooking the city. The royal summer palace sprawls across the western peak; a large chedi, Phra That Chom Phet, sits on the middle peak; and the royal temple, Wat Phra Kaeo, (built in similar fashion to the Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok, sits on the eastern peak.
Climb up the steep 4km-long hill or hop on the funicular railway to view the palace. Once there, stroll inside the Phra Thinang Phetphum Phairot Hall to see period art works and antiques from the royal household.
Watch out for ‘thieving’ monkeys that hang around the gift shops at the foot of the hill.
Location: Khao Wang, entrance off Phetkasem Road, Phetchaburi; Cost: Entrance 150B, funicular railway 40B; Hours: 8:30am-4pm.
Wat Yai Suwannaram – Explore the stunning royal temple of Wat Yai Suwannaram, built during the Ayutthaya period and featuring a collection of large religious murals featuring Brahmans, hermits, giants and deities.
Don't miss the library built on stilts over a fishpond (to deter termites) and the axe-chop battle scar on the building's carved doors, said to have been made during the second Burmese invasion of Ayutthaya (prior to the building being relocated to Phetchaburi).
Wat Ko Kaew Sutharam – View impressive paintings inside Wat Ko Kaew Sutharam, also built in the 17th century and featuring some of the oldest (18th century) and most beautiful murals in Thailand.
Wat Kamphaeng Laeng – Visit also the decorative Wat Kamphaeng Laeng, originally built as a Hindu shrine during the reign of Khmer ruler King Jayavarman VII (1157-1207) and later converted to a Buddhist temple.
Wat Mahathat Worawihan – And at the gleaming white Wat Mahathat Worawihan, stop to admire the five-tiered Khmer-style prang (Khmer-style stupa) decorated in stucco relief.
See contemporary murals in the main sanctuary and watch traditional musicians and dancers perform for merit-making services. This royal temple is a good example of an everyday temple constructed in accordance with the Mahayana concept housing Lord Buddha’s relics.
Kao Chae – Phetchaburi is also famous for kao chae, a chilled rice dish with sweetmeats once favoured by royals, which you can taste at the day market on Phanit Charoen Road; along with khanom jeen thotman (noodles with curried fish cake).
Explore this dramatic stalactite-filled cavern crammed with religious objects, including a large seated Buddha cast under the royal command of King Rama V as a dedication to King Rama III and King Rama IV.
The cave boasts three caverns filled with more than 170 Buddha images in various poses including a 10m-long reclining Buddha and a row of sitting Buddhas.
Come in the morning when sunlight floods the cave through a large hole in the roof illuminating the brass Buddha images with a heavenly glow or, to avoid local school groups, come in the late afternoon to get a more ethereal effect.
The cave is accessed after a two-minute climb up some steep stairs from Wat Tham Klaep, a large monastery that sits at the foot of the hill.
After visiting the cave check out the beautifully carved door panels in the monastery’s chapel.
Khao Luang Cave is just 5km north of Phetchaburi. At the entrance to the cave you can hire a guide for around 100B. The cave is open from 7am to 4pm, daily. Note: Watch out for the pesky monkeys looking for food.
Hua Hin and nearby Cha Am offer an excellent choice of accommodation options, including the following 5-star resorts…
Cape Nidhra Hotel
Location: Prachuap Khiri Khan, Hua Hin
Prices: from AUD261 per room
Description: This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. Located along Hua Hin Beach, Cape Nidhra Hotel is a 10-minute drive from Hua Hin Train Station. It features luxurious beachfront accommodations with a spa and a fitness center. Hotel Cape Nidhra is a 15-minute walk from Chatchai, the Hua Hin night markets. Both Hua Hin Temple and Villa Market are a short walk from the hotel. Each modern room at Cape Nidhra comes with its own private pool. A 32-inch LCD TV and a minibar are provided in all rooms. Guests can enjoy traditional Thai massages and spa treatments at the Cape Spa. Free parking and free Wi-Fi are provided at Cape Nidhra Hotel. The hotel’s restaurant serves local cuisine and seafood. For drinks and remarkable views of Gulf of Thailand, visit On the Rocks Bar.
Putahracsa Hua Hin Resort
Location: Naeb Kaehat Road, Hua Hin
Prices: from AUD200 per room
Description: This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. A 5-minute drive from Hua Hin Night Market, Putahracsa provides individually designed units with minimalist themes, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. It features a spa, infinity pool and 2 restaurants. Minimalist-themed accommodations at Putahracsa Hua Hin features unique layouts and neutral colors. They have a private terrace area with outdoor seating and views of greenery or the pool. Guests can indulge with relaxing massages at Putahracsa’s day spa or enjoy quiet moments in the resort’s library. Other recreational activities include hiking and golf at a nearby course. Hua Hin Putahracsa also provides free private parking. The sound of waves and cool sea breezes accompany grilled dishes at Oceanside beachfront restaurant. Sala Monsoon provides breakfast buffet and all-day dining, with a spread of Thai and international dishes.
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin
Location: Damnoenkasem Road, Hua Hin
Prices: from AUD196 per room
Description: This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. Featuring 4 outdoor pools in beautifully landscaped grounds, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villa Hua Hin is a 5-minute walk from the Night Market and Fishing Pier. It has a spa and 4 restaurants. Occupying a prime beachfront location, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villa Hua Hin is a 5-minute walk from the numerous shopping and dining options in Hua Hin’s centre. It is a 7 km from Hua Hin Airport. The colonial-style rooms offer the comfort of classic wood furnishings and spacious bathrooms with a bathtub. Wood-paned glass doors open out to private balconies, letting in plenty of light and air. For those looking to exercise, tennis courts and a well-equipped fitness centre are available. Alternatively, guests can enjoy relaxing treatments at Cenvaree Spa. Coast Beach Bar & Grill serves cocktails, grilled meats and seafood dishes. Other dining options include Suan Bua Restaurant and Hagi Japanese Restaurant.
Devasom Hua Hin Resort
Location: Cha Am, Hua Hin
Prices: from AUD181 per person
Description: On a private beach, Devasom features luxurious accommodations with sea view, a private balcony, free Wi-Fi and a free in-room non-alcohol minibar. The award-winning hotel also features a deck by infinity pools. Devasom Hua Hin Resort is about a 5-minute drive from Hua Hin Airport and Maruekhathaiyawan Palace. The Hua Hin City Market is just 10 minutes away via the resort’s free shuttle service. Rooms at Devasom are spacious and feature a flat-screen TV, a DVD player and Bluetooth speakers. Each has full or partial sea view and features classic decor, an open concept bathroom with a standalone bathtub and a rain shower. Guests of Devasom Hua Hin Resort may laze by the beach, relax with traditional Thai massage or enjoy day trips and activities. Thai cooking classes are also available. Overlooking the sea and the resort pool, Resort Devasom Hua Hin’s restaurant opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves a variety of Asian and Western dishes. Wine and other beverages are also available.
Dusit Thani Hua Hin
Location: Cha Am
Prices: from AUD134 per person
Description: Overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, the Dusit Thani Hua Hin sits on Thailand’s western coast, steps from a private beachfront. It features a large outdoor pool, spa and fitness facilities. Opening out to sea or tropical views, these rooms are tastefully furnished with classic cane and wood fittings. They feature free wired internet, cable TV and separate bathtub and shower areas. Guests can enjoy pampering massages at Devarana Spa after active workouts at the tennis and racquetball courts. Other recreation options include sightseeing tours. Featuring 7 dining options, highlights include fine dining at the beachfront Rim Talay Bar and Grill. International meals are available at The Restaurant, which features 3 open kitchens and scenic garden views. Dusit Thani Hua Hin is 6 miles from the center of Hua Hin, where the popular night market and train station is. The property is a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok city.
Anytime. December through to February is generally considered the best time to visit Hua Hin, when temperatures are comfortably warm with little to no rain.
Hua Hin enjoys three seasons: the cool, dry season from November to February offers the most sunshine and least rain, with an average daily high temperature below 30°C (86°F), and afternoon sea breezes.
For more climate info: Hua Hin Weather Guide…
Hua Hin is located 199km (123mi) south-southwest of Bangkok.
From overseas, the most convenient route to Hua Hin is by air to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), followed by a bus, train or taxi ride to Hua Hin.
By bus, Roong Rueang Coach offer a frequent 4-hour daily service from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Hua Hin Bus Station.
Tickets cost about THB 294 (US$10) and can be bought online or at the 'Suvarnabhumi Airport – Hua Hin Bus' counter on Level 1, Gate No 8 in the airport arrivals hall.
Alternatively, if you are already in Bangkok, you can take the train from Bangkok's Hua Lampong Railway Station to Hua Hin Railway Station, with hourly departures taking around 3 hour 24 minutes.
Ticket can be purchased online and at the station, with first-class ticket costing about US$25 and second-class ticket about US$13.
Or you can take an air-conditioned bus departing from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal every 20 minutes from 5am to 10pm. Travel time is around 3 hours 45 minutes, with the cost about US$7.
You can also hop on one of the many minibuses that depart daily every 30 minutes until 7pm from Bangkok’s Victory Monument. Travel time is around 3 hours, with the cost averaging US$10. You can buy a ticket from the minibus driver right before the trip.
By taxi, the drive should take 2.5 hours directly to your hotel, and cost around US$60 – US$200 depending on operator and make of car.
More information on how to get to Hua Hin…
Latest update: Hua Hin: 18 June, 2022