|The Romance of Hua Hin|
|Written by Administrator|
|Tuesday, 28 October 2008 00:10|
In a time before Phuket, Pattaya or Samui as we know them, there was Hua Hin - the Thai kingdom's first seaside resort. MB picks 20 things to do in this sunny ville.
1 You can catch a bus to this town 200 kilometres south of Bangkok, but it is far more romantic to take the train... and arrive at Hua Hin Railway Station. To cater to its royal passengers, the State Railway made this one particularly luxurious.
2 If you’re on a nostalgia trip, book into the Railway Hotel, constructed in grand Edwardian style early last century to accommodate the rich and famous who flocked to this, one of the earliest of exotic holiday destinations.
3 Play 18 holes at Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, no doubt where important business liaisons were forged in the early days. Designed in 1926, the Royal is the oldest in the country with greens that roll along picturesque coastal hills.
4 It might take a mighty dose of determination, but getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun rising on the Gulf is well worth it. So grab the hand of that special someone and get an early start to a precious day.
5 No seaside vacation is complete without some time on the beach and a good frolic among the waves. It’s even nice to find a high rock to sit on and just watch the goings-on. But don’t forget your sunblock.
6 If you can’t resist getting into the water, paddle a boat or sail it. It’s not too challenging, but far more relaxing than cutting the water on a pair of skis. You won’t find noisy speed-boat-propelled activities here.
7 Put your feet up and get cosy with a fashion magazine or Booker Prize novel and a fresh coconut shake on the side. License to laze is why you wanted to get away from it all, no?
8 Renting a jeep may be a convenient way to cover distances as you go off the beaten track. But if you want to tone those muscles amid natural surroundings, get hold of a mountain bike and hit one of the many trails. Don’t forget your map.
9 Check out some of the cultural and historical attractions. The magnificent Phra Ratchaniwet Marukhathaiyawan is an architectural marvel. Built in 1923 by King Vajiravudh, the Summer Palace is constructed largely of teak.
10 Feast away. The local fishermen bring in a catch daily to supply the many seafood restaurants by the sea. Watch the cholesterol though if your meter needle tends to swing high.
11 Check out the Hua Hin Arts & Crafts Centre on Naipkhehat Road, not so much for souvenirs to buy but for the work of contemporary Thai artists as well as the furniture and pictures that tell of Hua Hin in the days gone by.
12 The most appreciated souvenirs for folks back home are the local snack foods. There’s always a plethora of local sweets and desserts at Hua Hin’s night markets, along with lots of handicrafts, inexpensive clothing and fashion accessories.
13 Have a slice of paradise. Pick a luxurious base for your Hua Hin adventure, like an Evason pool villa. No fig leaves required! Here, you are truly mistress of all you survey, and can swim wearing no more than a pair of goggles in your private pool.
14 On that note, why not bubble bath in the moonlight after your skinny dip? To conserve water, make sure you're not alone. Just keep your voices down, will you?
15 Get pampered. Has anyone ever complained of too many spa sessions? Experience what a difference professional masseurs can make with their nimble fingers, strong arms and great technique at The Evason Hua Hin Resort & Spa.
16 Rent a scrambler, pack a picnic and head for Namtok Pa La U waterfalls, 63 kilometres inland along highway 3219. It’s a bit of a ride, but worth it. You pass meandering creeks, verdant gardens and walk among hundreds of butterflies. It’s as if you’re in an enchanted place. Higher up, find a sizeable rock and spread your picnic. Breathtaking.
17 Watch the birdies. The Sam Roi Yot National Park to the south of Hua Hin, with its limestone mountains, mangrove swamps and beaches are a sanctuary for migratory birds and heaven for ardent bird watchers.
18 While you’re there, be sure to visit Hat Laem Sala, a short boat ride up from the park office. This is where you’ll find the Tham Phraya Nakhon cave. It has a hole in the ceiling from which a shaft of light reaches in, illuminating a beautiful pavilion and miraculous garden. Being there is like walking into a LOTR-type magical setting.
19 Go fishing. Hua Hin is a fishing town after all. It’s actually quite fun. No need to handle worm baits if you’re queasy. Shrimp and squid are easier for beginners. Beware, though. Once you’ve had the thrill of a bite, you’ll be smitten.
20 If you’ve always wondered about how it feels to ride a trishaw but felt stupid doing it back home, do it in Hua Hin. It’s a whole lot more scenic too.
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