The Hua Hin and Cha Am area is located on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand, and is approximately a two and half hour drive from Bangkok via the expressway. Once a sleepy fishing village, this Royal town has developed over the years, and hosts nine courses all in the immediate vicinity. Extremely popular with both locals and visiting foreigners for holidays, it has successfully incorporated modern luxuries without the commercialism of other resorts, and the area has kept much of its old world charm, and colorful ways. Today it is still a thriving fishing village with its own local fleet and on most evenings, holidaymakers stroll down to the harbour to enjoy the fresh seafood available in many of the fine waterfront restaurants.
Hua Hin has developed over the years into a very special golf destination beside the seaside. In fact in 2014 it was voted Best Golf Destination Asia and Australasia by over 500 members of The International Golf Tour Operators Assocition (IGATO). Being close to the capital Bangkok, it is ideal as a two centre golf destination.
The first golf course ever to open in Thailand, Royal Hua Hin, was built back in 1924 by a group of Scots railway engineers. They obvously were the pioneers and loved the game, as there are now nine courses all within 30km of the town. This orginal style 18 hole course is actually located right in the centre of town next to the famous railway station. Quite an old style layout with fairly rough and hard fairways and undulating greens, it still offers a great round of golf. A bit of history!
However perhaps the most famous course in the region is the award winning Black Mountain Golf Club. This magnificent 18 hole championship course opened for play July, 2007, and has already played host to the Royal Trophy and the True Thailand Classic on the European Tour. Designer Phil Ryan has carved out a stunning masterpiece, both challenging for the tournament professional, and playable for the recreational golfer. The course stretches out to 7345 yards from the championship-caliber black tees to 6502 from the blue with course ratings of 75 & 72 respectively. The forward tees play to a comfortable 5652 yards with a course rating of 73. Great elevations, wonderful bunkering and water features make a round here very memorable. The Black Mountain club house is also a breathtaking structure, and their restaurant offers open air fine dining overlooking the 18th green. Recently the club has added a world class nine hole par 3 course, which is great for tuning up your short game. First class luxurious locker rooms a spa and vast pro shop all add to this remarkable club. It’s only a ten-minute drive from downtown and a ‘ bucket list’ must-play for all golf enthusiasts.
You are actually spoilt for choice as the town also boasts another award winning club called the Banyan Golf Resort, nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. Opened in 2008, designer Pirapon Namtra has created a true masterpiece with great use of the natural layout of this Thai countryside 18 holes. Course notes on the 1st hole states…”Aim for the coconut, and remember to avoid the pinapples in the rough!” The fun continues around the beatifully maintained courses. Apart from some great and challenging elevations, this course is a very fair layout. Their club house too has won several awards for its classic Thai styled design and don’t forget to grab a cocktail at ‘Muligans’ the club’s popular 19th hole and watch the increadible sunsets.
Other courses worth a visit include the Jack Nicklaus designed Springfield Golf Resort, Imperial Lakes View with 36 holes, Majestic Creek and Sean Pines with a few holes running alonside the seaside. Enjoy a very relaxing golf vacation in Hua Hin.
Hua Hin is unlike any other beach resort in Thailand. If you’re looking for bright lights and the frantic all-night action of cabarets and discos, you may be disappointed here. However, if you enjoy walks through the quiet winding streets of a friendly coastal village, sampling delicious seafood in restaurants overlooking the brightly lit fishing boats on the Gulf of Thailand or a round of golf on one of the several international standard links, Hua Hin could very well be what you’re looking for; Hua Hin has a special character all its own.
Hua Hin became popular as a rainy season retreat in the 1920’s with the construction of the railway line from Bangkok. The beautiful, colonial style Railway Hotel was built near Hua Hin’s famous rocks in 1923 by the State Railway Authority, which also built Thailand’s first public golf course in Hua Hin in 1924. In 1926, King Rama VII built the Klai Kangwon (Far From Worries) Palace on the beach a few km north of the Railway Hotel and this palace is still frequently used by the Royal Family. This set the stage for Hua Hin’s popularity and unique ambiance which remains to this day.
Hua Hin is 200 km south of Bangkok on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand. The resort may also be reached by rail, coach, or daily flights from Bangkok. There are close to 700 hotels and guesthouses in and around Hua Hin with international brands to exclusive beach front boutique hotels to choice. While the smaller guesthouses have spartan rooms for a few dollars a night, high-rollers can be pampered to their heart’s delight for a bit more at one of the several 5-star luxury resorts.
The active fishing port guarantees fresh seafood and Hua Hin has it all, including dishes not found in other parts of Thailand. There are many styles of restaurant, from a row of large, brightly lit establishments with extensive menus along the beach near the pier, to small stalls at the lively night market specializing in only a tasty dish or two. While Thai and Chinese seafood reign here, there are also many restaurants offering everything from pizza and pasta to tandoori chicken and meat pies and other popular international dishes. Also be sure to sample the wide variety of fruits and kanoms (Thai sweets) available in restaurants, shops and stalls along the road.
Hua Hin is small enough that one can wander for hours without the need of motor transportation. Most hotels are no more than few minutes walk to the beach, the market or a friendly restaurant. There are many shops selling local handicrafts, silver, silk, tailors to fit you for that custom suit, and dozens of photo opportunities. There is also a very popular night market where you can pick up a bargain. Bicycles, motorcycles and small jeeps can be rented from shops around the Hua Hin Bazaar, near the Centara Hotel entrance. Unless you have extensive experience dodging kids, bicycles, scooters and the occasional cow, be very careful when driving yourself.
The white sand goes for miles from the Centara Grand at the end of Damnoenkasem Rd. At the main beach there are umbrellas for lounging and vendors will satisfy your needs for drinks and snacks, and even pony rides, jet skis and a Thai traditional massage. Many beach front hotels have concessions for wind surfing and sailing needs and power boats can be hired. Walks down the beach will take you to temples and fishing villages.
Though the beaches and swimming pools are always beckoning, the Hua Hin area also has shopping, temples, waterfalls, caves, quaint neighborhoods and historical sites that will create memories for all members of the family. A leisurely drive though the countryside, where one can see rice paddies and pineapple plantations, children playing in the canals, and the beautiful scenery of Prachuapkirikhan and Petchburi provinces is also a must.
Kaeng Krachan National Park extends along the Burmese border from Petchburi Province north of Hua Hin. To the south, Thailand’s first marine national park, Khao Sam Roi Yot, is only about 35 km away. A bit further away, in Kanchanaburi Province, there are five more national parks, Erawan, Sai Yoke, Sri Nakarin, Khao Laem, and Chalerm Rattanakosin.
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