Hua Hin is a great beach town getaway in Thailand; not as frenetic and hedonistic as Pattaya, but still charming and enjoyable with plenty to see and do, and arguably a much more authentic destination for a nice, laid back holiday. Around 200km south of Bangkok, it takes about 3 hours to get there by taxi and it sits opposite the notably more raucous city of Pattaya, with its beach facing east out into the Gulf of Thailand. It is a great value destination, but still has vast choices of accommodation, restaurants and enough nightlife for most, even if a little more sedate than somewhere such as Patong in Phuket or Chaweng in Samui.
Hua Hin is popular with Thais for a weekend getaway, and historically popular with the Thai royal family, being home to their summer palace known as “Klaikangwon Palace”, meaning “far from worries”. You’ll be pleased to hear that Hua Hin isn’t thronged with package tourists, backpackers or huge Chinese tour groups, but still offers a vast amount for the seasoned traveller, and gives a more authentic and relaxing experience than the traditional tourist hotspots in the country.
Hua Hin is home to a stunning 5km long white sand beach, which never gets too packed allowing you to relax in peace, unlike some of Thailand’s more popular beaches. And once you’re done topping up your tan, you’ll find that there is a huge amount to see and do in and around the city itself. There are many stunning temples, caves and waterfalls, plus numerous local markets where you can pick up some real bargains to take back home with you. Plus, with Hua Hin being decidedly off the radar for most package holiday tourists, you will find that accommodation and other costs are more agreeable, meaning fewer trips to the ATM.
In short, Hua Hin is a fantastic destination for a Thai holiday, offering something for almost everyone but without the conspicuous red-light areas, the hordes of tourists or the constant thump thump thump of nightclub loudspeakers.
Here below we take a look at how to get from Bangkok to Hua Hin, the different methods of transport available as well as the best departure points, departure times, fares, booking information and travel tips.
Bangkok to Hua Hin by Bus
It’s possible to get buses to Hua Hin from several places in the capital, including the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai), the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit), Khao San Road, as well as from the airport (Suvarnabhumi International Airport). Buses leave fairly regularly and are very good value.
From Suvarnabhumi, there is a non-stop coach which takes roughly three and a half hours (depending on the notorious Bangkok traffic), with tickets costing around 305 baht ($9.60) per person one way. These coaches are very modern and comfortable, with a toilet on-board, and depart every two hours between 07:30 and 19:30. Even if you are in central Bangkok, you can now easily get to the airport via the rail link which departs from Phaya Thai BTS station, taking around 45 minutes and costing only 45 baht ($1.50), which is probably the best option for most travellers. Coach tickets can be booked at the counter located on level 1, gate 8 inside the airport.
Public buses run from the Southern Bus Terminal every 20-30 minutes and take around 3 hours, between 04:00 and 22:20. Buses from the Northern Bus Terminal are less frequent. Bear in mind that if you want to take a public bus you will have to take a taxi to the bus terminal and could be waiting around for a while, negating much of the benefit of cheaper ticket prices which go for around 200 baht ($6.65) per person.
Bangkok to Hua Hin by Minivan
There are many minivan options to Hua Hin from Bangkok, with several different operators. These tour operators will depart from their respective travel agency but may be able to pick you up from outside your hotel in most cases. One-way tickets to Hua Hin cost between 200 and 500 baht ($6.65-16) per person. You can book your ticket either through your hotel if it has a booking desk, at the nearest travel agency, or online through www.12go.asia.
Minibus from Southern Bus Terminal
From the Southern Bus Terminal, Win Poo Yai Piak operates minivans four times a day between 06:10 and 14:00 for a cost of 230 baht ($7.25), taking about 4 hours.
Minibus from Northern Bus Terminal
From the Northern Bus Terminal, JKP Morchit operate clean and comfortable minibuses four times per day for around 230 baht ($7.25) per person, taking about 4 hours. Note that the Mo Chit van terminal is across the main road from the bus terminal.
Minibus from Khao San Road
From Khao San Road, Mama Travel & Tour operate 3 minivans per day (09:30, 12:30 and 15:30), costing 400 baht ($12.60) and taking around three and a half hours.
Bangkok to Hua Hin by Train
The trains to Hua Hin run from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong train station, which conveniently has its own MRT station. The second class only train departs at 13:00, taking around 4 and a half hours and costs around 400 baht ($12.60) per person. Thai trains are usually old and a little run-down but with the train you will have access to a toilet/washroom, there will be food and drink vendors on-board, plus it offers a great way to see some of the Thai scenery on the way. It’s well worth buying some water and snacks before boarding the train because the choices will be very limited, and also bear in mind that Thai trains rarely run on time.
Bangkok to Hua Hin by Taxi
A private taxi undoubtedly offers the quickest and most convenient way to get to your hotel in Hua Hin. A taxi will take you door to door, and will stop anywhere along the way if you need to (there are plenty of places to stop along the way for refreshments or a toilet break, including a few McDonald’s and about half a dozen KFCs). This convenience comes at a cost, however, with the journey costing around 1900 baht ($60). If there are 3-4 travellers, this suddenly becomes good value and is worth considering for the convenience alone, plus on a good day you can arrive at your hotel in under 3 hours.
If you are travelling alone, public transport will undoubtedly give you the best value. However, in a small group, taxis are a much better option if you split the cost. Bear in mind that many buses or minivans will drop you at the clock tower in Hua Hin, so you’ll need to get another taxi or tuk-tuk to your hotel, adding to the cost, although the minivan driver may be willing to take you onwards to your hotel after dropping the other passengers for a small fee. Hua Hin train station is fairly central, so if you don’t have much luggage you may be able to walk to your hotel, remember to keep your phone topped up so you have access to Google Maps.
Another important thing to consider is your luggage. Travelling with a lot of luggage will only make your life difficult if you are travelling during your time in Thailand. Especially with the minivans, they do not have a huge amount of luggage space and if you have a lot of luggage you may be charged an additional small fee if the vehicle is full, or possibly you may be refused and asked to take the next van. Realistically, you do not need to bring much luggage with you to Thailand as anything you may need can be purchased here anyway.