Thailand’s original beach resort is no palm-fringed castaway island and arguably is the better for it. Instead, Hua Hin (หัวหิน) is a refreshing mix of city and sea with lively markets, good golf courses and water parks, excellent accommodation and an ambience that just keeps getting more cosmopolitan. In fact, many visitors never even step foot on the sand.
By the mid-1920s Hua Hin was a full-fledged resort town for the Bangkok-based nobility – even Kings Rama VI and VII built summer palaces here. There’s still a lot of money swirling around Hua Hin, but it remains a good budget destination: seafood is plentiful and cheap, there’s convenient public transport and it takes a lot less time and effort to get here from Bangkok than to the southern islands.