29th December, 2017
We have visited Thailand many times.
The 1st time was when Andrew and I were 19. It was 2001 and our second overseas holiday together, but the first time either of us had visited South East Asia.
Initially, we were a little shocked. We were young and naive and hadn’t really considered the poverty factor. It took us a few days to settle in and to work it all out, but by about day 3, we had fallen in love with Thailand.
We have since been back 8 times. For our honeymoon. With the kids. With friends. Every time is similar, but better than the last. We feel safe here.
The first few times we visited, we’d head to Phuket – staying from Patong, right down to Kata Noi and everywhere in between. We would then stop off via Bangkok for some shopping on our way back to Melbourne.
Last year however, we stayed in Karon for a week or so, then headed to Khao Lak. We LOVED Khao Lak. (You can read all about that here…)
So, when it was time for us to leave Cambodia at the beginning of December, although we had no plans to visit Thailand, we decided to come back and stay for Christmas and New Year. We flew into Bangkok, where we stayed for a few days at the Ibis Riverside. It was a brilliant hotel, right on the river, just gorgeous. They had a shuttle service to the sky train station every hour or so which we made good use of. We spent some time at our favourite MBK Centre in the city, getting some Christmas shopping done. We also went to the movies to see Wonder – such a lovely movie for kids!
A few days later we hired a driver and headed 2 hours south to Hua Hin.
Once again, I had booked the Family Room at the Ibis Hua Hin. We knew what we were getting, so it was a no brainer.
The hotel was great and had all we needed. Good size rooms, kids bunks and great breakfast. One downfall was the pool. It never saw the sun…ever.
Beside the Ibis was a little lane way straight to the beach. Perfect for our morning walks.
Less than 5 minutes down the road was Cicada Market which is on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night from 4pm. We LOVED Cicada – the food is fresh and delicious and the mango smoothies are to die for! Lots of cute little market stalls too with high quality goods and handcrafts.
BluPort and Market Village shopping centres were also close by, in the opposite direction to Cicada. These two shopping centres were great with lots of places to dine or grab a quick snack. Supermarkets and lots of chain stores.
The Christmas decorations were out in full force. It was so lovely for us all to enjoy and help us to get into the spirit. The kids loved it!
Hua Hin runs a bus service which drives up and down the main street all day. The locals call it a bus, but it is more like an oversized tuk-tuk. It is bright green and you can’t miss is. 10 baht per person, and you just jump on and pay when you hop off. Very easy and much cheaper than taxis or tuk’s.
The Grand Night Market was also good and we found a great restaurant in there called Dar. The chef – Selina is super cute and cooks up delicious food in front of the diners. The kids loved it when she invited them into the kitchen for a photo!
Andrew had read that the Hua Hin Train Station was beautiful and worth the visit, so one afternoon we walked the 7km round trip to check it out. Glad we did. It was gorgeous. There were no trains coming through for hours so the tracks were flooded with locals and tourists posing for photos. Lots of dogs hanging around too, so Lily was happy!
Another fun day out we enjoyed was at the Vana Nava Water Jungle
Just think: crazy water slides, wave pool, lazy river, infinity pool, huge man-made waterfall, high rope course, rock climbing, kids zone and heaps more! It was a full on day. We arrived just after opening at 10.30am, and stayed until the park closed at 6pm. It was awesome!!!
You can check out the YouTube video here if you like.
Hua Hin to us, is like a slightly larger, more up-with-the-times Khao Lak. It seems to be quieter than other places we’ve visited in Thailand. I am not sure if this is always, or just at this time of year, but we weren’t complaining.
We made the most of having 10 days in the one spot and enjoyed a down day here and there. Catching up on school work before the kids finished for the year.
We really enjoyed Hua Hin and would definitely recommend it to families wanting the Thai experience, without the hustle and bustle of Phuket.
The convenience of it being so close to Bangkok won us over.
If you’re thinking of heading to Thailand – definitely do some research and check out Hua Hin.