Royal Waiting Room at Hua Hin Railway Station

Hua Hin is unlike any other beach resort in Thailand. If you're looking for bright lights and the frantic all-night action of cabarets and discos, you may be disappointed here. However, if you enjoy walks through the quiet winding streets of a friendly coastal village, sampling delicious seafood in restaurants overlooking the brightly lit fishing boats on the Gulf of Thailand or a round of golf on one of the several international standard links, Hua Hin could very well be what you're looking for; Hua Hin has a special character all its own.

Hua Hin became popular as a rainy season retreat in the 1920's with the construction of the railway line from Bangkok. The beautiful, colonial style Railway Hotel was built near Hua Hin's famous rocks in 1923 by the State Railway Authority, which also built Thailand's first public golf course in Hua Hin in 1924. In 1926, King Rama VII built the Klai Kangwon (Far From Worries) Palace on the beach a few km north of the Railway Hotel and this palace is still frequently used by the Royal Family. This set the stage for Hua Hin's popularity and unique ambiance which remains to this day.

The active fishing port guarantees fresh seafood and Hua Hin has it all, including dishes not found in other parts of Thailand. There are many styles of restaurant, from a row of large, brightly lit establishments with extensive menus along the beach near the pier, to small stalls at the lively night market specializing in only a tasty dish or two.

While Thai and Chinese seafood reign here, there are also many restaurants offering everything from pizza and pasta to tandoori chicken and meat pies and other popular international dishes.

Also be sure to sample the wide variety of fruits and kanoms (Thai sweets) available in restaurants, shops and stalls along the road. Though there is a 5-star international spa in Hua Hin, I'm sure no one loses weight during their stay here.

Hua Hin is small enough that one can wander for hours without the need of motor transportation. Most hotels are no more than few minutes walk to the beach, the market or a friendly restaurant.

There are many shops selling local handicrafts, silver, silk, tailors to fit you for that custom suit, and dozens of photo opportunities.

Bicycles, motorcycles and small jeeps can be rented from shops around the Hua Hin Bazaar, near the Sofitel entrance. Unless you have extensive experience dodging kids, bicycles, scooters and the occasional cow, be very careful when driving yourself.

The white sand goes for miles from the Sofitel at the end of Damnoenkasem Rd. At the main beach there are umbrellas for lounging and vendors will satisfy your needs for drinks and snacks, and even pony rides, jet skis and a Thai traditional massage.

Many beach front hotels have concessions for wind surfing and sailing needs and power boats can be hired. Walks down the beach will take you to temples and fishing villages.

The first golf course in Thailand was built in Hua Hin in 1924 and there are now 8 courses within 30km of the town and more are under construction.

These courses are world class and green fees and caddy charges are very reasonable. Electric carts are available at several though a walk in the beautiful climate of Hua Hin is a pleasure in itself.

Whether a pro on a break or a family on a holiday, golfers will enjoy the professional facilities here.

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