Hua Hin Halal Travel Guide
Hua Hin (หัวหิน) is a seaside resort city of about 50,000 residents (2012) in Thailand. 195 km from Bangkok, it is popular with Thais, having become quite fashionable as a weekend getaway spot for Bangkok residents, with foreigners, and as an expat retirement or holiday home location.
Although it is developing rapidly, there is a commitment by the local and provincial authorities to avoid the kind of overheated blight that has affected other beach resorts in Thailand.
Introduction to Hua Hin
Popularised as a resort in the early 1920s by King Prajadhipok, Hua Hin is closely associated with the Thai royal family and is a quiet and relaxing seaside resort ideal for family vacations, a reasonable 2½ hours’ drive down from Bangkok. Until 1934, it was known as Samore Riang (สมอเรียง), or “rows of rocks”.
The tranquil fishing village was turned into a royal resort and consequently became popular among Siam’s nobility and upper classes. In 1928, Prajadhipok built his Klai Kangwon (“Far from Worries”) Palace. As of 2018, Klai Kangwon is a summer residence of the king and is not open for visitors, although the outer palace grounds are open for walkers and joggers from 16:00 to 19:00 daily (wear shoes, have sleeved shirts that cover at least your upper arms and bring your passport).
The 6 km long beach is pretty and relatively clean, more so than Pattaya’s, and the cleanliness of the sea is rated “fair”. However, most of the beach can completely disappear along certain parts of the coast during high tide. Besides just sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming, visitors can also enjoy golf, spas, caves, peaks, waterfalls, shops, seafood, and nearby national parks. The town is clean, friendly, and laid-back, making it ideal for families and couples.
Tourist information can be found from the corner of Petchkasem Road and Damnerkasem Road (Soi 76), quite close to the railway station.
There is also a tourist information Centre near the clock tower in the Centre of town, which is right next to a Starbucks for those of you requiring a caffeine fix. This is also where many minivans stop to offload and pick up passengers, even though it is not the official bus station, and consequently is an easy place to find a motorcycle taxi or tuk-tuk.
The town of Hua Hin cannot be called scenic. Aside from the beach, the grounds of posh hotels, and the several blocks west of the Hilton Hotel, there is no place to stroll in Hua Hin. The town lacks a central square or focal point. Like most Thai towns, Hua Hin is a nightmare for pedestrians and impossible for those with physical disabilities, the blind, or those confined to a wheelchair. Signage and other obstacles impinge on sidewalks, where there are sidewalks, every few metres. Phetkasem Road, which divides the town into two halves, is a virtual racetrack, with few concessions like crosswalks for those on foot or bicycle lanes for cyclists.
Phetkasem Road bisects the town, leading to Cha-am in the north and Prachuap Khiri Khan in the south. Roads perpendicular to Phetkasem on the inland side are even-numbered sois. Those on the sea-side are odd-numbered. The numbers do not match up across Phetkasem. For example, Soi 61 leads to the central seaside area around the Hilton Hotel. The same street on the other side of Phetkasem is Soi 76. It leads to the railway station. At the northeast corner of the Soi 61/Soi 76 intersection you will find the tourist information Centre. Behind it is the central police station. Across the street from the police station is a post office. Continuing down Soi 61 to the beach is the office of the Tourist Police.
Hua Hin has a tropical climate with high humidity and occasional rain. It is typically pleasant however, and can be enjoyed year round. Generally, the best time of the year to visit Hua Hin is in the cool season from November to February, but for those who like it hot, then the hot season is from March to May (temperature gets up into the higher 30s). The rainy season (although it doesn’t rain every day) is from June to October with September being the rainiest of all. The rain in Thailand usually comes in short sharp bursts. It doesn’t usually drizzle for long periods of time.
The quality of the waters of the Gulf of Thailand off central Hua Hin were rated “fair” in 2015 by the Pollution Control Department. But, the report noted that “… the main tourism areas, namely Cha–Am Beach… and Hua Hin Beach… should be consistently monitored, since enterococci (fecal) bacteria levels exceeded the standard….”
One of the first things a visitor to Hua Hin notices is the blizzard of signage. Evidently anyone can put up a sign. Hotels and other commercial enterprises design their signs to look like official signage. They and every other type of sign imaginable degrade the environment and contribute to its ugliness. Town officials for whatever reason do not enforce existing sign ordinances.