Friday, March 4, 2016

3D2N Hua Hin Itinerary: Family-Friendly Version

My family came over to Thailand for Chinese New Year last month, and being the resident here, naturally I was tasked to plan a 3D2N trip to Hua Hin. However, transportation aside, there were challenges. We had 6 adults, 2 in their 60s, and 4 kids, 2 of them having just turned 1. Is it even possible to plan a trip that's suitable for all ages, not too boring yet not ambitious to the point of being unfeasible?

Well, the trip is over now, and we survived it with minimal hassle. I do not exactly know how much the older folks enjoyed it, but the little ones sure had a whale of a time. So if you are interested, here's exactly what we did during our 3D2N family-friendly Hua Hin getaway.


Day 1 

Morning set off/Lunch at Tha Rua Restaurant, Mahachai

So as to allow everyone to have their own comfortable time to get ready, we set off from Bangkok to Hua Hin at round about 11am. With recommendation from my friend Wendy, we stopped over at Mahachai, 1 hour drive away from Bangkok for a unique lunch at Tha Rua Restaurant, which overlooks a pier and is close to a seafood market.

Dish of the restaurant is this pomfret hotpot, where 1 uber-fresh pomfret is served in a peppery bak kut teh style hotpot.
Verdict: Not exactly worth it for the price (1,700THB per kg) but it serves as a unique pitstop for lunch along the way.

Fun has started for grandpa and grandchildren
We headed full speed ahead to our resort in Hua Hin (Amari Hua Hin), which took another 2.5hours after lunch.


Dinner at Alpaca Restaurant, Cha Am

Following a short rest at our resort, we took a 20km journey back towards Cha Am to have dinner at the spectacularly-executed Alpaca Restaurant.
Don't miss the Alpacas if you are here, they will be available for feeding in the evening till around 8pm

Our colourful indoor VIP room specially reserved for our family

Picture-perfect for one of my favourite pictures of the trip

Verdict: Definitely worth the experience. Food is decent and reasonably priced, decoration fantastic, with huge indoor and outdoor spaces and acoustic live music. The alpacas and a well-equipped indoor playground will keep any kid interested.


Cicada Night Market after dinner


The cousins enjoying their stroll in Cicada Night Market
If there is one place I would like to visit every single time in Hua Hin, it will undoubtedly be Cicada Night Market. It's a well-organised arty market with areas for buskers and artists to express their talents, as well as clearly-segregated food and product zones. I don't recommend the food zone even if it might provide a decent variety of (overpriced) Thai favourites, but the products sold here are really worth a look, as they are mostly chic and creative, similar to up-class night markets in Bangkok like Art Box and the various winter markets that pop up during the cool season.

Note: It's only open from Friday to Sunday.


Day 2


After hotel breakfast, set off to Mrigadayavan: Palace of Love and Hope

Simple and elegant looking Summer Palace

More simply known as the King Rama VI Summer Palace, the place really didn't look like much initially, just a simple elevated big bungalow built by the beach. It is only after taking the tour upstairs (where we could not wear shoes, take pictures nor make noise) that we understood why this Palace remains a popular destination for visitors. Life of royalty in that era (1910s-20s) was basic yet classy and elegant. With the cool sea breeze blowing at us every minute, no wonder the royal family loved spending their time here during the blistering summer months.

Dad as happy as a King
Verdict: It's a distance of around 20km from Hua Hin, close to where Alpaca Restaurant is. If you like a peaceful stroll by the sea and take in a bit of Thai culture at the same time, you might want to make the trip. Please take note of your attire if you plan to visit. Long pants and modest shirts with sleeves are a must.


Lunch at Wilaiwan Bakery

This quaint bungalow houses Wilaiwan Bakery

I am glad we got to know about Wilaiwan Bakery. It represents so much of what Thais are good at - creating picturesque ambience and unforgettable desserts.

I couldn't take my eyes off this cake display.
No one does coconut cake better than the Thais. Try their orange sponge and banoffee cake too!
The latest generation of Yiis!

Verdict: Just a stone's throw from Khao Takiab, Wilaiwan Bakery is a must if you just want to relax an afternoon away. Food is good and desserts are excellent. Enough toys to keep kids occupied too.

After lunch: Enjoy hotel facilities/beach

I wish we had more time to enjoy our nice resort. We only spent a few hours chilling there after lunch on our 2nd day. I do recommend you to book a nice resort and spend some time there just doing much about nothing your family, as any adventure to Hua Hin involves an insane amount of traveling. 

Pony at the beach
A note about the beach along Khao Takiab stretch though. You have to choose the right time for your beach activities. We went at around 4pm, during high tide, when the waves were strong and there was hardly any dry sand left for the kids to play. 

Dinner at Jitthra Seafood

Definitely a hidden seafood haunt that only locals know about.

Literally carved into rock!
Dark and elusive, this little restaurant did not inspire much confidence on first impression. Everything changed when the food started arriving.

One of the freshest cleanest cockles you will ever see.
The best steamed blue swimmer crab I have eaten, only 750THB per kilo!!
Verdict: Freshest seafood at surprisingly-reasonable prices. Don't ask me how to get here though.

After Dinner: Hua Hin Night Market

No pictures to show, because it's the most forgettable part of the trip. No harm visiting if this is your first time in Thailand. A little like Ladies' Street in Hong Kong.


Day 3

Check out followed by lunch at Monsoon Valley Vineyard before heading back to Bangkok

An hour's drive away from Hua Hin, this Vineyard gives an opportunity to immerse yourself in a totally different environment. When we arrived, we had to brave the howling winds at the restaurant and low temperatures of around 20degC.

The view in a nutshell

Take a romantic walk under the grapevines with your loved one

Grapes!

According to my brother, the best pork chop he has ever eaten
Verdict: Some don't even believe there are vineyards in Thailand, so if you want to experience an unexpected side of this amazing country, please mark this down in your schedule. Make a reservation if you plan to dine at the restaurant. It can get really packed.

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So there you go, my tried-and-tested 3D2N Hua Hin Itinerary for all ages. It lacks a bit of excitement, but with so many in tow, perhaps the less excitement, the better?

PS. This trip was only made possible after days of extensive research and more importantly, input from some dear friends, including Li Lian, Cons, Wendy, Wilbur from Aroimakmak.com, and the folks from Two Madames (undoubtedly the biggest family blog in Thailand).

PSS. For more pictures of my trips to Hua Hin, please follow my IG account and search under #strangerinhuahin.



5 comments:

  1. Hi, your page on hua hin is very useful to me! i'm going to hua hin in 2 weeks time, would like to know how did you travel around to the various spots in huahin? did you book a taxi for the whole trip or you simply take them point by point, or you rented a car? appreciate your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Chewto

      Thank you for your message. I have my own big car so it is not an issue for me. Usually for trips like this you either drive yourself if you are in a small group and are confident of your driving skills, or rent a minibus/taxi with a driver who follows you through all the days.

      Delete
  2. Will it be safe to rent a car and drive up ourselves? it looks interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Wee Lee

      I think if you are an experienced driver and brave enough to get through the little bit of Bangkok traffic as you leave Bangkok, it is a breeze to drive outside Bangkok.

      If you are not an experienced driver, I don't recommend you to start driving in Thailand.

      Eddie

      Delete
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