Thailand Travel Guide

Exploring Ko Samui: the East Coast and Minor Sights



Hua Hin

Posted By : chauthihoaithuong/ 4 0

Hua Hin was Thailand’s first beach resort. Its rail connection to Bangkok, completed in 1911, was key to its success, making the 118­mile (190­km) journey from Bangkok a manageable seaside excursion. A nine­hole golf course and the splendid colonial style Railway Hotel were built in 1922 and 1923.

Following the international trend for recuperative spa resorts at the time, Hua Hin became a popular retreat for minor Thai royalty, Bangkok’s high society, and affluent foreigners. Prince Chulachakra bongse built a summer palace in the town which he called Klai Klangwon (meaning “far from worries”) in 1926. It is still used by the royal family and is not open to the public. Hua Hin’s fortunes declined after World War II, but its historical connections have helped it become popular again with a new generation of Bangkokians. Hua Hin is also a hit with international retirees, who are catered for by new holiday homes and condominiums. There has also been a marked rise in boutique resorts, spas, and restaurants.

For an insight into the Hua Hin of the 1920s, visit the Railway Hotel, now called the Sofitel Centara Grand Resort & Villas. By the 1960s it had fallen into disrepair, but a sensitive restoration of the elegant 1920s decor, museum tearoom, and topia ries won it an Outstanding Conservation Award from the Architects’ Association of Thailand in 1993. Before its refurbishment the hotel and its environs were used in the making of the film The Killing Fields, where it stood in for the Phnom Penh Hotel. South of Hua Hin’s main beach lies Khao Takiap (or “chopstick hill”), which is covered with miniature chedis and shrines. Nearby stands Wat Khao Lad, fronted by an impressive 66­ft (20­m) standing Buddha, which faces the sea

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