What to do in Hua Hin: 5 ideas for a memorable vacation

Hua Hin is packed at weekends with visitors looking for a break from Bangkok. And since the beach getaway is only a short drive away, its popularity is unabated. So if you’re wondering what to do in Hua Hin, rest assured, the romantic coastal town in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan offers a lot more than seaside villas, nightlife, shopping and fine dining.

Families love the city’s old-world feel that’s best epitomized by the golden teakwood Maruekhathaiyawan Palace and the historic Hua Hin Railway Station. And adventurous travelers get their money’s worth at Phraya Nakhon, a hidden cave cradled by the ravishing beauty of Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.

Whatever your preference, here are five of the best Hua Hin attractions.

Explore the Hua Hin night market

Hua Hin night market

If you don’t know what to do in Hua Hin at night, make a beeline for the night market. Unlike the Cicada Market, a funky, modern handicrafts market, this market is the “mother” of Thailand’s night markets and started the tradition ages ago. It’s conveniently located in the city center and is one of the things to do in Hua Hin with family in tow.

Open from 5 pm to midnight, the market comes alive with more and more stands and tents once the sun has set. Carving through the crowds, you’ll find stalls selling anything from loose elephant pants and beer-branded tank tops to cheap phone covers and watches. You can grab a cool drink and quick bite from a street vendor before enjoying a foot massage at one of the many parlors near Phetkasem Road. 

If the scents of sticky calorie bombs don’t tickle your taste buds, the smell of grilled seafood will. Be sure to take a seat at one of the restaurants near the Sa Song Road junction for sweet and sour fried fish, every bit as authentic as you’d expect from a Thai eatery.

Marvel at Hua Hin’s historic train station

Hua Hin train station

While the town’s endless stretch of beach is enough for some weekend pleasure seekers, little things like train stations can jazz up your Thailand itinerary. Located a stone’s throw from the city center, Hua Hin’s railway station witnessed times when people had to use the ferry or ride the train to get to this picturesque beach city.

Initially constructed in 1910 during the reign of King Rama VI, it opened a year later and was then rebuilt in 1926. The Thai temple-shaped station radiates the charm of a bygone era with sharp wood details.

Even if you’re not a history or rail buff, this architectural masterpiece, including the adjacent, maroon-colored Royal Waiting Room formerly used for welcoming King Vajiravudh, is one of the things to do in Hua Hin you’d better not miss. It makes for remarkable Insta-shots.

Let Venezia Hua Hin take you to Italy

Venezia Shopping plaza in Hua Hin

A stroll in Venice wouldn’t come to mind when deciding what to do in Hua Hin as a first-time visitor. But you’d be surprised! 

The Venezia Hua Hin, a massive project that cost 1.2 billion baht ($35.78 million), brought a slice of Italy to Thailand and makes for a romantic getaway when the Hua Hin weather is nice. Aside from the mind-blowing amount of shopping and dining options, the activity zone where concerts and food festivals take place is perfect for a family outing. As is the children’s zone and the morning flower and fruit market.

Situated on an 18-acre plot of land nine kilometers (5.6 miles) north of the city center, the Venice-themed shopping haven has virtually everything you’d see in Italy’s northeastern city, too. From colorful buildings, St. Mark’s Square and Bell Tower, to the Grand Canal, where you can ride a Venetian gondola, The Venezia Hua Hin does not disappoint.

Walk to the top of Khao Takiab hill

Khao Takiab hill in Hua Hin

Home to large troops of macaques, Khao Takiab, or Chopsticks Hill, sits on the southern end of Hua Hin beach. Offering 360-degree-views of the coastline, the 270-meter-climb up “Monkey Mountain” is well worth the sweat. 

Aside from a golden Buddha statue overlooking the ocean from a rocky outcrop, a little further on, you’ll find Wat Khao Takiab. Just follow your nose; the air is filled with the smell of incense burning at the temple. Ring prayer bells for good luck or just soak up the views.

Trek to Phraya Nakhon Cave

Phraya Nakhon Cave outside of Hua Hin

Are you a thrill-seeking traveler? Look no further. 

Phraya Nakhon Cave comes straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. 

King Rama V visited Phraya Nakhon in 1890, but reportedly, he never got to see the emerald pavilion with golden columns that were moved here to commemorate the royal visit. But King Rama VII and the highly revered King Bhumibol (King Rama IX) did. 

And so can you. 

To reach the cave 45 minutes from Hua Hin, drive to the fisher village of Bang Pu and head for the beach. It’s signposted. At the beach, you can either hop on a longtail boat and pay 150-200 baht ($4.45-5.95) or walk to Laem Sala Beach, where the path to Phraya Nakhon starts. It’s a 20-minute walk over the hill to Laem Sala. 

Arriving at Laem Sala Beach, you’ll instantly catch the scents of the fir forest. Walk past the restaurant, and you’ll see the start of the steep trail to the cave. Trekking your way towards the three caverns with natural limestone erosion, you might see dusky langurs in the treetops. 

Still, nothing prepares you for the explosion of impressions inside the cave, where the green-gold structure, framed by stalactites and stalagmites, glitters in all its beauty. 

If you arrive at around 10:30 am, you’ll see the sun peeping sheepishly through the large opening in the cavern roof. Then, slowly it bathes the entire pavilion in sunshine, enveloping the space in bright white light. 

Does that sound unreal? See it for yourself, and don’t forget your camera!

Need transportation to and from Hua Hin? We’ve got you covered there and throughout all of Thailand


What’s Venezia Hua Hin’s entrance fee?

It’s free for Thai nationals. Other people have had to pay the farang premium of 180 baht ($5.35). The price is subject to change.

How much does a songthaew ride from Hua Hin’s city center to Khao Takiab cost?

A ride from central Hua Hin on a songthaew, a pick-up truck with two benches in the back, sets you back 20 baht ($0.60). You can flag them down anywhere between Phetkasem Road and Khao Takiab.

Do you need to book a tour to get to Phraya Nakhon?

While it’s more convenient, booking a tour is unnecessary. An independent trip is for you if you’re keen to feed your adventurous side.

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