Author – Siddhartha P Saikia
Thailand is mostly popular among Indian travellers as Bachelors’ Paradise. Destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya are being enthralled by visitors round the year. But, Thailand, on the other hand, is a beautiful country with pristine beaches and delicious seafood, which could also make up for a perfect destination for a family vacation. Most importantly, a trip to Thailand would not be heavy on your pocket as compared to Europe or even Singapore and Indonesia. That is why I recently visited Hua Hin : A family holiday destination in Thailand.
Finding Hua Hin as a destination for our this year’s annual holiday came from my wife Ishita, who is an excellent holiday planner particularly for offbeat destinations. HuaHin is a beautiful beach town, nearly three hours drive from Bangkok. We set out for our annual vacation from October 19 to October 25, 2016. Here is holiday calendar of 2017. Choose the best long weekends in 2017 & plan your family trip to Thailand.
Top reason to visit Hua Hin
If you love beaches, sand and tides coupled with seafood – Hua Hin is the place to be. It’s a small town with clean beaches, where one can relax throughout the day. In the evenings, one can head out to the night market, which would offer plenty options for shopping- clothes, accessories, footwear and yummy food! (Not sure about options for vegetarian travellers).
Hotels in Hua Hin
Hua Hin has myriad options to stay. From luxury resorts to budget guesthouses, options for accommodation in Hua Hin are many. Most of them are by the ocean and could offer a feeling of just sleeping on the beach. We stayed at a high-end resort Anantara Hua Hin Resort. (Cost: INR 50,000 including taxes, breakfast and one couple spa for 3 nights & 4 days). Click here to see pictures and book this resort on ‘Book now, pay when you reach there’ basis.
During my stay at Hua Hin, I came across fellow travellers were mostly from Europe and Japan. Most of them were either couples or in groups. I saw very few Indian tourists. More importantly did not come across a single ‘boys group’.
What to do in Hua Hin
Mornings could be relaxing. Most of the resorts offer a wide spread on the breakfast table. American and Thai recipes are common. One can try the authentic Thai noodle soup with pork or fish balls; omelettes, sausages, toasts are regular menu items. Health freaks could also go for fruits and juices. We had the tom yum goong soup with prawns in all our meals.
Relax at Hua Hin beaches
After the breakfast, one can head to the thinly crowded beaches of Hua Hin. You can just lie down, read a book, sip a beer or wine. Options for sporting activities such as water scooter, parasailing are there.Another way to unwind oneself is to go for body massage from professional Thai masseurs. It is very refreshing.
Shop in Hua Hin town
In the evenings, one can head towards the Hua Hin town. Most of the resorts run their shuttle services until midnight charging about THB 50 per person. The shuttle service would drop you at the Clock Tower — the heart of Hua Hin. Around the Clock Tower are these night markets. These are long shopping streets with a wide range of clothes, accessories, footwear and much more. You can bargain at few shops to nearly half the price.
‘Eat, drink and be merry’
Dinner at these night markets is quite exciting. Mostly they serve seafood- prawns, oysters, lobster, shrimp, octopus, shellfish, the list is long. The eateries would display fresh eatables and one can choose his platter, which would be prepared fresh. Singha draught beer with grilled seafood could make up your trip memorable for years. Leo and Chang are other local beers available at every corner.
The Train Station
The Hua Hin train station is worth seeing. There is a small coffee joint at the trains station with a souvenir shop. This shop offers some interesting items, not commonly seen on streets.
Travelling to Cambodia border is very cheap as low as Rs 90 INR once you reach Thailand. Read how to get a Cambodia Visa without any hassles and what is the best and cheapest way to travel Cambodia.
How to reach Hua Hin
Delhi to Bangkok by flight :
One will have to reach Bangkok first. Delhi has multiple direct flights to Bangkok. However, if time permits, one can take a flight via Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur or Colombo to make it cheaper. A direct flight from Delhi to Bangkok would costs about Rs 15,000-16,000 per person, while a longer flight could be Rs 3,000-5000 per person cheaper. I opted for Sri Lankan Airlines (Delhi-Colombo-Bangkok) and Indigo Airlines (Bangkok-Kolkata-Delhi) costing about Rs 50,000 for two adults plus a below two-year child.
In Bangkok :
One may also want to spend a day in Bangkok. We stayed for a night at Hotel Centra Central Bangkok (tariff about Rs 3,500 a night excluding breakfast including taxes), which is opposite to Hua Lamphong train station. It is the main train station of the city from where one can board to Hua Hin. From Suvarnabhumi Airport to the hotel costs THB 465 around 40 minutes in the morning.
Bangkok to Hua Hin by train :
After reaching Bangkok, one could opt either a train, bus or a car to reach Hua Hin. Check out train options from Bangkok to Hua Hin trains at http://www.thailandtrainticket.com/ Trains take more than four to five hours for the journey. Not many AC trains are available. (Useful websites everyone should check before coming to Thailand)
However, one cannot buy a ticket online like IRCTC. Even if you pay online, the ticket would be delivered to a particular address at an extra cost. This is little complicated. So, I decided to reach Bangkok and buy the train ticket. Hua Lamphong train station has a separate counter for foreign tourists. (Video : Ticket counter at Hua Lamphong train station) But, when I went there the tickets on the train I wanted were over.
Bangkok to Hua Hin by Car :
I opted to go by car. I hired a Toyota Camry Hybrid for THB 1800 (all including) from http://huahincab.com/ I booked it online, and the driver reported at my hotel next morning at the specified time. The driver was polite, helpful and could speak broken English. They have the option to get a baby seat as well with an additional cost of THB 200. He was eager to help travellers directly without going through the company. His name is Tao and number is +66-623126697. The highway is smooth and the drive is scenic with an average speed of 100-120 km/h.
Hua Hin Hotels
Thai VISA for Indians
Thailand offers VISA on arrival for Indian tourists. However, if you are travelling with children or avoid waiting in queues at the airport, it is advisable to obtain the VISA before leaving. The process is simple and hassle free.
How to get Thailand VISA for Indians
The Thai VISA form is just a single page and simple, unlike those for the US and Schengen. One can take a print out of the VISA form from http://www.vfs-thailand.co.in/Delhi/contact_us.html. One needs to attach two photographs, flight tickets, hotel bookings and a credit card or bank statement with it. The VISA is granted in two working days. Fee is Rs 2,000 excluding service charge. For children, one of the parent needs to give an undertaking on a plain paper declaring to pay for his expenses.
Thailand VISA office in Delhi
The VFS office in Delhi is centrally located in New Delhi, near the Hindustan Times building at K G Marg in Connaught place. Address of the Thailand Visa Application Centre – 702 – 707, 7th Floor, Prakash Deep Building, 7 Tolstoy Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi 110001
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