If you’re looking for a kid-friendly weekend holiday from buzzy Bangkok, Hua Hin is an option well worth exploring – especially as it’s only a three-hour drive from the city. With its origins as a small fishing village on the Gulf of Thailand, the town provides a breezy beach escape for families and couples alike. Here are some of our top picks on what to do.
#1 Get a bird’s eye view of the city
Delicious tipples paired with stunning city views? Count us in! Perched on the 27th floor of a newly opened Holiday Inn (more on this hotel, below), Vana Nava Sky is a bar designed by Ashley Sutton, the award-winning mastermind behind some of Asia’s top drinking spots. We recommend sipping on a sundowner while catching the sunset; this rooftop bar, restaurant and observation deck in one is a must-visit as it offers the highest vantage point as Hua Hin’s tallest building.
#2 Tackle Thailand’s largest water slide
There’s something for everyone in the family at Vana Nava Hua Hin Water Jungle, a water park with 20 attractions comprising signature rides and exciting slides. Adrenaline junkies will love the Abyss, the largest water slide in Thailand. It involves four or five near-vertical spins, followed by a plummet into a huge funnel at a speed of over 45km per hour! Not a fan of adventure? There are more relaxing alternatives like the lazy river and wave pool.
#3 Shop and eat at a local market
Another highlight is Cicada Market, where you’ll be treated to a mix of traditional snacks, artisanal handicrafts and live music. This popular night market is only open on Friday to Sunday, from 4pm onwards. We recommend popping over to one of the nearby spas right outside the market for an affordable foot massage after your shopping fix.
#4 Spend an afternoon on the beach
Hua Hin is blessed with many beaches within and outside of its vicinity. One convenient option within town is Khao Takiap beach, where you’ll find cafes and restaurants scattered along the shore, serving decently priced, authentic Thai dishes. There are water sports available too, or you can rent a daybed to laze the afternoon away. One top tip is to bring insect repellent to guard yourself against pesky sandflies.
#5 Explore the history of Hua Hin
A trip to Hua Hin isn’t complete without a visit to its iconic train station. By 1921, the northern-southern rail line connecting Bangkok to the Malaysian border was constructed, serving as a travel option for both local and expat holiday-seekers. The building of two royal palaces – Klai Kang Won and Maruekhathaiyawan – near the station also contributed to the rise of Hua Hin’s popularity as a holiday destination.
#6 Sip on locally made wines
If your itinerary has space for one more activity, opt for the Monsoon Valley vineyard tour. Although it’s a 40-minute drive from Hua Hin, the mountain-clad scenery is truly unbeatable. Plus, there’s a lovely restaurant serving international dishes and local fare, paired with made-in-Thailand wines. Choose to dine alfresco for unobstructed views of the vineyard!
Where to stay
The newly opened Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin has six categories of rooms and suites to cater to different travellers. The KidSuite, which includes a special children’s area with bunk beds and a play space, is great for families, while the Ocean View Room, which boasts a view of the Gulf of Thailand, is a fab option for couples.
Activities and facilities
Guests can enjoy free access to the aforementioned Vana Nava Hua Hin water park, located right next to the resort. You can easily spend half a day here, thanks to a well-balanced mix of family-friendly and adventurous rides. After which – if the weather holds – head back to the resort’s infinity pool to bask in the afternoon sun. Perched on the 26th floor, the 36-metre pool offers panoramic views of the city, as well as a pool bar that serves a mean mojito.
If you’re travelling with your little ones in tow, they’ll be entertained with plenty of games and activities at Bryde’s Kids Club, while you enjoy a pampering massage at Tea Tree Spa. And don’t forget that kids below the age of 12 stay and dine for free!
Written in collaboration with:
Holiday Inn Resorts
Looking for more Travel ideas?
Family holidays: The best child-friendly resorts in Asia
4 Malaysian road trips from Singapore