Hua Hin – The Thai hell-hole to avoid at all costs

imageI can’t actually believe I’m writing a post about this hell-hole. My friend Lily and I travelled up from Koh Tao and decided to break up the journey to Bangkok by stopping off in Hua Hin, which we had read was a place where Thai people went on holiday. We arrived after spending a day on a ferry and bus – the comfiest bus I’ve ever been on, I hasten to add – and were pretty shocked to see McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and flashing lights everywhere. It was the trashiest looking place I have seen yet in Thailand and was filled with ageing British and German couples and old men looking for young Thai girls. To say we were disappointed was an understatement, but we sucked it up and luckily were ushered into a guest house by a taxi driver we met in the street. I say luckily because usually I wouldn’t take any notice of these guys, but we couldn’t find the hostel we were after and when we walked into the building the woman was offering us a double room with an ensuite for 300bt a night. We weren’t overwhelmed, but it would do for the first night. Discovering a swimming pool on the roof the following night definitely changed our opinion and made us stay for a few more days instead of switching hotels. (I can’t remember the name of our place but it was almost opposite a bar called Click)imageThe beach at Hua Hin isn’t a stunner. It’s big and long and stretches round the bay but it’s not good for sunbathing, there’s a strong wind that hits the beach making it perfect for windsurfers but less so for relaxing. But the length and the firmness of the sand makes it perfect for an evening run which was something we enjoyed quite a lot – I love running on the beach at home, but it’s definitely better when you can jump in a warm sea after and cartwheel the whole way home. We spent our days relaxing by the pool and our nights shopping at the market. Considering how expensive Hua Hin appears because of all the holiday makers, we actually managed to snap up a load of bargains and even a 100bt foot massage at the market. This was also a great place to stock up on the more commercial items like makeup wipes, sun screen, and any other beauty products with Boots and other stores on offer.imageThe restaurants were good but not the best I’ve seen, street food is a bit lacking here although the market is good for food and particularly for seafood which is prepared right in front of you. Flames shoot up at regular intervals as head chefs cook up lobsters, prawns and huge fish on the grills set up outside the restaurants and the air is filled with the spicy smells of delicious Thai food. We also tried some fabulous duck at a few of the restaurants in the street near our hotel – the first time I had tried duck in Thailand and it was really tasty, with no fat and lots of flavour. I was really impressed with the duck salad and the green duck curry I had, and we also tried some delicious mussels topped with garlic, cheese and Thai herbs. Definitely explore the menus that offer slightly unusual dishes, there’s plenty of different meals on offer here.imageAll of these positives really didn’t outweigh the negatives in Hua Hin, but we really made the best of it by going out and partying with the few locals who actually worked there. This did backfire one night when they took us to a Thai club and we were propositioned by some Thai guys who wanted to pay us for a night… Needless to say we left and didn’t head back there in a hurry. The one saving grace of our time in the town was when I signed us up to do a morning of Muay Thai boxing training at Thai Boxing Garden, which was absolutely amazing! We headed in early to beat the heat but it was already hot and sweaty in the gym where the Thai boxing trainers were waiting. After a warm-up of skipping, it was straight into the straps on our wrists, the boxing gloves and straight into the moves. We worked hard and got results, the guys showed us all the moves and we definitely impressed them. Heck, I impressed myself after weeks of partying on the islands – half expected I would collapse halfway through! We had so much fun and left pumped and excited – we had hoped to make it to another session the next morning, but unfortunately Lily was ill so we couldn’t do it. But I would definitely recommend trying out a session if you get a chance and like to keep fit. It’s great fun, a good workout and good value for money depending on where you do it. There are also options to train every day for a week or longer for those staying longer.imageOverall, my advice would be to both holidaymakers and backpackers – avoid Hua Hin at all costs. We only stayed a few days because we didn’t want to spend too much time in Bangkok before Lily’s flights and because we had a pool, but if you don’t need to break up your journey, just skip it altogether and save yourself from the sight of 60-year-old men with young Thai women. If you do end up there, definitely get away from the strip for an evening by dressing up in your finest and heading to The Hilton where they have a Sky Bar which looks over the whole town and is beautiful all lit up at night. I’ll admit the cocktails aren’t amazing, but they also aren’t too expensive. If you’re like me, you’ll avoid the sugary concoctions and their sickly sweet taste and stick to champagne cocktails and bellinis instead. A nice treat for a backpacker.image


Have you ever travelled to a hell-hole? Tell me about your holidays from hell…

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8 thoughts on “Hua Hin – The Thai hell-hole to avoid at all costs

  1. I actually stayed in Hua Hin when I was in Thailand last time and I really enjoyed it – although I was staying in a resort a couple of miles out of the town so maybe that helped! I guess it’s probably actually a place to go if you don’t want to travel too far away from Bangkok.

    1. Oh that’s great Sophie – I’m ️glad to hear from someone who enjoyed it there to offer the flip side to my experience. I think it probably did help that you were staying in a resort, that’s why I was particularly saying I wouldn’t recommend it to backpackers. Being on holiday there would be, I’m sure, a lot better than stopping off in a backpacking tour purely because you have less places in Thailand to compare it to – for me it was a shock to the system because I had actively avoided anywhere uber touristy up to that point… But I’m glad others could enjoy it!

  2. Hi

    I can only assume that you have never been to places like Pattaya, Chiang Mai; Koh Samui and etc. I have been living in Hua-Hin for 13 years and I can assure you, it is probably the tamest town/city in Thailand.

    I think if you had explored Hua-Hin a bit more while you were here you would probably have enjoyed your stay a bit more. I’m not having a go at you, but it seems to me you seemed to visit all the worst spots, including the night market and the Hilton, both of which are severely overpriced tourist traps. I definitely would not recommend the Hilton to backpackers who want a few cocktails lol. They are half the price at almost every other place.

    The night market is worth a quick short visit, but prices there are very much inflated because of high rents. If you want street food then the market is not the place to be. The best seafood in town is found at the seafood restaurants down near to the fishing pier. Lovely setting and awesome prices as well.

    Anyway, enjoy your travels while you can. Sometimes I really miss my backpacking days.

    1. Actually – you should read the rest of my blog 🙂 I visited all of these other parts of Thailand and actually saw pretty much the whole country so I feel I had a pretty rounded view of it. I never said it was dangerous, just seemed very sleazy there, but I definitely wouldn’t say it is the tamest part of Thailand – the whole town seemed very focused on exploitation and money-making, it is a tourist trap. I did explore quite a bit but was disappointed by what I found, the parts I mentioned such as the night market and the Hilton were the very few plus-points I could find about the place – they actually were dramatically less sleazy than the rest – I found that when I went to regular bars around the town, and especially more Thai bars, we were surrounded by elderly “gentlemen” who were taking advantage of young girls working in prostitution or as Thai brides. It was depressing and the rest of the time we were approached by Thai guys asking how much we would charge for the night. I definitely didn’t stop there for the culture but was disappointed by the lack of it, thanks for the tips, if I ever return I’ll be sure to try them out.

  3. the constant breeze is the best thing about the beach. I love it. and a lot of other people obviously too. perfect for sunbathing. not many germans here or people from britain, but a lot of scandinavians. nightlife is tacky.

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