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HOME OF THE THAI ROYAL FAMILY, THIS PEACEFUL RESORT IS THREE HOURS FROM BANGKOK


I HUA HIN


t’s the quietest of Thailand’s major resorts and no internal flight is necessary – making it handy for young families or those on short stopovers. Visitors arrive by road or rail and among them are weekending Bangkok residents. Despite their low-key status, the twin resorts of Hua Hin and Cha Am have two major draws: it’s one of the top golfing destinations in Thailand, with eight publicly accessible courses, and it also well-known as being a world-class spa destination, with luxury resorts aplenty.


Cha Am is quieter than its neighbour. It boasts Thailand’s longest stretch of beach and calm water, though Hua Hin has the finer sand. Both offer watersports activities while at outlying Takiab Bay there are seaside horse rides.


THAILAND


Hua Hin has one of Thailand’s best night markets, particularly known for its food including Hoi Thod – Thai style mussels, Indian roti bread and coconut ice cream. Meanwhile, Cha Am is famed for its seafood. Visitors can head to Ruamjit Road, parallel to the resort’s beach, for a huge array of restaurants and there’s plenty of opportunities to try barbecued shrimp on the beach. It may be difficult to pronounce, but Maruekhathaiyawan, the second of Hua Hin’s royal palaces, is a key sight. It was built as a summer residence in 1923 using golden teakwood. The current King and Queen mainly reside at Klaikangwon Palace.


23 HOTEL ADDITIONS GET INVOLVED


• Take in the view from Khao Hin Lek Fai or Khao Takiap hill – a monkey hangout topped by a temple


• In summer, catch the Hua Hin jazz


festival and Anantara’s charity elephant polo tournament


• Shop for quality contemporary arts and crafts at Cicada Market – Friday, Saturdays and Sundays – at Khao Takiab


• Spot plentiful birdlife and hike to the 11-tiered waterfall in Kaengkrajan national park


• Arrive in Hua Hin at the pretty, old


railway station, which has a fancy royal waiting room


• Visit the Hua Hin Hills vineyard


Chiva Som The famous luxury spa resort has added new treatments covering physiotherapy and bone density, hot-cupping and facial acupressure plus exercise classes to improve spine longevity. chivasom.com


The Evason Hua Hin Evason Hua Hin has returned to its original configuration of 185 guestrooms and villas and will separate from the adjoining 55 pool villas, originally developed as a Hideaway. The Earth Spa will become part of the Evason. sixsenses.com/evason-resorts


HOTELS UPCOMING


Radisson Blu Hua Hin First planned for 2012, this development has been rescheduled to open in 2015, promising rooms with direct pool and beach access and private plunge pools. radissonblu.com


HOTELS BOUTIQUE PICK


Hotel de la Paix This Cha Am hotel’s dramatic linear architecture by Thai talent Duangrit Bunnag is sleek and modern. Great for tech-addict guests, rooms have a flatscreen TVs, Apple TV with music and films, DVD player and iPods. There’s also a library with books, DVDs and board games. hoteldelapaixhh.com


Putahracha A stylish and quirky take on 1960s motel architecture in Hua Hin’s old town, the clean white lines of this property evoke Balearic glamour and attract a trendy crowd. The oceanside restaurant specialises in seafood, Thai and Mediterranean. putahracsa.com


Aleenta Hua Hin A small collection of white and wooden villas surround a quirky teacup infinity pool. Most rooms have private plunge pools. aleenta.com


SI lEnCE IS GolDEn If peace is a priority, book Hua Hin and Cha Am on weekdays to avoid the Bangkok exodus


& Cha Am combines will with... Bangkok and Kanchanaburi


Hua Hin


CHA AM


HoT SpoTS: HUA HIN & CHA AM


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