A little overdue perhaps but again the past week or so have been a whirlwind of catch-ups with old friends, birthday outings and some cheeky last-minute tickets to the Fray’s gig on Monday night. Amaaaaaazing! So before my brain melts with more upcoming festivities, here’s part II of our adventure in Thailand when we take a little week-long trip to the beautiful resort of Hua Hin.
Hungover and somewhat dazed and confused about the previous night’s antics in 999 West, the crazy Thai bar down Khao San, we managed to make it in time for our coach to Hua Hin. Jump in a taxi to the South Bus Terminal (if waving your Thai bus ticket doesn’t suffice, phone a Thai friend…literally) and make sure you’re at the right stop to get said coach to your destination as having just one No.7 stop is not enough, apparently. The 3.5/4 hour journey to Hua Hin isn’t massively scenic until you’re near the end but a nap along with a substantial lunch of Pringles and Oreos and a couple of episodes of Castles is enough to get you by.
Our return coach journey to Bangkok took around 5 hours because of a traffic jam so if you are going to be travelling around Thailand, make sure you book your return journey back for around 2 days before your last day. You can never be too careful! By this point, you’ll also be well-rehearsed in being able to prolong your bathroom needs, unless you’re absolutely desperate on the coach journey. Enter if you dare.
We stayed in the beautiful Colonnade Hotel, off the main road in the town centre, behind the Colonnade mall. The rooms were ridiculously spacious, for what we paid, and we had a lovely view of the pool from our little balcony. Every room has an en-suite bathroom and shower, TV, fridge and a safe along with a little lounge area for draping yourself across after a hard day’s work at the beach. Its in an really central location being only 5 mins away from the Night Market and various bars/restaurants and 5 mins in the opposite direction to the beach.
Like I said, it is worth booking accommodation while you’re over there as you get better deals. The control-freak in me did panic slightly about not pre-booking something months beforehand but unless you’ve got your heart absolutely set on a certain hotel etc, its worth flagging up a few options and seeing what you can get. Adam booked the Colonnade a week before I was due to fly out and although I was apprehensive about being so last minute, it certainly paid off.
Things To Do & See
The Beach: While I’ll admit that I’m not really a beach-bum (too much sand, y’see) I was quite happy to spend three days soaking up the sun on Hua Hin’s beautiful coastline. Powder-white sand, drinking from a fresh coconut and swimming in the crystal-blue Gulf sea. Bliss!
Good tip: If you enter the beach from Hua Hin Alley road, walk to the right, you’ll avoid the rocks and you’ll come across a little rum shack with sun loungers, plonk yourself on one of them and let the friendly bar staff look after you all day. It costs literally peanuts to occupy your lounger for the afternoon and if you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can choose from a variety of rice and noodle dishes on their menu.
The Night Market:
Located between the Petchkasem road and the railway station, the night market is a bustling street full of food vendors, handmade trinkets and imitation leather goods. The great thing is that most of the restaurants/cafes are located in the same street so you can have a little perusal before dinner. Unless of course you’re absolutely starving and you’re in a hurry, you may want to sharpen your elbows to get through the crowds ha! The market is on every night of the week, from around 6.30pm so you won’t have to worry about missing out.
The Elephant Sanctuary:
Hutsadin Elephant Foundation was a place I found online before our trip and it was one of the things I really wanted to experience while in Thailand. There are so many elephant sanctuaries and safari parks across the country but I’d read a few reviews on Trip Advisor regarding certain ones and wanted to steer clear of any where the animals weren’t being treated properly. Hutsadin is an elephant hospital as well as a sanctuary for retired elephants who’ve had laborious lives or for those who have been rescued from poachers etc. The nice thing about visiting is that you don’t feel obliged to take the elephants out trekking, if you just want to have a look around the sanctuary and chat to the very friendly volunteers who work there, you can, as its a non-profit organisation.
We had a little play with their youngest elephant, four-year-old Songkran, who was rejected by her mother when she was a baby. Believe it or not, she’s quite small for her age and will have to take calcium supplements for the rest of her life, which in effect have made her hairier than the average Asian elephant but uber cute! The area surrounding them is vast and they’re constantly fed, watered and bathed. If you do visit any elephant sanctuary in the Hua Hin area, make sure its Hutsadin. They’re magnificent animals and its great knowing that there are organisations out there, who are doing their best to look after them.
As I said in Part I, I’m not the most adventurous of souls when it comes to my eating habits but if you luuuuuurve seafood then you’ll be in your absolute element in Hua Hin. From the stalls in the night market to the restaurants that line the coast, you probably won’t find anything fresher. Adam tucked into this little guy (below) in the Rod Fai restaurant. Eeeeeek.
If fish isn’t your thing, then there are a number of noodle bars and European restaurants to choose from. We even had an Italian at the Hilton Hotel in Naresdamri Road and found an awesome little British cafe called Buffalo Bill, run by the lovely Bill and Lorraine. Pop in there for a fruit cider when the Mai Thai’s get too much and a good ol’ traditional Sunday Roast.
While Hua Hin was definitely a lot quieter on the nightlife front than Bangkok was (no surprise really!) it was nice to just bar-hop, sink a few cocktails and watch the world go by. The liveliest of streets was Soi Bintabaht, which we dubbed “Slapper Alley,” (ha.) but on a serious note, it isn’t as sleazy as it sounds and if you want a bar with a bit of music or sports screens, this is probably one of your best bets. We took up a pew at Tina’s Bar on the corner on a couple of occasions but if you wander further down, outside the Hilton hotel are a number of a cute little cocktail bars. Our favourite being the Tug Boat bar, reasonably priced and the bar man is hilarious!
Failing that, get a 300 Baht (£6) bottle of white wine from the Night Market and watch hilarity ensue as you think 1) that you haven’t got a corkscrew 2) Upon buying a corkscrew, you discover one on the back of the bottle opener that’s in your hotel fridge and finally 3) Discovering that the wine actually tastes like vinegar but what the hell, stick on some Sinatra and have yourself a drink al-fresco on your balcony. Smooth.
30C heat now feels like a lifetime ago *sob* but it really was one of the most amazing trips that I’ve ever done and I’d love to go back to explore more- here’s hoping! Spring seems to be on its way at long-last and I’m sure it won’t be long until I get itchy feet for travelling again, although it’ll probably have to be a little closer to home this time! Any suggestions, mes amies?
I hope you all had a lovely weekend, another packed one for me, despite having that a cold that keeps trying to rear its ugly head! Friday night involved a lovely meal at a gorgeous little Italian Taberna Etrusca, tucked away near Cheapside in Bank before some drinks with friends at the Vintry nearby while on Saturday, I donned beads and embellishment for the Prohibition 1920s party in Bloomsbury with the girls. You may have seen my tweets #GettingMyGatsbyOn and I’ll be following up with a blog post shortly.
Have an awesome week, lets hope this sunshine sticks around!