F A resort town called Hua Hin - jeepneyjinggoy

A resort town called Hua Hin

"HAVE you been to Hua Hin?" asked Nico of Agoda. I shook my head. "You should go visit, it's a beach resort town. It's like the Hamptons of Thailand."

A French garden by Hua Hin beach. Very Chic. Very Hamptons indeed.

And so I did. On my most recent visit to Thailand, I took two days off from "work" and went south of the Big Mango.

Take a van from Victory Monument, it's also a BTS train stop.

The drive to Hua Hin.

In the northern part of the Malay Peninsula in Thailand is the Prachup Khiri Khan Province. Hua Hin, formerly named Samore Riang ("row of rocks") is one of its eight districts, roughly a three-hour drive from Bangkok by car.

By van, the trip to Hua Hin took about 3 hours. It was shorter by thirty minutes heading back to Bangkok.

By train, it will take a bout 5 hours, I was told. The train station in this town is iconic.

The building of the Thailand's southern railway (connecting the district with Bangkok along with various destinations along the way) may have turned Hua Hin to be the first and most popular beach resort in the country, but turning it into Hampton-like may be credited to the Rama VII's decision to build a summer palace in the area close to the beach. He named the palace Klai Kang Won, which means "far from worries," which became the full-time residence of the present King of Thailand.

The vans drop off their passengers at the Clock Tower, one of the town's attractions. This temple, also an attraction, is across the clock tower.

As to the name Hua Hin, it was Prince Krom Phra Naresworarit who named the beach as such. This was after he built Sukaves, the group of palaces he built at Ban Laem Hin.

I only had two days to explore Hua Hin. At my desired pace, that's impossible. Though there are a few attractions around town, I opted to check out the spots within walking distance from The Rock, my residence for this short getaway. But thanks to one of the hotel's nice staff, he pointed me to a few more when I took the van to the town center and back.

The restaurants by the Fishing Pier, another popular place to see in the resort town.

More restaurants along the one-way street by the Fishing Pier.

Hua Hin Beach is a six-kilometer stretch of shoreline from a rocky headland to Khao Takiab, a hill with a Buddhist temple. Along this stretch are towering hotels to private beach houses.

Hua Hin beach is quite serene. 

One of the many private houses seen along the Hua Hin shoreline.

The beach is a 6 kilometers long. You can walk or take this ride.

On one end of the beach is this attraction.

Khao Takiab Temple on "Monkey Mountain" is where the 19-meter tall standing golden Buddha (Phra Pang Haan Yad) stands. You can't miss it if you walk along the shoreline.

A monk on his morning walk towards the Khao Takiab Temple.

The beach side entrance to the temple. It's also accessible from the paved road parallel to the beach.

The 19 meter Golden Buddha of the Khao Takiab temple.

1.83 meters versus 19 meters.

The top of the mountain is reachable by stairs. It can be tiring but the reward is a picturesque view of the Hua Hin coastline. 

The short yet steep climb to the top of the hill has its reward-- a panoramic view of  Hua Hin beach & the Gulf of Thailand.

The prayer hall of the temple.

Check out the small fishing village behind this mountain. The fresh catch of the day is available for sale or to feast on.

On the other side of the Monkey Mountain is a small fishing village.

A resident of the mountain helping itself to the catch of the day.

The fresh catch is for sale or to feast on the restaurants that line this street.

Cicada Market is not the usual weekend market. It's a bit more upscale in terms of presentation, but just like the rest of the markets around Thailand, it is a showcase of the local artists' creativity in handmade products, fashion, visual and performing arts, and food.

Cicada is an upscale weekend market.

The market in spread across a green expanse and divided into four venues referred to as Art A La Mode (arts and crafts, fashion, souvenirs, etc.), Cicada Art Factory (two 2-level white buildings for art exhibitions), Amphitheatre (a venue for live performances) and Cicada Cuisine (the food zone).

The white 2-storey Cicada Art Factory, one of four venues in the weekend market, is for visual art exhibitions.

Art a la Mode is the white tent-line selling areas of local artisans.

This is called the farm house. 

Trying out a homemade ice drop coated in dark chocolate at the Food Zone.

Hua Hin Railway Station is iconic and said to be Thailand's most beautiful train station. The wooden building rebuilt in 1968 used to be a royal pavilion in Sanamchan Palace, Nakhon Pathom Province.

This is said to be Thailand's most beautiful train station. The wooden building used to be a royal pavilion in Sanamchan Palace.

Check out the wooden benches.

The ticket booth with the train schedule posting above it.

Leaving a few more attractions unvisited gives me a good reason to return to this beautiful resort town. I think I will, perhaps longer on the next one.

Wind blown hair s a bonus after this lady took me safely (with honest fare) to The Rock, my home in Hua Hin.
If you want to tour Hua Hin, Mrs Mali has a taxi service for hire per hour or per day. Call her at 085-7003476.

For more photos about this story, and other travel and lifestyle stories, visithttp://jeepneyjinggoy.blogspot.com/ and http://apples-and-lemons.blogspot.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 11, 2015.