One day at work, the CCO asked all of us to tell the office a time in our lives that we were proud of. I told my story of how I had to relearn how to walk again after fracturing my knee on Mt. Fuji many years ago. The office voted that my story was the best. As my prize, I got a voucher for a 1-night stay at a luxury resort in Hua Hin. Thank you, bad knee!
Robb and I started our journey from Bangkok on board the ‘special express’ train from Hua Lamphong station. Unlike our experience on the train to Ayutthaya, this train was (1) on time, (2) appointed seats, (3) air-conditioning and (4) food and drinks! Granted we paid 420THB ($12.46 USD) per ticket versus 20THB ($0.60 USD) we paid to get to Ayutthaya.
Top tip: Book a seat on the right side of the train to get views of the limestone scenery.
Four hours later, we found ourselves in Hua Hin, Thailand’s ‘original beach resort’ according to Lonely Planet. Once a quiet fishing village, it grew into a fashionable escape for Bangkokians after the 1920s, when the Thai royal family built summer palaces here.
After a 10 minute walk from the train station, we arrived at public area for beach-goers. The weather didn’t scream sunbathing, but people still frolicked as if the skies were not gray. We spent a few hours sitting by the beach watching others swim in the water while sipping pretty expensive cold coconut water (70THB, $2.11 USD) and beer (140THB, $4.20), but there was no beach chair sitting fee!
We wandered to Chau Mae Thapthim Temple and onto Dechanuchit Road. The road was oddly quiet minus the shop workers waiting outside away.
We found a cafe called Together Cafe and Bakery that served this excellent cake made of young coconut (70THB, $2.11 USD for a medium portion). Not too sweet and very coconuty.
We had to have seafood at least once in Hua Hin. To save some money, we opted to find our seafood away from the shoreline. At Grill and Chill we got a steamed fish for 350THB ($10.58 USD) compared to the same kind of dish by the for 500THB ($15.11 USD)!
We saw vendors prepping for the night market. Although we really wanted to stay and feast on more seafood delights, we also wanted to maximize for free resort stay as much as possible.
At 17:30, we were picked up at the Hua Hin Clock Tower by the lovely Peter. We drove in a van heading north and arrived at Ananda Resort, which is really in Cham An.
Obviously Robb and I are not people who would actually pay more to stay at a resort. And when we saw that the starting prices for a room at this resort go for 5000THB ($151.18 USD) per night, we didn’t know what to expect. We were served hand towels and butterfly pea flower tea, a blue, barley like drink that turns purple with lemon juice. And this was just checking in!
We were taken to our room in a golf cart. We also found out later that our room was a 5-minute walk from the reception. But still…
Our garden deluxe room was on the bottom floor with easy access to one of the 3 pools at the resort. We also got a mini-fridge that had free beer! Ok, for some people, this may be a normal thing. For us, who usually stays at homestays with shared bathrooms, this was something new.
After a nigh swim, we decided to walk to the beach. The resort owned a small portion of the shoreline, and when we went to see it, it was high tide. We got as far as the flood walls. Then it started to rain. We called it a night afterwards.
We woke up the next day refreshed. We went for a morning swim, then prepared ourselves for breakfast. When we read up on the resort, pretty much all comments raved about Ananada’s buffet breakfast. They brewed us fresh Americanos when we asked. And the mount of cheese, ham and fresh bread was amazing! We stayed until they kicked us out (or closed the buffet).
Alas, check out time came and we had to leave. Unlike the rest of the clientele who drove off in their BMWs and Land Rovers, we waited in the lobby for a minivan back to Bangkok.
We were lucky that the resort concierge arranged the minivan take us to Ekkamai, a stone’s throw away from our apartment, rather than Mo Chit, a 45-minute ride on BTS to home. The ride wasn’t as comfortable as the train ride to Hua Hin, but for 180THB, we weren’t expecting much.
Hua Hin was a nice weekend getaway from all the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. And it was even made better as it was mostly free for us! Would we go back? Probably not. There’s so much more of Thailand to explore!