Owned by the founder of Thailand’s Red Bull empire, Hua Hin Hills boasts 560 acres of vineyards in a stunning setting some 40 kilometres west of Hua Hin. An upscale restaurant and tasting area overlook elephants being led through the vines, straw-hatted workers picking grapes and a golden chedi glistening in the surrounding mountains.
Varietals include Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Tempranillo, though the actual wine for the Monsoon Valley brand is made in an industrial factory up in Samut Sakhon province. Visitors are welcome to do some tasting and the wine is better than the service. The vast majority of grapes grown here are actually shipped north to make Spy, a sweet wine cooler popular among younger Thais. Only a small percentage of the grapes go into wine.
That’s not to say the wine isn’t worth a taste. We thoroughly enjoyed a less expensive glass of Shiraz paired with a roasted duck salad and grape ice cream for dessert. Fresh grape juice is also available, and the restaurant does a fair job on a menu that blends Thai, Californian and other Western tastes. The best part of dining here, by far, is the view from your table.
For 300 baht, visitors can spend 15 minutes riding an elephant through the vineyards, an activity offered nowhere else but here (or so they claim). Packages that go for 1,700 to 2,400 baht get you a two-hour tour by jeep or elephant, several wine pairings, a souvenir and transport to and from Hua Hin. We were happy with an hour of dining and tasting as a detour on the way to Pala-U waterfall, which is another 30 kilometres down the road.
From Phetkasem Road, take Chomsin Road (Hua Hin Soi 70) west and bear right at the crossroads towards Pala-U and continue on for several km. Continue straight at the traffic circle towards Huay Mongkhol. Take a left in the village of Nan Nong Phlap, following signs to Hua Hin Hills. From there it’s another 10 km along a fairly rugged road, so you’ll want to take it slow around the corners. Signs are clearly marked along the way. Alternately, a shuttle runs from in front of Khomapastr Silk Shop in the Villa Market shopping plaza (near Hua Hin Soi 84) at 10:00 and 15:30.
Address: Moo 9, Baan Khork Chang Patana, Nong Plup, Hua Hin
T: (081) 701 0222;
Coordinates (for GPS): 99º42'35.32" E, 12º31'40.77" N
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David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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