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Stay At Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa And Savor The Local Flavors
October 06, 2010
HUA HIN, Thailand - This lovely old beach town is a cultural showcase for art, music – and tons of fresh seafood. Located a two-and-a-half hour, 220km drive south of Bangkok, Hua Hin hosts world-class spas and challenging golf courses, splendid national parks, an established fishing port and a lengthy beach amid its picturesque natural scenery.
A summer royal retreat since the 1920s, this beach town boasts style, history, and some impressive royal architecture. Among various places of historical interest, Maruekatayawan Palace is one of the oldest and most charming. Commissioned by the great moderniser King Rama VI in 1923, the raised-floor wooden palace has three sea-facing sections for consistent ocean views.
Another nearby must-see attraction likewise claims royal heritage, the Hua Hin Train Station is a national treasure. Its creation marked a historical turning point for Hua Hin, as the first in an eventual cluster of standout high-society residences. For shopping and entertaining, Cicada Market a flea market-cum-walking street is somewhere lovers of culture can appreciate – and perhaps bargain over – original local artworks at their leisure. Myriad other activities, from savoring good street food to catching a theatrical performance, await custom. Hua Hin’s old-fashioned charm keeps it humble but classy.
Visit Khao Wang
Locals refer to a notable hillock on the northern approach to Phetchaburi provincial capital “Khao Wang” – literally Palace Hill. This is because the mount supports royal Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace, constructed in 1860 in a mainly European style but including some Thai and Chinese architectural influences. Sitting on a trio of peaks, the temple of Wat Phra Khew lies eastwards, the main sputa of Phra That Chom Phet sits centrally, with the residential Grand Palace to the west. Both King Rama IV and his successor used the palace for entertaining visitors while at leisure. It eventually slipped into a sad state of decline until Thailand’s Fine Arts Department registered it as a national monument in 1935. The restored complex is now a national museum within a national park. Conveniently accessed by railway at just THB40 per round-trip, the museum has a THB30 entry fee for foreigners (THB10 for Thais).
This excellent half-day excursion takes a couple of hours to walk the path linking the three peaks for spectacular views. Siam Adventure Club provides information on most leisure activities in Hua Hin, including golf and sightseeing tours.
A Day Trip To Paradise: Koh Talu
Siam Adventure Club encourages all adventure tourists to visit the unspoiled island of Koh Talu, only two-and-a-half hours drive from Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa. Known as “hole island” after a notable cavity in its jutting headland that provides a spectacular backdrop to the underwater experience. The area is renowned for sparkling clear offshore waters and the abundant marine life teeming round extensive coral reef formations. This makes it one of Thailand’s most popular dive sites.
Prayanakorn Cave at Samroi Yot National Park
This memorable caving trip commences at Bang Poo Temple for those traveling on foot towards the cave. Most of the route is beneath foliage cover, creating a cooler temperature that is more conducive to walking. Guests travelling by boat pass the length of Laemsala Beach to the entrance of Prayanakorn Cave. From there, the going gets tough on stairs that ascend 500 metres to a raised lookout point offering panoramic views over the vicinity. It is a superb site for photographs at most times though arriving at 12:00-13:00 hours frames snapshots with particularly photogenic afternoon sunlight. Kuhakaruhad teak reception pavilion bears testament to a bygone royal visit from King Rama V in 1890.
Nature lovers should consider continuing onwards to Thailand’s largest freshwater marshland, Thung Sam Soi Yot. The wetland teems with abundant indigenous flora and fauna, including blooming lotuses, myriad birds, and various species of amphibians, reptiles and small mammal. The World Conservation Union has recognized this fragile habitat as a preservation site. Thung Sam Roi Yot’s has an inestimable ecological value, reaffirmed when it was designated Thailand's eleventh Ramsar sustainable conservation site (under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance).
Tour Offshore Islands by Boat
Ao Sam Roi Yot beach is a launch-point for its numerous, variously sized offshore Islands. Start from Phu Noi beach and head for Kaw Sam Roi Yot Nature reservation. Taking a boat out to circumnavigate the scenic island chain offers one stunningly beautiful photograph opportunity after another – especially during tranquil and romantic sunrises and sunsets.
Sample a true slice of traditional Thai rural life by joining local fishermen on one of their after-dark squid-fishing trips. With a bit of good luck, you will return with not only a decent catch – but also one or two tall fisherman’s tales in your after-dinner repartee.
Hua Hin’s fishermen provide its restaurants (and those in neighboring Cha-Am and Pranburi) with a constant supply of fresh seafood. Naturally, tasty traditional Thai food is served everywhere, including food stalls lining the beachfront and at the well-known night market. Hua Hin’s restaurants include fine specialty international cuisine in addition to typical Thai and Western light meals. After the sun goes down, numerous bars and pubs come to life, some playing live music. In addition, all of the hotels have bars and lobby lounges, many featuring live entertainment. Whichever venue you decide to try in Hua Hin, an exciting culinary feast awaits your taste buds.
The Night Bazaar: Petchkasem Road passes numerous indoor and alfresco seafood restaurants hoarding an enormous edible haul, often comprising of seafood and steaks offered at reasonable prices. The venues listed below offer both impressive menus and vibrant dining atmospheres. Of particular note, Bird Chilli, Hua Hin Seafood, Road Fai and Khaimuk, are within close proximity of each other – and are highly recommended.
Moon Terrace: One of a series of seafood restaurants located on the Beach Road, Moon Terrace is slightly more formal than its neighboring eateries. Its fare is the result of the restaurant’s distinctive, modern approach while wicker chairs and ceilings fans create a civilized atmosphere to complement diners’ feasts.
White Lotus: Voted one of the country’s best Chinese restaurants by Thailand Tatler Magazine, White Lotus’ indoors and outdoors seating provide commanding views over the Gulf of Thailand from its 17th-floor vantage point. The elegant contemporary restaurant serves modern Cantonese and Szechuan dishes. The signature Peking Duck and special set menus are firm favourites with visitors. The extensive wine list matches vino with cuisine to help diners make recommended selections. Fragrant Chinese and herbal fusion teas are also available.
Markong Restaurant: This charming fusion restaurant by Market Village Shopping Mall has an authentic menu of traditional regional classics, including old-fashioned Thai treats and Vietnamese beef wrapped in local herbs and served in banana leaves.
O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Restaurant: Proudly boasting the best selection of draught beer in Hua Hin, this friendly joint dishes up decent pub pickings, too. Elaborate Thai dishes are absent from a menu stocked with hearty European fare – and traditional British Sunday lunches of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and al the trimmings.
Eighteen Below Ice Cream: This gem set in a chilled-out garden is a great stop for sweet-toothed guests. The owner trained at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu school of gastronomy, explaining the praise this place gets regularly. Delectable house ice creams and sorbets are lovingly handmade to order, besides freshly baked cakes and other sweet things on the dessert menu. Visitors can access free wireless internet here at 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily (except Wednesdays).
Lotus Sky Bar: Sunset cocktails, the city skyline and a soundtrack of chilled-out beats define Lotus Skybar, a recent addition to Hua Hin’s social scene. Drink in a breathtaking 360° beachfront panorama of the Gulf of Siam, while sipping a selection from the wide in-house range of exotic cocktails.
Hua Hin Brewing Company: Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa’s stylish signature bar and goodtime venue offers the town’s widest range of freshly poured beers – accompanied by international sports in the Beer House Sports Bar. Hua Hin Brewing Company also dishes up fine cuts of steak, pub favourites, like burgers and barbequed skewers and the pub’s famed pork knuckles. By night, the lively house band performs a range of international music and guest DJs also spin the latest nightclub beats. All this makes the Hua Hin Brewing Company the place to be for an evening of quality entertainment. This vibrant venue is popular with locals, making it a great venue for tourists to experience the real Hua Hin.
Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa offers conference and catering facilities to suit occasions of all sizes and corporate identities. Hua Hin’s stunningly beautiful and expansive historical site or beachfront became more and more popular venue backdrops among Thai and Foreign corporate. Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa has a ballroom that can host up to 600 delegates.
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