Huahin

Hua Hin District (Thai: หัวหิน, IPA: [hǔə hǐn]) is one of eight districts (amphoe) of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula in Thailand. Its seat of government, also named Hua Hin, is a beach resort town. The district’s population was estimated at 63,091 in December 2017 by the Bureau of Registration Administration[1] in an area of 911 km2 (352 sq mi). By road, it is 199 km (124 mi) south-southwest of Bangkok.

Hua Hin District is in the middle of what the Thai government is promoting as the “Thai Riviera”, the stretch of coastline between Phetchaburi in the north and Chumphon in the south.

History

In 1834, before the name Hua Hin was coined, some agricultural areas of Phetchaburi Province were hit by severe drought. A group of farmers moved south until they found a small village that had bright white sand and a row of rocks along the beach. They settled there and gave it the name Samore Riang (Samo Riang), which means ‘rows of rocks’.

In 1921 the director of the state railway, Prince Purachatra, built the Railway Hotel close to the beach. Prince Krom Phra Naresworarit was the first member of the royal family to build a group of palaces at Ban Laem Hin, called Sukaves, and gave the beach next to his palace the name “Hua Hin”. King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) liked the place so much that he built a summer palace there which was later named Klai Kang Won (‘far from worries’). From 2004 until 2006 it was the full-time residence of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), until health issues forced him to return to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, where medical facilities and physicians were closer at hand.

In 1932 Hua Hin was part of Pran Buri District as a minor district (king amphoe). In 1949 Hua Hin became a separate district of Prachuap Khiri Khan.[3] After the building of Thailand’s southern railway connected the district with Bangkok along with various destinations en route, Hua Hin became the first and most popular beach resort in the country.[4] Over the five year period from 2014–2019, the number of Thai and foreign visitors to Hua Hin has risen six percent per year.[5]

In August 2016, there were four bomb blasts in Hua Hin over a period of 24 hours. One person died, 20 others were injured.[6][7][8][9] In the aftermath of the bombing 90 security cameras were installed and are monitored by the Tourist Police. Another 60 cameras are monitored by the municipal office. There are plans to install several hundred more.[6]

Climate

Hua Hin Beach

Hua Hin has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw). Historically, temperatures are very warm to hot throughout the year, with only small variations. The year begins with the dry season (December–April), before the monsoon arrives in May. Rains ease somewhat from June to August before the heaviest rains begin in September and continue through November.

Environment

Hua Hin Beach, from Marrakesh Resort

The quality of the waters of the Gulf of Thailand off central Hua Hin were rated “fair” in 2015 by the Pollution Control Department.[13]:54 But, the report noted that “…the main tourism areas, namely Cha–Am Beach, … and Hua Hin Beach, … should be consistently monitored, since enterococci [fecal] bacteria levels exceeded the standard….”[13]:59

Boundaries

Hua Hin District is bordered by:

Hua Hin Railway Station

Transport

Hua Hin is served by road, rail, and sea routes.

The main station is Hua Hin railway station and it is the northernmost station in the district. Smaller stations are also located in the area including Nong Kae railway station which is closer to Khao Takiap, Suan Son Pradiphat Railway Halt, close to Suan Son Pradiphat Beach and Rajabhakti Park as well as Khao Tao railway station.

As of 2019, work is underway on the construction of double tracks from Bangkok’s Bang Sue Central Station to Chumphon. Trains will travel the route at up to 160 kilometres per hour. The new tracks—due to be completed in 2022—will enable trains to travel the Bangkok–Hua Hin segment in “two to three hours” according to a State Railway of Thailand (SRT) spokesman.[14] As a comparison, as of November 2019, SRT’s Train 44 travels from Hua Hin to Bangkok’s Bangkok Railway Station in three hours and thirty-three minutes (02:22–05:55).[15] Plans for high-speed rail from Bangkok to Surat Thani which would serve Hua Hin en route, have been shelved due to lack of investor interest.[16]

Luang Pu Thuat, Wat Huay Mongkol

Khao Takiap, at the southern end of Hua Hin Beach separating Hua Hin and Suan Son Pradiphat Beaches

There is daily ferry service between Hua Hin and Pattaya.[17] In November 2018, Hua Hin deputy chief Chareewat Phramanee confirmed the ferry service, suspended due to low tourist numbers during low season, would be up and running again for high season between Hua Hin and Pattaya, a 2.5 hour journey on a catamaran with a maximum capacity of 340.[18]

Hua Hin Airport is in Hua Hin District. AirAsia serves the airport with a direct flight to Kuala Lumpur.[19]

In August 2018 the Department of Airports announced that it will spend 3.5 billion baht to upgrade Hua Hin Airport over the next five years. The number of travellers using the airport is expected to increase by tenfold, to three million a year, in that time frame. The upgrade is part of the “Riviera Thailand” and Southern Economic Corridor projects. The work at the airport will take four to five years. It includes enlarging the existing passenger terminal, building a second one, expanding hangar space, and widening the runway from 30 to 45 metres.[20]

Education

Hua Hin and Cha-am host a number of tertiary education institutions such as Kasetsart University Veterinary Teaching Hospital,[21]Silpakorn University, Suan Dusit Rajabhat (Hospitality) University, and the Petchaburi Technology and Agricultural University. Webster University Thailand has a campus near Hua Hin,[22] as does the Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin (Wangklaikangwon Campus).