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Getting There

By Plane -- The Hua Hin Airport (code HHQ) is almost exclusively used for private jets. In May 2018, AirAsia (www.airasia.com; tel. 02515-9999) launched four times weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur; flight time 2 hours.

By Train -- Both Hua Hin and Cha-Am are reached via the train station in Hua Hin, which has been well-preserved and is an attraction in itself. Twelve trains make the daily trek from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Railway Station (tel. 02621-8701 or 1690). A second-class seat in an air-conditioned compartment from Bangkok to Hua Hin generally costs 402B, and the trip takes nearly 4 hours.

The Hua Hin Railway Station (tel. 03251-1073) is at the tip of Damnoenkasem Road, which slices through the center of town straight to the beach. Pickup trucks acting as taxis (songtaews) and tuk-tuks wait outside to take you to your hotel; fares start at 50B.

Travel Tip: Even if you don’t arrive by train, stop and admire the Victorian architecture of the train station built in 1926. Carved wooden pillars and trim decorate the interior. The red-and-white façade is famously replicated around town.

By Bus/Minibus -- Going by road is the best choice from Bangkok to Hua Hin and the best means of transport are the minibuses that connect with central Cha-Am and Hua Hin. You can arrange minivan connections from your hotel in the city, or go to the busy traffic circle at the base of the Victory Monument (a stop on the BTS) and look for the minivans that depart when full throughout the day, which cost just 180B to Hua Hin.

Regular buses depart from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal (tel. 02793-8111) every 40 minutes from 4am to 10pm (155B). There are also daily buses to Cha-Am hourly between 4am and 8pm (155B).

Buses from Bangkok arrive in Hua Hin at the air-conditioned bus station (tel. 03251-1230) on Srasong Road, 1 block north of Damnoenkasem Road. From here it is easy to find a songtaew or tuk-tuk to take you to your destination. The Cha-Am bus station (tel. 03242-5307) is on the main beach road.

By Car -- From Bangkok, take Route 35, the Thonburi-Paktho Highway, southwest; allow 2 to 4 hours, depending on traffic.

Special Events

A free jazz festival is held annually in June over 2 or 3 days, featuring local and international bands. The event attracts thousands of visitors to a unique beach setting, with a stage usually set up in front of the Sofitel hotel. Spectators sit on the sand or can hire chairs. Extra jazz events take place around town at the same time. The event date varies annually; see www.tatnews.org for the next date of the festival.

Orientation

Hua Hin is easy to navigate. The main artery, Petchkasem Road, runs parallel to the waterfront about 4 blocks inland. The wide Damnoenkasem Road cuts through Petchkasem and runs straight to the beach. On the north side of Damnoenkasem, toward the waterfront, you'll find a cluster of guesthouses, restaurants, shopping, and nightspots lining the narrow lanes. Across Petchkasem to the west are the bus terminals, railway station, and night market.

Smaller Cha-Am is a 25-minute drive north of Hua Hin along Petchkasem Road. Ruamchit Road, also known as Beach Road, hugs the shore and is lined with shops, restaurants, hotels, and motels. Cha-Am's resorts line the 8km (5-mile) stretch of beach that runs south from the village toward Hua Hin.

Getting Around

By Songtaew -- Pickup trucks follow regular routes in Hua Hin, passing the railway station and bus terminals at regular intervals. Flag one down that's going in your direction. Fares are 20B within town, while stops at outlying resorts cost up to 50B. If the truck is empty, the driver will likely demand an extortionate fee; just wait till a shared truck comes along.

By Tuk-Tuk -- Tuk-tuk rides are negotiable; always agree on a price before you start, but expect to pay at least 50B for a ride within town.

By Motorcycle Taxi -- Within each town, motorcycle taxi fares begin at 30B. These taxis, whose drivers are identifiable by colorful numbered vests, are a good way to get to your resort, if you're in Cha-Am after hours. A ride from there costs about 150B.

By Samlor -- Trishaws, or samlors (bicycle taxis), can be hired for short distances in town, from 40B. You can also negotiate an hourly rate.

By Car or Motorcycle -- Avis has an office at 15/112 Petchkasem Soi 29, in Hua Hin (tel. 03254-7523). Budget has an office at the Grand Hotel (tel. 03251-4220). Self-drive rates start at around 1,400B. Call ahead to reserve at least a day in advance. A cheaper alternative is to rent from one of the small-time agents near the beach on Damnoenkasem Road. A Suzuki Caribbean goes for around 1,100B per day. Motorbikes (100cc) are available for about 200B per day.

On Foot -- Hua Hin is a labyrinth of busy streets and narrow alleys, with little guesthouses, colorful local bars, and a wide assortment of casual eating venues. Almost everything in town is accessible on foot.

Visitor Information

The Hua Hin Tourist Information Center (tel. 03261-1491) is at the junction of Phetkasem and Damnoenkasem Roads near the Starbucks. Opening hours are from 8:30am to 4:30pm daily. The website www.tourismhuahin.com is also quite useful. There’s a branch of TAT in Cha-Am at 500/51 Phetkasem Rd. (tel. 03247-1005).

Fast Facts

In Hua Hin -- All major banks are along Petchkasem Road, to the north of Damnoenkasem, and there are many money-changers throughout the town. The main post office (tel. 03251-1350) is on Damnoenkasem Road, near the Petchkasem intersection.  The Hua Hin Hospital (tel. 03252-0401) is in the north of town, along Petchkasem Road. Call the Tourist Police for either town at tel. 03251-5995.

In Cha Am -- Banks are dotted along Petchkasem Road, and the post office is on Beach Road. The Cha-Am Hospital (www.chaamhospital.go.th; tel. 03247-1007) is at 8/1 Khlong Thian Road to the north of the town center. If time permits, all serious medical needs should be addressed at the Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.