Photo: So much great food to eat in Hua Hin.

Wat Khao Takiab

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The 270-metre-high Khao Takiab, or “Chopsticks Hill”, marks the southern end of Hua Hin beach in dramatic fashion. Visitors who approach from the sand are greeted by a massive standing Buddha that looks out over the sea from a sheer rock cliff. A winding stairway continues up the hill to unveil striking views and a breezy temple named after the hill itself. Just watch out for the macaques!

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Ready for some stairs?

Ready for some stairs?

Those entering the complex from the beach will first need to huff it up a flight of steep concrete stairs, passing a couple of restaurants and quirky religious statues en route to an initial lookout. Here you’ll find a neglected Buddhist shrine along with a parking area for old military vehicles. It might not sound like much, but a first glimpse of the sea framed by red-flowering trees is a breathtaking hint of what’s to come.

See, Hua Hin can be beautiful.

See, Hua Hin can be beautiful.

A dirt road connects this initial viewpoint to the main temple area, which is more often reached by a sealed road that winds up the hill from the end of the main Khao Takiab Road down below. Look for a side path on the right about halfway down the dirt road (if heading south) and you’ll be treated to a little-known stone perch with views of a fishing village and coastline. Just beyond that is the actual temple, beginning with the usual souvenir and drink stalls.

Looking towards Pranburi.

Looking towards Pranburi …

Flanked by colourful naga serpant guardians, another steep stairway takes you up to a chedi-topped shrine room where a monk is usually waiting to splash holy water on visitors. Most Thais bring along incense, candles and flowers (available down below for a donation) and offer them to the resident Buddha image. Prayer bells can be rung for good luck on the outer platform, though most are distracted by the view.

... And back over Hua HIn.

… And back over Hua HIn.

After descending the stairs, wander to the back section of the temple where hordes of macaques await their next meal of bananas sold by on-site vendors. Dozens if not hundreds of the not-so-shy monkeys hang around a Chinese shrine and statues of dinosaurs and Hindu gods. Expect to be at the centre of a frenzy if you opt to buy the bananas, and hang on to your valuables as digital cameras and handbags are sometimes snatched by the scavenging primates.

Grab a seat and relax.

Grab a seat and relax.

Stroll down the sealed road and you’ll end up at the fishing village that you might have already seen from above if you came from the beach. Bright blue-and-red wooden boats bob in a tangle of nets, ropes and buoys along the canal, and a cluster of restaurants grill up some of the freshest seafood in Hua Hin. Heading back to the main road, a 10-minute stroll back north will take you past the gates to Wat Khao Krai Lad, another hilltop temple with an old ordination hall at its peak.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hua Hin.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Hua Hin.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Hua Hin.
 Read up on how to get to Hua Hin, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Hua Hin? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Hua Hin? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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