Hua Hin - Bangkok - Thailand - December 9 - December 16, 2006
December 09, 2006 - Hua Hin
We were quite disappointed with Hua Hin, Thailand as a kiteboarding destination. From the web site www.KiteboardingAsia.com, we thought Hua Hin would be a nice, quiet, big beach with constant wind for kiteboarding. To our surprise, Hua Hin is crowded with lots of people as well as tourists. Food on the street is inexpensive, a delicious lunch costs about $3 USD for the food. However, be prepared to pay more in a restaurant, alcohol (beer, wine or mixed drinks) is as expensive as your food. A lunch or dinner with drinks, beer or wine can cost you closer to $20 to $40USD. Although this is inexpensive in US terms, it is expensive compared to Vietnam, Cabarete or Brazil. Many sections of the beach at Hua Hin are not accessible by the public; in addition, the water comes right up to the properties that are on the beach so you really don't have beach for launching and landing. The wind was super light: 8 kts or less during the time we were in Hua Hin. The kiteboarding beach area in Hua Hin is about 6 km long and is very small with lots of tourists on the beach as well as swimmers. Jelly fish, light wind, extremely small beach, too many people and tourists, polluted air, etc... : Hua Hin is definitely not a kiteboarding destination for us!
After a short 2 hour flight from Da Nang - Vietnam, we arrived at Bangkok airport. 4000 badth (100 USD) and 4 hours on a taxi, we arrived to Hua Hin City around 7 p.m. only to find out Hua Hin is a popular vacationing spot for thai people and europeans, so pretty crowded.
December 10, 2006 - Hua Hin
The views are from the 16th floor of our penthouse suite at the Grand Hotel Hua Hin. We figured out what all was in Hua Hin and swapped hotels over to the Majestic Beach Resort. When we arrived we had our honeymoon suite decked out with two hearts on our bed in rose petals and a basket of fresh fruit. We checked out the beach looking to figure out where we could kiteboard. Unfortunately our hotel as well as the rest around us don't have a beach. The surf comes up and crashes on the sea wall at the edge of the hotel. Definitely ocean not beach front. We decided to travel into town to find the kiteboarding beach. Hua Hin Beach starts around the Hilton and ends a few resorts down from the Veranda. The wind was really light and with only one kite on the water, a 130lb maybe kid on a 14m kite, we decided Thailand was a very light wind location. We drove up and down the stretch of beach looking for part that was not really crowded with a lot of tourists and vendors on the beach, unfortunately without luck. After exploring we realized why we had such a hard time booking this trip and finding a good spot to stay for kiting. We rented a motorbike for the remainder of our days here realizing we would be doing more exploring of areas around Hua Hin not kiting, and had dinner at a street side restaurant. We wandered through a great night market and headed back to our resort.
December 11, 2006 - Hua Hin
We drove our motorbike down to Monkey Mountain in the morning. We saw the standing buddha on Phra Pang Haan Yad which is on the side of the mountain. We walked up to a temple on the top of the hill and had a great view of Hua Hin beach. We further confirmed that there is no more beach than the small stretch of Hua Hin. We drove through the fishing village and enjoyed seeing all the fresh seafood caught that day. We ended up at Monkey Mountain or chopstick mountain (Khao Takiap) where the monkey's are very used to tourist contact and are more than happy to help you feed them plenty of corn, banana's and peanuts. We visited the temple on top of the hill and further down on the side of the hill (chinese temple). After enjoying the monkey's we decided on the map that the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park didn't look too far from where we were at. We stopped back at the fishing village and had a great lunch with the best soft shelled crab fried with lots of garlic and seafood fried rice we have had yet in Thailand. Unfortunately the map was not to the same scale as you head south as the city Hua Hin portion and 80km later we had arrived at the edge of the park. Today was the first day in Thailand that we came across the different pricing given to locals versus tourists. Instead of paying 40Bh to enter the park we were each charged 400Bh each which included a map which we only found out about after we talked to another traveler who let us know about it and where to get it, only having a Thai wife he was able to get a full blown map where we were only entitled to receive a piece of paper with a map.
We wandered through the first cave we came across (Kaeo Cave) and were charged another 50Bh for a flashlight. After hiking up the hill we were able to wander through the cave seeing all the formations from water that had once rushed through there. It was a great cave for the formations and that little bats that were sleeping and holding onto the formations. The cave was very warm and decent shoes or hiking sandals are a bonus. It is easier not to have a backpack or other bags with you, some places have a lower ceiling to crawl through. After wandering through the cave we drove back on the road and visited Saem Phraya Beach. This was a nice quaint beach that would be a great camping spot, although most likely the wind would be blocked from the point as it was today. There is a full restaurant and rest room, just bring your own toilet paper. We ran across the couple here who had explored the rest of the park. Of the three caves they recommended Sai Cave which has a huge underground forest growing. You can walk on a path about 20-30 min or take a boat ride to the beach where you climb up to enter the cave. On the way out we headed by the visitors center to pick up our map and found the main road to take back to Hua Hin. This was definitely a shorter route (60km instead of 80km), but through the city so much busier. After a long 160km trek on the motorbike we came back to our resort, swam in the pool and enjoyed not sitting on a motorbike. We had a light but great dinner and relaxed.
December 12, 2006 - Hua Hin
Today we headed out towards the elephant village. Jamie made a new friend with a baby elephant who moved his trunk over for her to say hi. To take a one hour elephant ride through the buddha statues and river was 800Bh per person. We passed and walked around the property looking at the buddha's and elephants and continued on. We walked through the silk village which ended up being a tailor shop not a factory. We headed over to the spa connected to the Grand Hotel Hua Hin and both enjoyed a couple's thai massage. A great way to stretch out the muscles after the long motorbike ride the day before and for 300Bh or approx $8 a decent 1 1/2 hr massage mainly focusing on the legs and feet with a little attention on the back and neck. We returned our motor bike, walked around town, had a great lunch and lounged by the pool for the remainder of the afternoon. We had a great dinner and champagne delivered to our room and enjoyed a night in.
December 13, 2006 - Hua Hin
After the motorbike rides for the past few days, we decided to relax and enjoy the beach air and stayed pool side at our resort all day. We read, worked out in the fitness room, and took a shuttle into the town for dinner at the night market. This market is close to the clock tower and a tourist center but is large and very clean. There are a lot of great places to get great food, thai silk, clothing or other handicrafts. We took a taxi back to our hotel and packed for the next day's travel to Bangkok. A taxi anywhere within Hua Hin tends to cost about 120-150Bh.($3 to $4USD)
December 14, 2006 - Bangkok
December 15, 2006 - Bangkok
Today we left the Majestic in Hua Hin at 8am and arrived back in Bangkok around 12:30. We settled into our hotel, the Center Point which are executive residences. We wandered a little around town and found a great buffet with both international and thai food for lunch at the First Hotel. We relaxed in the afternoon, worked out and had dinner at our hotel.
Other sources of information about this area can be found at:
We visit the old Grand Palace and took a city tour today. The Grand Palace was built starting with King Rama I and has been added to by King Rama III, IV and V. It was lived in and used extensively through King Rama VI before the new palace was built across town. The temple holding the emerald buddha is in the Grand Palace, but unfortunately we were unable to view it because of a function the King is holding there tonight. We had a guide who described the different parts of the Palace to us, but there was also an audio guide available to take you through it. We learned today from our guide that from Nov to Feb is the winter here in Thailand with the temperature around 80-85degrees. From Apr to July is their summer where temperatures are usually around 100-110 degrees. After the Palace we drove around the city and visited the Fishing Dock, home of the James Bond boats, but bypassed on a ride. According to our guide it is a great tour because it is a lot cooler on the water visiting the sites compared to walking or driving on the streets.