Hua Hin is a place I love to visit every once in a while to escape the chaos of the Big Mango. This list of things to do in Hua Hin is based on my experiences and will prove that the city is not as boring as people might think.
Hua Hin has this image that it’s a destination for retired Western people who come and enjoy a peaceful summer. Now, I can’t deny that there are no retirees but there the city is exciting enough for travellers, couples and families. The reason that Hua Hin attracts all kind of travellers, including the retirees, is because the city is clean and well-organized and has many beautiful beaches and resorts as well as budget accommodations. It’s also the reason why many Bangkokians spend a weekend in Hua Hin for relaxation and it’s an only three-hour drive. With this list of things to do in Hua Hin, you will notice that there are so many activities for any type of traveller.
The top things to do in Hua Hin are:
Hua Hin is a top location for kitesurfing as it so many beaches and it offers opportunities for all levels of kitesurfing riders, making it one of the best things to do in Hua Hin. You can find many kitesurfing schools that offer you all sorts of training, from one-hour lessons for kids to a complete week including accommodations, IKO kite license, and insurance. The kitesurfing season in Hua Hin is extremely long as it’s windy almost all year long. Make sure to contact one of the kitesurfing agencies in Hua Hin to check the weather in case you are planning to do a kitesurf training week. Also, make sure that you are wearing protecting gear as there are many jellyfish in Hua Hin.
Kitesurfing is one of the top things to do in Hua Hin
2. Visit Cicada Weekend Market
Cicada Market is a weekend market and is by far the most exciting market Hua Hin has to offer and most definitely one of the top things to do in Hua Hin. There is another market named Hua Hin Night Bazaar, but compared to Cicada Market or markets in Bangkok for example, it’s not that exciting. Cicada market, on the other hand, is exciting as it is much cleaner than the markets I’m used to in Bangkok, offers a wide variety of high-quality local food, has live music, art and acts and is beautifully decorated. Luckily, it’s not as crowded as the markets in Bangkok, making it perfect for families as well. Cicada Market is open from 16:00 to 23.00 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. More information can be found on the official Cicada Market website.
An artist busy painting at Cicada Market
3. Enjoy a day at Vana Nava Waterpark
Hua Hin has two different waterparks and the most thrilling of them is the modern Vana Nava Water Jungle. The waterpark offers a wide variety of rides, including nine different rides for adults, six different rides that are family-orientated, a kids zone and an adventure zone that includes a surfing zone, a ropes course and a climbing wall making it an amazing activity for the whole family. Prices vary between 800 and 1200 THB and kids under 110 cm can enter the visit for free. The park is open from 10:00 to 18:00. Vana Nava Waterpark is one of the top things to do in Hua Hin for families! Tickets can be found on the Official Vana Nava Waterpark website.
Vana Nava Waterpark is one of the top Hua Hin attractions
4. Visit the Phraya Nakhon Cave (Sam Roi Yot)
The Phraya Nakhon Cave is a popular attraction located in the beautiful Khao Sam Rai You National Park and has this beautiful temple inside the cave. It’s a bit difficult to reach the cave and I advise to take a long tail boat ride to shorten the route. Once the boat drops you off at the beach, you still have to climb a mountain for at least half an hour, so a pair of hiking or sports shoes are very welcome. Once you reached the entrance of the cave, you have to walk down the stairs into the cave. Even when I visit countless temples in Thailand before, I strongly recommend visiting the Phraya Nakhon Cave as it is simply beautiful. The entrance fee for entering the national park is 200 THB.
The beautiful Phraya Nakhon Cave is highly recommended and one of the top Hua Hin attractions
5. Chill at Seenspace
Seenspace is a hip beachfront shopping mall that has some very cool bars and restaurants that attracts a lot of young local people. At the beachside, you will find plenty of lounge sofas, a swimming pool and a DJ playing some funky music. Seenspace has plenty of restaurants that serving high-quality meals including sushi, burgers, seafood and Thai specialties. Personally, I love to just chill at HOBS where they offer a wide range of import beers and watch the sun go down. If you are looking for a great place to chill in Hua Hin, Seenspace is the place to go!
The ultimate place to chill in Hua Hin
A wide range of import craft beers can be found at Seenspace Hua Hin
6. Winetasting at Monsoon Valley Vineyard
Monsoon Valley Vineyard is located forty kilometres from Hua Hin city centre. It takes around an hour to get there and the ride toward the Monsoon Valley offers many picture perfect viewpoints. There are a few activities you can do at the Monsoon Valley Vineyard:
- a jeep tour in and around the vineyard (100 THB per person)
- dine at the restaurant which has an amazing panoramic view
- wine tasting with five different local wines, optional with tapas (1,050 THB - 1,730 THB per person)
- mountain biking around the valley on a four kilometres trail which takes between thirty to sixty minutes (100 THB - 150 THB)
- create your own unique wine label with bottle painting (300 THB - 800 THB)
- wine safari through the vineyard and the Kuiburi National Park, including wine tasting, lunch, and dinner. (6,000 THB - 7,000 THB)
Monsoon Valley Vineyard at Hua Hin
Local Thai wine with a cheese platter
The day that we visited the restaurant, we choose a la carte. The restaurant has an extensive menu with both Western as Thai food options. Each food option on the menu has its own wine recommendation. Due to popularity, make sure to make a reservation if you want the best seats. More information can be found on the official Monsoon Valley website.
7. Walk through the Pranburi Forest Park Mangrove
Thirty kilometres from Hua Hin centre, you will find the largest mangrove forest in Thailand. The Pranburi Forest Park is free to visit and has a wooden walkway where you can spot many different animals, including weirdly coloured crabs. The wooden walkway is approximately one kilometre long and during the walk, you will pass by local boatmen. For 450 THB you can hire a long-tail boat that will take you through the mangrove and a local fisher village. The boat can easily take eight people. In my opinion, it is definitely worth the ride. The park itself is open from 06:00 to 18:00.
The largest mangrove in Thailand
The viewpoint of Pranburi Forest Park
Boat tours through the mangrove and to a fishing village for 450 THB
8. Visit the Rama Statues at Rajabhakti Park
Opened in 2015, the Rajabhakti Park is a park with seven 14-meter bronze statues of the most important kings from the Thai history. Each individual king did something great for Thailand, such as getting rid of slavery or inventing the Thai alphabet, that the army decided to make a statue for them. On the left side of the park, you will find a small museum where you can find all the kings details. This impressive landmark is definitely worth the visit and it does not have any entrance fee. Make sure that you are dressed properly, according to the Thai standards (no miniskirt or sleeveless shirts). In the near future, another statue will be added, namely the recently deceased Rama IX Bhumibol Adulyadej.
A monk looking at the seven Rama statues at Rajabhakti Park
9. Experience the viewpoints Hin Lek Fai and Wat Khao Takiap
Hua Hin has a few great viewpoints which give you a great panoramic view perfect for pictures. The most popular one is the Hin Lek Fai. This viewpoint has multiple lookout points and is located three kilometres from Hua Hin, giving it a nice viewpoint angle with the ocean in the background. The only downside of Hin Lek Fai is the monkeys. The time that I visited Hin Lek Fai, the monkeys were destroying cars and even rented motorbikes. A great alternative viewpoint is Wat Khao Takiap. You can climb the large rock by stairs and on top of that rock, you will find a temple and a viewpoint that in both directions. For me, it was much easier the reach and we did not get harassed by any monkey.
Viewpoint at Wat Khao Takiap
Monkey destroying the seat of a motorbike at Hin Lek Fai
10. Enjoy Hua Hin's Nightlife
Nightlife in Hua Hin is completely different than nightlife in Bangkok, Phuket or Pattaya. You won’t find any decent clubs here. But what Hua Hin does offer are plenty of nice bars and beach lounges, making it perfect to relax and enjoy a cocktail or two close to the beach. The most popular one is the Oceanside Beach Club & Restaurant, but you can find other good places on the main road where all the popular resorts are located.
The most popular street to find beer bars is Soi Bintabaht. Expect cheap beers and food, live music, pool tables and plenty of foreigners. The most popular bar in this street is the Hua Hin Beer Garden, which is located in the middle of the street.
Hua Hin has two popular rooftop bars: the White Lotus Skybar at the Hilton and the East Rooftop Bar. The White Lotus is by far the best option with a view on the 17th floor, however, it comes with a high price tag. I would recommend visiting the Skybar during happy hours. The East Rooftop bar is much more laid-back and budget-friendly.
Oceanside Beach Club at Hua Hin
There you have it, my list of things to do in Hua Hin. Hua Hin is a popular destination for a reason. In my opinion, there are activities for every type of traveller, from kitesurfing to wine tasting. But most important, Hua Hin is a destination to enjoy the beaches and relax!