16 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Hua Hin

Hua Hin may have started as a sleepy beach town, but today it has grown into a vibrant city by the sea. Two and a half hours south of Thailand's capital, Bangkok (and another world away), this small-town-turned-tourist hot spot is an exciting beach, dining, and shopping destination right on the Gulf of Thailand.

Hua Hin Beach

Before this small town of 60,000 people became a tourists' favorite, it was best known for being home to Klaikangwon Palace, the summer residence of one of Thailand's former kings back in the 1920s. Today, it's the perfect getaway to some of the country's best national parks and quietest beaches.

If you're thinking of stopping by here when visiting Thailand, plan your sightseeing with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Hua Hin.

1. Dip Your Toes in the Sand of Hua Hin Beach

Hua Hin Beach

Most people who come to this sleepy town come here for the beach. While other beach towns in Thailand are all about the nightlife, Hua Hin is a much quieter destination where you can truly lie down on the beach for hours of peaceful sun-worshipping.

Hua Hin's beach stretches for four kilometers --and while it might not be the largest or the whitest in Thailand, it makes up for it by being great for swimming, offering lots of family-friendly things to do (kitesurfing and banana boat rides included), and always having deckchairs and umbrellas available for rent. Beach vendors selling refreshments and local souvenirs and crafts are often around (without being pushy) in case you need to stock up on goods without walking too far.

2. Feel Like Royalty at Maruekhathaiyawan Palace

Maruekhathaiyawan Palace

Built for King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) as a summer retreat in the 1920s, Maruekhathaiyawan Palace is constructed entirely of teak wood and sits right on the beach.

The clever design of the palace – which sits on pillars and is made up of several sections connected by long covered corridors – allows for perfect air circulation and keeps the place cool in the hot and humid Thai afternoons. There's even a corridor leading straight to the beach and the Queen's former bathing pavilion.

The King's living chambers are partially furnished with some of his original possessions. His study, where the king composed poetry when staying here, overlooks the ocean and houses his beloved desk and writing materials.

Visitors can also explore the manicured gardens surrounding the palace or enjoy a picnic on the grass.

Address: 1281 Phetkasem Road | King Rama VI Army Camp

3. Pick Up Souvenirs at the Hua Hin Night Market

Handicrafts for sale at the Hua Hin Night Market

No matter how much upscale shopping you do in Thailand, nothing beats the authentic feel of a local night market – a chance to soak up the atmosphere and experience real Thai market culture. Night markets often have no rhyme or reason in Thailand, and Hua Hin's night market is no exception. Here, you'll find arts and crafts next to cheap snacks (don't be too shocked at the deep-fried insect snacks for sale) and stalls offering apparel.

Because Hua Hin's night market also attracts tourists, you'll find your share of stalls selling cheap souvenirs and beachwear, but also lots of street vendors selling authentic ware and fare for everyday life, Buddhist tokens, and traditional Thai crafts.

Address: Petchkasem Road near 74 Street, Hua Hin

4. Escape to Khao Takiab Hill and Beach

Khao Takiab Hill

Khao Takiab hill offers access to a quiet stretch of beach and impressive views over Hua Hin from up top. Some of the best seafood restaurants in town are located in this area, as well as some of the most colorful Buddhist temples you'll find in Hua Hin.

Khao Takiab temple, better known to locals as "Monkey Mountain," is home to hundreds of wild macaques-a fun experience as long as you hang on to your bags and phone, since they have become quite good at stealing things from tourists.

5. Keep Shopping into the Night at Cicada Market

Cicada Market at night

An open-air weekend market that's all about arts and crafts, Cicada is popular with both Thai and foreign tourists and is particularly lively once the sun goes down. The market is divided into four sections that include decorative home items and fashion for sale, an art gallery, a massive outdoor food court, and an area dedicated to live music and shows featuring bands, dance groups, unique pantomime performances, and live DJs.

What makes Cicada different from other night markets is definitely its style. You won't find cheap plastic souvenirs here, but instead a lot of handmade items, original paintings and sculptures, contemporary art displays, and even artists working on glass blowing and live sketching. And while there's a lot of cool things you can take home and many chances for artsy retail therapy at Cicada, the focus doesn't fall heavily on shopping either because of the many opportunities to chill out and just enjoy the surroundings.

Bonus points for the market being near the beach, so you can catch the cool salty breeze in a hot evening out.

Address: 83/159 Nong Kae-Khao Takiap Road, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan

6. Step into a World of Illusions at For Art's Sake

For Art's Sake

Thailand's first 4D Art Museum is a must-see for all ages. A quirky collection of fun murals painted by Thai artists, art installations, and sculptures, these are truly living images. Place yourself in the right spot, take a photo, and voila – you're automatically part of a 3D image where piano stairs come to life, you can jump into the mouth of a shark, and monsters almost get you in the Horror Zone. The 4D element is provided through music and sound effects that make each museum zone even more unique.

Address: 22/141 Phetkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110

7. Transport Yourself to a Different World at Santorini Park

Santorini Park

Just 15 minutes away in the neighboring town of Cha Am is Santorini Park, a themed shopping and attraction village that looks exactly like the name suggests. You might not get the sweeping views here of the ocean that you would at the real Santorini, but otherwise, Santorini Park does a very good job of bringing a picture-perfect Greek island to Hua Hin.

Rows of whitewashed buildings line up the stone-paved streets, winding around cafes, shops, and souvenir stores. There's even an outdoor performance space and a small amusement park here, complete with a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a number of climbing and adrenaline rides for both kids and adults.

Address: Phetkasem Road (198 kilometer post)

8. Shop the World at The Venezia Hua Hin

Venezia Hua Hin

Thailand seems to have mastered the art of building themed shopping centers, where shops aren't the main attraction but instead just blend in with the incredible scenery. If visiting Santorini got you inspired and yearning for European lands, this place makes perfect sense as your next stop.

The Venezia is an impressive mini replica of magical Venice, complete with a reproduction of the San Marco's bell tower; a 200-meter-long canal (Gondolas included) that cuts through the shopping center; and plenty of attractions-including mini train rides; a 3D museum; and many photo opportunities around every corner.

While The Venezia is technically a shopping center, stores aren't the main attraction here. Still, you'll find plenty of local and international brands, as well as a chance to pick up some high-end local souvenirs.

Address: 1899 Petch Kasem Road, Cha Am

9. Get Wet at Black Mountain Water Park

Floating in a Thai water park

The beach might be just a few steps away, but that doesn't mean visitors should skip a visit to Hua Hin's water park when in town. With nine slides (including an impressive 17-meter-high vertical slide tower with a heart-stopping straight double-drop) and six pools, Black Mountain has something for everybody.

Lounge around in the lazy river, try the giant pool especially dedicated to water games, or jump into the largest wave pool in Thailand-then have a bite or grab a beach chair for some relaxing time in the shade.

Location: 1 Moo 2, Tambon Hin Lek Fai

10. Take a Day Trip to Kaeng Drachan National Park and Pala-U Waterfall

Pala-U Waterfall

The largest national park in Thailand simply can't be explored in one day, so if that's all you have, you might want to start at Pala-U waterfall. Located near the border with Burma and about 1.5 hours from Hua Hin, the waterfall consists of 16 levels and is one of the highest in Thailand. Don't expect to climb it to the top, though. Anything beyond the third level requires an arduous trek meant only for expert hikers and climbers.

Still, you don't need to go beyond the third level to enjoy the magic here. Cool water, deep pools surrounded by a 1,000-year-old forest, and thousands of butterflies are just a little glimpse of what you'll find when you get to the falls. Keep your eyes open for lots of wildlife as well, including gibbons and rare birds.

Want to extend the trip? There are no accommodations available inside the park itself aside from two very rustic campgrounds, but you can overnight at Kaeng Krachan Town, just minutes away. Come back the next day for bird-watching and cave exploring – or hire a park ranger to take you deeper into the rainforest, where trails are trickier to find but wildlife is richer, and you might catch a glimpse of wild elephants, boars, and even leopards.

Location: Huai Sat Yai, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan

11. Walk through the Pranburi Mangrove Forest

Wooden walkway through the Pranburi Mangrove Forest

Twenty kilometers from Hua Hin and reachable by car or song-taew (an open, multi-passenger truck taxi), Pranburi Forest Park is home to the largest mangrove forest in Thailand. The highlight here is the two raised wooden boardwalks that twist and turn through thick mangrove growths, over the Pranburi River and all the way to the ocean-all along the way offering peeks of wildlife and even a small fishing village.

Once you're done walking the wooden trails, head to the park's pine-lined beach, just steps away. Because few tourists know about the park, chances are you'll have the beach all to yourself. This is a perfect day trip if you want to see some awe-inspiring scenery and escape the heat of town.

Location: Pak Nam Pran (Pranburi)

12. Escape to Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh

Sam Roi Yot Freshwater Marsh

Thailand's largest freshwater marsh is located within Sam Roi National Park-a massive marine national park worth a visit on its own if you have the time to spare. The park is about 60 kilometers from Hua Hin and is home to massive caves, limestone islands, and over 300 different species of migratory birds.

If you can only visit one section of the park, however, the marsh-which is surrounded by limestone peaks and covered in lotuses-should be it. A wooden boardwalk extends across the marsh and leads to seven roofed pavilions that offer breaks from the heat and a chance to appreciate the mirror-like views in the distance. There's a great observation tower for bird-watchers at the entrance of the park, but you'll have a much better chance to see rare birds, such as purple swamphen and spoon-billed sandpipers, up close when walking through the marsh.

13. Shop at the Sam Pan Nam Floating Market

Lighthouse replica at the Sam Pan Nam Floating Market

Hua Hin actually has two floating markets. The Hua Hin Floating Market, older and smaller, offers plenty of shopping opportunities, both as you travel around the market in a traditional boat or walk on the long wooden boardwalks that connect the shops. The newer Sam Pan Nam Floating Market offers plenty of shopping, too, with an impressive 200 shops, as well as plenty of boat vendors traveling the man-made lake and canals to offer their fare.

But Sam Pan Nam is also an entertainment venue. There's a miniature train, daily music and cultural shows, and plenty of "Instagram corners" – moored traditional fishing boats you can jump on for a picture, colorful benches, themed restaurants, and more.

If you've been to Plearn Wan, you'll find a similarity in the design: early 20th century-style buildings with traditional shophouses reminiscent of the King Rama VI period. While you can easily come here just for the fun merchandise and photo opportunities, the market also offers boat tours, mouthwatering treats, and a great way to discover what the old Hua Hin would have been like.

Location: Hua Hin Soi 112

14. Browse the Galleries at Hua Hin Artists Village (Baan Sillapin)

Entrance to the Hua Hin Artists Village

Located just a few miles from the energetic beaches is the quiet, tranquil oasis that is Hua Hin Artists Village, also known as Baan Sillapin. One of the original arts centers in Hua Hin, this vibrant collective sits shrouded in beautiful green plants, perched on the edge of a small canal.

The space includes several large galleries of art and antiques, as well as actual artists' studios, where projects are constantly being dreamt up and actualized. Classrooms are available for those who want to take painting and sculpture classes, and a beautiful art-decked café serves delicious coffees and pastries.

Hua Hin Artists Village

The community goes back more than two decades. The land was donated to a well-known local artist who was tasked with promoting art to the community. More than 20 other artists have joined the commune, and today showcase everything from painting and carving to masks, stonework, jewelry, and more.

Address: 299/8 3218 Hin Lek Fai, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110

15. Shop Even More at Bluport Hua Hin

Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall

Hua Hin is not short on shopping opportunities, but one of the newest to hit the beach town is the Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall. The latest in luxury shopping, the massive mall is one of the best places to beat the heat in Hua Hin.

The mall has more than 1,000 different labels spanning fashion and beauty, as well as technology and dining. In fact, the Bluport Food Hall is a sprawling space serving cuisine from all over the world. You'll also find a Gourmet Market and standalone restaurants.

This is the department store in Hua Hin for fashion, as well as beauty treatments like haircuts, nail appointments, and a spa.

Address: 8 89 Petchkasem Rd, Nong Kae, Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110

16. Dine Alfresco at Tamarind Market

Tamarind Market

Hua Hin's food scene heats up on weekends with the addition of the new Tamarind Market. Right beside the popular Cicada Market, this night market opens on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays just a few blocks back from the beach.

Here, visitors will find more than a dozen stalls selling everything from local Thai dishes, like rich, fragrant Pad Thai, to wood-fired pizzas, sushi, Wagyu burgers, and more. A stage in the market plays host to a rotating calendar of live bands.

Prices here are certainly higher than at more resident-friendly night markets, but this is certainly an energetic and beloved place to grab a filling (and gourmet-level) meal, enjoy outdoor entertainment, and catch up with friends.

Where to Stay in Hua Hin for Sightseeing

Luxury Hotels:
  • V Villas Hua Hin, M Gallery Hotel Collection features luxurious villas with an Italian Villazzo design in a tropics style. All come with 24-hour butler service and large private pools. The property is right on the beach and is also family friendly. Amenities include a restaurant, spa, and workout room.
  • Catering to families and couples alike, the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin is a 5-star resort right on a gorgeous stretch of white-sand beach. The property features lush landscaped gardens, multiple swimming pools, and a luxe spa. The hotel prides itself on being pet-friendly, so dogs and cats are welcome here. There is also a restaurant on-site.
  • Anantara Hua Hin Resort boasts palatial architecture and luxe rooms and suites decorated in modern Thai style. The entire property is beautiful, with lotus-filled lagoons and manicured gardens facing the sea. There is a restaurant, swimming pool, tennis court, and a spa on-site.
Mid-Range Hotels:
  • Anantasila Villa by the Sea is a top mid-range choice. The family-friendly hotel is right on the beach and offers a range of rooms and suites, including interconnecting options. Kid-focused amenities include a children's pool, mini golf course, babysitting services, and kids' meals at the restaurant. There is also a spa on-site.
  • A trendy choice, Loligo Resort Hua Hin is also right on the beach. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with modern decor. The property is family-friendly and there are kid-focused activities on-site. Other amenities include a restaurant, workout room, and a complimentary breakfast.
  • Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin has been serving tourists for more than 100 years now. The excellent value beachfront resort is set amid beautiful gardens. It offers spacious rooms and suites with period furnishings, polished wood floors, and high ceilings. There are also 42 villas that come with either a private hot tub or plunge pool.
Budget Hotels:
  • My Way Hua Hin Music Hotel is a fun budget pick. It features music-themed design throughout its rooms and suites, including saxophone lamps and photos of Elvis and Michael Jackson. Some rooms even have pianos. Amenities include a swimming pool, coffee shop, and game room.
  • The well-priced ibis Hua Hin is just a short walk from the beach. The rooms are tidy and modern. The hotel is family friendly. Kids stay free and there is a children's pool. The ibis is also pet friendly if you're traveling with a dog. Other amenities include a restaurant, free parking, and bike rental.
Map of Attractions & Things to Do in Hua Hin

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