Getting there and away
Despite receiving a seemingly pointless makeover in 2010, Hua Hin's airport sits largely neglected in the far north of town. Thai Lion Air's Hat Yai to Hua Hin route was the only one we found advertised by any carrier, though our searches on the airline's website revealed no flights available at all. At time of writing, the only way to fly to Hua Hin is by private jet.
Hua Hin's historic train station is located near the heart of town at the corner of Damnern Kasem and Liab Tang Rodfai roads.
It's a four- to five-hour trip from Bangkok's Hualamphong station due to a roundabout route that takes you north through Thonburi and west to Nakhon Pathom before finally cutting south. Trains depart at 08:05 and 09:20, then roughly every hour from 13:00 to 19:30, and again at 22:50.
Trains return to Bangkok roughly every hour from 00:45 to 6:30, and again at 14:10 and 16:00. Fares run from as low as 45 baht for a third-class ticket, up to 260 baht for first-class with air-con -- a fan-cooled second-class seat will be sufficient for most. Be sure to make your class preference clear when purchasing tickets.
If heading to Kanchanaburi, catch a Bangkok-bound train and change trains or transfer to a bus in Nakhon Pathom.
Hua Hin is also a key stop for the southbound trains from Bangkok to Chumphon, Surat Thani, Trang and Hat Yai, among others. Some schedule and fare info can be found at www.railway.co.th, though you're best off going to a train station in person for the most updated info.
Air-con buses run from Bangkok's Sai Tai Mai (Southern) terminal and depart roughly every 30 minutes. Many of these will drop passengers in front of the clock tower in the centre of Hua Hin before stopping at the main Hua Hin bus station in the far south of town. A convenient alternative is Hua Hin Pran Tour, which also departs from Sai Tai Mai but drops off and picks up from an office on Sa Song Road in the centre of town (just north of Soi 74).
From the Sa Song Road office, buses run to Sai Tai Mai station in Bangkok at 03:00, 08:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 21:00, cost 175 baht and take around three hours. Additional buses may be available in high season.
Hua Hin's main bus station is located in the far south of town at Soi 96/1 and mainly serves as a stop for buses heading from Bangkok to many southern points and back. Unless you're heading to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Sa Song Road is a more reliable place to catch regular buses to Bangkok.
Sample fares from the main Hua Hin bus station at Soi 96/1 include:
Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport): Departs at 07:00, 09:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00, and costs 305 baht. From the transport centre at Suvarnabhumi, buses depart for Hua Hin at 07:30, 09:30, 13:30, 16:30 and 18:30. The trip takes around 3.5 hours.
Chiang Mai: Air-con buses depart at 08:00 and 17:00, and cost 850 baht. An overnight VIP bus departs at 17:45, and costs 1,134 baht. Both options take around 13 hours and service other northern destinations like Phitsanulok and Lampang.
Krabi: First-class bus departs Hua Hin at 20:00, and costs 666 baht. VIP bus departs at 22:00, and costs 1,000 baht. Either bus takes around 9 hours.
Nakhon Ratchasima: Departs 10:00 and 21:00, costs 400 baht, and takes 7 hours.
Phuket: First-class buses depart at 08:00, 10:00, 13:00, 17:00, 18:00 and 24:00, and take 10 hours. These buses also service Ranong. VIP buses depart at 04:45 and 23:00, and cost 820 baht.
Surat Thani: Departs at 10:00 and 11:00, costs 531 baht, and takes 7 hours.
Ubon Ratchathani: VIP buses depart at 19:30, 22:30 and 01:30, cost 1,005 baht, and take 12 hours.
Many other southbound buses stop at the main Hua Hin bus station and carry on to destinations like Chumphon, Phang Nga, Trang, Songkhla and Hat Yai. You're best off going to the station a day early and inquiring about departure options.
In addition to the pick-up points mentioned below, local buses can be flagged down as they ply Phetkasem and Sa Song roads.
Pranburi: Orange buses depart every 30 minutes from 07:00 to 16:00 at the corner of Sa Song and Chomsin, cost 20 baht, and take under an hour. These also service Khao Tao beach for the same price.
Phetburi: Orange buses depart every 30 minutes from morning until early evening from in front of Chatchai market on Phetkasem road, cost 50 baht, and take 1.5 hours. These buses also service Cha-am for 30 baht.
Phrachuap Khiri Khan: Departs hourly between 07:00 and 01:00 from in front of the clock tower on Phetkasem Road, and takes over an hour.
Servicing most hotspots in southern Thailand, a full-size bus that's geared specifically to tourists departs daily at 22:30 from in front of Krungsri Bank on Phetkasem Road in the centre of Hua Hin, with tickets available from any travel agent. Ferries to islands will be included in the ticket price. Sample fares include:
Chumphon: Costs 900 baht and takes 5 hours.
Hat Yai: Costs 1,200 baht, takes 14 hours and requires a bus change.
Ko Lanta: Costs 1,350 baht and takes 14 hours.
Ko Lipe: Costs 1,950 baht and takes 17 hours.
Ko Pha Ngan: Costs 1,150 baht and takes 12.5 hours.
Ko Phi Phi: Costs 1,350 baht and takes 12 hours.
Ko Samui: Costs 1,050 baht and takes 11.5 hours.
Ko Tao: Costs 1,100 baht and takes 11 hours.
Ranong: Costs 1,100 baht and takes 9 hours.
Surat Thani: Costs 850 baht and takes 7 hours.
Trang: Costs 1,150 baht, takes 13 hours and requires a bus change.
Other tourist buses:
Krabi: Departs Hua Hin at 20:30, costs 1,350 and takes 9 hours (touted as a direct bus).
Phuket: Departs Hua Hin at 21:00, costs 1,100, and takes 9 hours (touted as a direct bus).
Note: Tickets all the way to Penang and Kuala Lumpur are also available, but we don't recommend cross-border bus tickets purchased from travel agents. On any tourist bus, be sure to keep valuables close at hand as theft can be a problem.
If you're heading to Ko Tao, Ko Pha Ngan or Ko Samui from Hua Hin, the combined Lomprayah bus and high-speed catamaran is a comfortable and reliable option. The bus picks up at 08:30 from the north side of Damnern Kasem, near the corner of Phetkasem, and tickets can be purchased at the Lomprayah office on Soi Kanchananomai, just off Soi Nares Damri. It costs 1,000 baht to Ko Tao; 1,300 to Ko Pha Ngan; 1,400 to Ko Samui.
Apart from private taxi, minibus (van) is the fastest way to travel between Hua Hin and Bangkok, and these are also available to a handful of other destinations as well. Minibuses tend to be cramped and you may need to purchase two tickets if your luggage doesn't fit on your lap.
In Bangkok, Hua Hin-bound minibuses depart hourly from 06:00 to 18:00 at a station next to Victory Monument BTS station. The cost in either direction is 180 baht. Minibuses to Hua Hin can also be caught in front of Morchit (Northern) bus terminal and Don Mueang Airport.
In Hua Hin, minibuses depart for Bangkok hourly between 06:00 and 18:00 (with exceptions) from several locations throughout town. These include:
- Just north of Soi 74 on Sa Song Road in the centre of town (same vicinity where Hua Hin Pran tour's Bangkok-bound regular buses depart from).
- In front of Chatchai market on Phetkasem near Soi 70.
- East side of Phetkasem between Sois 71 and 73 (convenient if you're staying on Soi 67).
- West side of Phetkasem between Sois 78 and 80 to the south of town.
The stop on Sa Song Road also offers minibuses to Cha-am (40 baht) and Phetburi (80 baht) departing hourly from 06:00 to 18:00, and Nakhon Pathom (180 baht) and Pattaya (400 baht) departing every two to three hours in the same timeframe. Minibuses to Pattaya are also available at some of the other minibus stops.
The stop between Sois 71 and 73 also has minibuses departing for Sam Roi Yot (60 baht) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (80 baht) at least every two hours from 08:00 to 18:00. Bangkok-bound minibuses from this stop run from 07:00 to 22:00 and also service Cha-am, Phetburi and Mae Khlong (Samut Songkhram).
Central Hua Hin is easy to cover on foot, though it's not always enjoyable due to the traffic on Phetkasem Road.
Quality Trek mountain bikes can be rented at a stand near the beach on Damnern Kasem Road for 200 baht per day. Bicycles can also be rented at a shop just south of Cicada night market on Khao Takiab Road in far southern Hua Hin for 100 baht per day. This road is great for bicycling thanks to a separated bicycle lane and relatively sparse traffic.
Motorbikes can be rented all over town for 300 baht per day, with discounts available for longer periods. Phetkasem is a very busy road and not the place to learn how to ride a motorbike for the first time.
White and green songthaews run continually from early morning until around 20:00 from Khao Takiab down to Klai Kangwon Palace on Phetkasem Road. They can be flagged down as they pass and the fare is only 10 baht per person for short trips. Songthaews are always waiting in key places like the clock tower and in front of Market Village shopping centre.
Four-wheeled tuk tuks (like the ones in Phuket) are always available throughout the city. Fares are very high compared to what you'll pay in Bangkok or Chiang Mai; expect a minimum of 100 baht for a short trip -- and that's if you haggle.
If you prefer a slower ride, Hua Hin also still has a small number of old-school samlors that can usually be found waiting in front of the train station.
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