| As a tourist resort, Hua Hin is not as famous as other Thai locations such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi or Ko Samui. But this allows travelers to avoid overcrowded beaches and enjoy a relaxing getaway amongst beautiful surroundings.(Source: Shanghai Daily)
BEIJING, Aug. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Hua Hin is a little slice of heaven along the Gulf of Thailand. With friendly locals, superb golf courses, pristine beaches, great food and luxurious hotels, Hua Hin is a somewhat overlooked playground for those looking for an exotic trip. Fu Rong reports.
Set on the beach by the blue ocean in an ancient city in Thailand is a hidden architectural gem. From the outside it looks quite ordinary, but if you follow the stone steps on the sandy ground leading to a narrow hallway, you enter another world: a world of narrow walkways; a high spire-shaped ceiling; small star-shaped holes on red walls through which sunlight casts shapes opposite; and water that flows in a channel circling the interior.
Together these create an ambience akin to being in some tranquil maze. Here you slow down, focus on your surroundings; you can feel the breeze and sunshine and listen to the joy, and the sorrow, deep inside your heart. You can relax in the plunge bath in an enclosed courtyard, then return inside for a pleasant spa.
While all this sounds straight out of a film set, it's very much reality, a unique and harmonious treatment center, where nature and humanity blend, in Hua Hin, one of Thailand's most sought-after resorts. Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand, it is the southwestern Asian country's oldest beach town resort.
History and present
Hua Hin - which means "Stone Head" - was named after the rocks at the north end of the powdery beach. About 200 kilometers from Bangkok, it's a three-and-a-half-hour drive from the capital to the resort.
Hua Hin has boasted royal connections since the turn of the 20th century when a member of the Thai royal family, Prince Chakrabhongse, came here on a hunting trip with Russian nobility.
King Rama VI then built summer retreat Mrigadayavan Palace here in 1923.
Some scenes for the film "Anna and the King" (1999), featuring Hong Kong megastar Chow Yun-fat as Rama VI's grandfather, King Rama IV and Jodie Foster as teacher Anna, were shot in the palace.
As a tourist resort, Hua Hin is not as famous as other Thai locations, such as Phuket, Chiang Mai and Ko Samui. But thanks to this, Hua Hin avoids crowded summer beaches, instead providing a beautiful, relaxing getaway.
Hua Hin has become an international holiday destination, without losing the charm of a fishing village and its rich royal and Thai roots. Here you can meet friendly, warmhearted locals, and enjoy a quiet moment on the white sandy beach, relaxing in the beautiful sunshine. It's also a place where you can trace Thailand's history, with its old colonial buildings, fishing heritage and quaint, timeless streets, and sample authentic spicy Thai food.
Because of its royal associations and proximity to the capital, Hua Hin became fashionable among the Bangkok elite and began to develop. Nowadays, it has grown from a solely tourist destination into one attracting increasing numbers of expats, with an estimated 4,000 foreigners now living in Hua Hin.
The charm of Hua Hin is that it retains its fishing village serenity, side by side with the bustling center of a modern luxury beach resort.
In addition to the beach, outstanding seafood restaurants and a vibrant night market, Hua Hin is well known for some of the finest golf courses in Thailand and some of the most renowned resorts and destination spas in the world.
Mrigadayavan Palace, which means "love and hope palace" is a charming beachside group of wooden pavilions, built by Rama VI. The traditional Thai-style complex includes 16 pavilions, elevated by 1,080 teak pillars to allowing a cooling air flow and preventing humidity.
The bottom of the pillars are carved with circular grooves intended to prevent insects from climbing up to the living area.