Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET HUA HIN -

Thai­land’s big four al­ways hog the spot­light – Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Sa­mui and Chi­ang Mai – but just two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Bangkok lies a land of fam­i­lyfriendly re­sorts, golf cour­ses, well­ness re­treats and wa­ter parks in the orig­i­nal Thai re­sort des­ti­na­tion, Hua Hin.

As well as be­ing the lo­ca­tion of the late King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej (Rama IX)’s sum­mer palace, Klai Kang­won, the best thing about Hua Hin is that it’s “not too touristy and not too com­mer­cialised”, says Mae­vadi Rosen­feldt from the Tourism Authority of Thai­land. “Hua Hin has ev­ery­thing for ev­ery­one,” she says. “It’s a per­fect beach des­ti­na­tion for fam­i­lies with kids, cou­ples, solo trav­ellers and it’s the only place in Thai­land where you can ride a horse along the beach.

“It’s also home to some of Thai­land’s best French and Ger­man bak­eries. The Baguette is fa­mous for its But­ter­fly Puff Pas­try while The Ger­man Bak­ery is fa­mous for Ger­man breads, es­pe­cially pret­zel.”

The just-opened Baba Beach Club by Sri Panwa aims to lure a younger mar­ket with its beach club play­ing host to res­i­dent DJs. CE­LESTE MITCHELL Keep things sim­ple with this lovely bou­tique ho­tel in down­town Hua Hin. Con­ve­nience is key at the 40-room Mana Thai, sit­ting at the epi­cen­tre of the beach, the ar­chi­tec­turally strik­ing train sta­tion and Hua Hin’s night mar­kets. Check in to your bal­cony room with views of the city be­fore plot­ting your itin­er­ary from a rooftop pool­side lounge with cold drink in hand. If you’re not one to laze on the beach, head to nearby East Square Hua Hin Mall to shop up a storm and re­lax with a Thai mas­sage. The concierge can help you book golf, wa­ter­sports, spas, snorkelling or the water­front restau­rants on of­fer in this sea­side re­sort town, so you’ll never be short of things to do. Break­fast is avail­able each morn­ing in the din­ing room and com­pli­men­tary Wi-Fi is on tap.

MANATHAI.COM/HUAHIN Cel­e­brat­ing its 10th birth­day this year, Lak­sasubha Hua Hin has an un­mis­take­able per­sonal touch, built within the grounds of owner M.L. Lak­sasubha’s grand­fa­ther’s home – HRH Prince Krisda Bhini­harn Krom Phra Naresra Vararid­dhi. It’s where she spent sum­mers as a child be­fore de­vel­op­ing her ideal Thai re­treat and you’re likely to bump into her at break­fast or share af­ter­noon tea with her if you’re a re­turn­ing guest. From the in­fin­ity pool over­look­ing Hua Hin’s long stretch of beach you’ll see why she loved it so much and why Thai roy­alty revered the town as a hol­i­day hotspot since the ‘20s. After hit­ting the beach for some horse rid­ing or wa­ter sports, and min­gling in the mar­kets, look into the lush grounds from your room be­fore claim­ing a seat at L-Bar in time for Happy Hour.

LAKSASUBHAHUAHIN.COM The hol­i­day-mak­ers of the 1920s who came to Hua Hin may have had the king’s sum­mer palace but they cer­tainly didn’t know the lux­u­ries on tap at V Vil­las Hua Hin. From your pri­vate pool villa with 24-hour but­ler ser­vice, you’ll feel like the head of your own monar­chy, es­pe­cially when slip­ping into your pri­vate 9m swim­ming pool. In­side, lux­u­ri­ous Her­mès ameni­ties, Bose en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem, a wine cel­lar and cof­fee ma­chine pro­vide all the com­forts wor­thy of such roy­alty. For a peek into real royal life, visit the world’s largest golden teak palace, Mri­ga­daya­van, 30 min­utes’ drive away on the Cha-Am water­front. After a round of golf or a few rounds of the Ci­cada Mar­ket, bal­ance din­ing in Vil­lazzo Restau­rant with the siz­zling sa­tay, pad Thai and fresh grilled fish of the night mar­kets.


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