The Royal Resort, as advertised in the travel industry, actually has a legitimate claim to the name, as it appealed so much to the King of Thailand back in the 1920’s that he had a palace built there and named it Klai Kangwon (“Far From Worries”). The current King and his family are often in residence these days too, and the beach is still one of Thailand’s most beautiful and alluring.
About four kilometres of soft white sand stretches in a wide band from one headland to another; there is plenty of space for sunning with lounge chairs and umbrellas to hire if you like, or just bring your own and set up camp. The sea here is clear, clean and calm, with ideal swimming conditions. Kite-surfing/sailing has become an extremely popular sport; in fact there are competitions going on year round, and you can always find someone to teach you the basics.
Partially because of the fairly frequent presence of Royalty, the town and the beach enjoy a quieter and safer environment than many of the country’s more tourist-oriented resorts. This is not the place to go topless on the beach or stroll through town in a bikini; though you will not be arrested for indecent exposure, it’s considered an insult and won’t endear you to the residents.
Hua Hin is one of the few spots in Thailand where you can ride a horse (or a pony, for little people) on the beach. Fishing and eco-cruising boats, banana boat rides, water skiing, para-sailing and snorkeling are all on the activity menu; scuba diving is not, as there are no large reefs or underwater rocks in the near vicinity. Plenty of refreshment is available from beach-side vendors, and the best of it is the scrumptious variety of fresh seafood – don’t miss it.
The southern end of Hua Hin beach is marked by Khao Takiab, a hill that separates it from another long, lovely swimming beach that is owned by the Thai military but open to the public. The views from Khao Takiab are also lovely and a great spot to watch the sunset over dinner and/or cocktails and admire the tan you’ve acquired on the beach.
For golfers, it’s worthy of note that there are several world-class courses within a 30-minute drive of Hua Hin town. Much of the surrounding area is National Park, with some great hikes to scenic spots such as the 11-tier waterfall at Pa La-U in the midst of a lush forest abounding in birds and butterflies.
Another don’t-miss is back in town at the nightly street market, frequented by the locals and a good opportunity to absorb a bit of real Thai beach life.
Overall, Hua Hin has escaped the over-development so common in areas like Pattaya and Patong, and the city officials are committed to keeping it that way, or so it seems. Only about three hours from Bangkok, it’s an ideal destination for just relaxing in the sun.