Things to do in Hua Hin
3 hours away from the bright pink cabs and congested BTS stations of Bangkok, is a coastal town called Hua Hin. It is the locals’ refuge from their hectic capital, and the answer for beach bums who’ve already seen it all.
We’ll go out on a limb here and say that Hua Hin fits the Singaporean palate perfectly. It’s got a one-of-a-kind night market that serves street food on ceramic plates, and countryside views to trap Studio Ghibli fans in sweet delusion.
Here’s how we spent our trip:
This article is part of The $100 Nomad series, where we explore 10 cities for Singaporeans who are time-strapped and on a budget. These 3D2N itineraries cover lodging, meals and activities but do not include flights and transportation.
1. Cicada Night Market – for affordable street food
While most Thai markets are birthed from a big bang of elephant pants and rainbow desserts, Cicada is an original, and makes sure you know that with its Pinterest aesthetic and old-school coupon kiosks selling food vouchers.
A shop selling vintage cameras for collectors and photography enthusiasts.
A pastry chef making fresh pineapple biscuits on the spot.
The market’s variety makes it more of a hangout than a grab-and-go affair. Its retail is curated with the precision of Ezbuy’s trending tab, and the F&B selection feels like a colossal hotel buffet with both oriental and international picks. Eating street food with proper utensils at a well-furnished dining area is a luxury I never even knew I wanted, as are these life-changing Takoyaki balls that have a reversed ratio of octopus and batter.
2. Inu Cafe – shiba inu dog cafe
This family-run hideout is fashioned out of the owner’s mansion, and sits inconspicuously in a private estate along Naeb Kehardt Road. We visited 6-7 Shiba Inus that evening, and they were all distinguished by their bandanas On top of the treats we purchased, we were also equipped with a lowdown of their personalities by the owner himself, so that we may win their friendship.
The food isn’t what we came for, though it may be helpful to note that most dishes cost less than 200 baht. They taste average at best, but that’s expected at an animal cafe.
3. Phraya Nakhon Cave – massive cave with Indiana Jones vibes
The Phraya Nakhon Cave is a 10-minute boat ride from Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, home to hiking routes, walking trails and beaches. Legend on the interweb has it that if you arrive at exactly 10AM, you will be a privileged witness of the morning’s sun rays filtering into the cave and onto the pavillion.
Alas, we missed the golden hour, and were drenched in perspiration by the time we arrived. Even then, the Indiana Jones-esque site was beautiful and silent, and the cave is so massive it’s got vegetation growing in it.
4. Seenspace – hip OOTD-worthy mall with numerous food options
Google will tell you Seenspace is a beachfront lifestyle mall, but Instagram will beg to differ. Locals apparently visit this Insta-wonderland to spot celebrities, while tourists flock here for the photo ops.
In tandem with the stuff of your Explore feed, the backdrop here ranges from industrial to pastel. Once you set foot in this place, you’ll see people posing at every turn and corner, sometimes to the displeasure of their DSLR-bearing boyfriends.
Even for someone who isn’t in the business of OOTDs, I thoroughly enjoyed Seenspace. The sheer variety of dining options meant we could cafe-hop just by strolling about the compound and for the food quality you’re getting, it’s incredibly affordable too.
5. Petchaburi Salt Farm – tranquil countryside spot for reflectiongram shots
If you have a knack for imagining, the Petchaburi salt pans can sweep you off your feet and onto the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, or into the iconic train scene in Spirited Away.
If we hadn’t visited during the lull monsoon season when farmers are off to the city to find work, we would’ve caught them lurched over their backs and slogging before daybreak. Instead, we ended up chatting with the villagers, who were a really warm bunch, and struggling to decline the bagfulls of salt they earnestly offered us at no cost.
Disclaimer: there are no legit activities nor tourist amenities here. Come for the good vibes, the countryside and a spectacle you’d be sorry to miss.
6. Plearnwan Village – retro-themed market with cutesy shops
Plearnwan is a double-story wooden building decorated with retro candy dispensers, game machines and art deco sign boards for a nostalgic throwback to 1950s Thailand. It is packed with shops selling clothes and childhood trinkets and toys, where you can probably find non-tacky souvenirs to bring home.
Apart from the old-school push carts scattered around the compound, there are several artsy cafes that each have a different vibe. We were spoilt for choice but eventually decided on Plearnwan Panich, who knows how to catch the eyes and win the hearts of every IG-savvy millennial – with a combination of pastel, marble and grid.
Our cold brew even arrived in a tiny medicine bottle on enamelware, and the dishes in kitschy tingkats. 10/10 for food presentation. The cafe was quite empty when we got there in the evening, begging the question if its food quality is as strong as its aesthetics game.
Eye Opener (60THB / ~S$2.52) – cold brew coffee with ginseng and honey
Spicy Fried Egg Salad With Crispy Fish (125THB / ~S$5) and Kai Pa Lo, which is stewed pork belly & egg with spices (125THB / ~S$5)
It eventually did. If you need a break from the usual Pad Thai or Tom Yum in Thailand, perhaps what would do the trick is a sweet, juicy slab of stewed pork, or an egg and fish salad in a sauce that tastes like the sambal chili in our Nasi Lemak. All that jazz for an average price of S$5. Get a load of that!
Hua Hin – a hidden gem to see Thailand in a new light
Hua Hin truly is the answer for jaded Singaporeans who have scanned the destination list of budget airlines from top to bottom, and then back up again. Beneath the surface that this guide scratched is a mix bag of affordable beach villas and other cosmopolitan attractions we didn’t manage to explore, so I’d recommend spending about 4-5 days here.
Watch our full adventure on Toggle here!
There are no direct flights here, but Klook made it super easy with their private charter, which took us from Bangkok to Hua Hin in less than 3 hours. In the following days, our friendly driver Mae helped us check off every last item on our itinerary. Even when it was an unidentifiable salt farm we saw on Google images, which turned out to be 1.5 hours away in Petchaburi.
If you find yourself planning a weekend getaway to Hua Hin after reading this article, hiring a private car/van from Klook means you can worry less about transportation and get more out of your limited time there.