Hua Hin is a resort city about 200kms south of Bangkok, very famous as a weekend getaway for the locals at Bangkok. The town as such has really no tourist attractions apart from a few amusement type small parks and a long stretch of beach. But yes you can base yourself at Hua Hin and do day trips to Petchaburi and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park.
Our initial plan was to stay at Pran Buri, 30 kms south of Hua Hin, and from here explore the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. Petchaburi we planned to do it later from Bangkok as time permitted. However things didnt go as planned and as there was no way we could reach Pranburi atleast by 8:00pm, we halted at Hua Hin and replanned our trip.
Route taken : Ko Chang -->Bangkok--> Hua Hin
Getting Here: From Bangkok there are buses starting from Suvarnabhumi airport to Hua Hin every 2hrs, or you can head to the southern bus terminal of Sai Tai Mai where the frequency of buses is more often. Also better to get to the ticket counter at either place earlier as they seem to have some sort of cut off on issuing tickets, even if the bus is not completely full they will issue the ticket for the next slot bus after some sort of cut off time ending up with you wasting time waiting for the next bus.
As we were travelling from Ko Chang we took the 8:45am minibus to Bangkok which would drop us off at Suvarnabhumi airport. The first minibus out of Ko Chang is at 6:30am, however these get filled up quick, so book as early as you can, by the time we checked this out the seats were booked. Its almost a 7 hour journey to Bangkok including the ferry ride from Ko Chang island to Trat ferry pier. Minibuses from Kho Chang will either drop you off at the Suvarnabhumi airport or at Victory Monument, Bangkok.
The bus to Hua Hin from the airport is a very comfortable one and takes about 3 hrs to reach Hua Hin. This bus will drop you off a little before the town center and they have shuttle service from the drop off point to your hotel at an additional 100tbh.
What to do at Hua Hin ....
Hua Hin, the only place I visited was the Hua Hin beach. The beach is about 6kms long, a beautiful stretch of white sand, dotted with coconut trees providing you shade to spread out your mats and relax. Many resorts line the beach so grabbing a drink or food is easy too. Strolled by the beach in the evening grabbing a much needed cup of cold coffee.
Day trip to Petchaburi : Petchaburi is around 80kms from Hua Hin to the north and is also doable as a day trip from Bangkok. There were no group tours available to which I could sign up. One option was to take the bus to Petachaburi, and then hire some transportation at Petchaburi to do all the sights. But after the day long journey I had the previous day I decided to splurge a little and hired a taxi for the day to cover all sights at Petchaburi and get dropped back to the hotel.
Things to do at Petchaburi,
1. Tham Khao Luang cave temple. There is no entrance fee to the cave, any transportation is allowed only till the base of the mountain and you either walk up or buy a two way 15tbh songthaew ticket to get to the cave. At the cave , a few steep steps will lead you down to this beautiful cave housing many Buddha statues. The beauty of the cave is in the light entering the cave through a hole in the roof. And this light falls on the reclining Buddha once in a day depending on the time of the year. The day I was here it was cloudy in the morning and the sun finally came out around 10am which was too late for the rays to fall on the reclining Buddha statue within the cave. Still once the rays did hit the cave it was spectacular.
On a side note restoration work was in progress the day I visited, and looked like all the statues were getting a new coat of the golden paint, hence many scaffolds were up in the cave.
2. Phra Nakhon Kiri Historical Park meaning Holy City Hill and locally commonly known as Hill with Palace. This was built as summer palace around 1860. Can be seen as three peaks of the hill. The Western section has the palace now a museum along with the observatory and library. The Central peak has a huge chedi in the Thai adaptation of the Sri Lankan style. You can enter through the narrow passageway built into the chedi and climb up to the upper level. The eastern peak has the royal temple along with the Bellfry and the five tiered pagoda.
The tour of all the three parts can take anywhere from 1 hr to 3hrs depending on how much time you spend at each place. Entrance fee 150thb.
3. Wat Mahathat Worawihan, a revered temple by the locals right in the city center. Houses impressive 5 golden statues of Buddha and walls covered with old murals. At the back of the temple is the impressive Khmer styled Prang with 4 smaller prangs surrounding it.
Depending on how much of time you have lef at Petachaburi you could also visit Wat Kampheng Laeng and Wat Yai Suwannaram. A walk around the streets of this small town would also be pleasurable one.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is around 60kms south of Hua Hin. To tour the park you will need your own vehicle, so will make sense to hire one from Hua Hin itself for the trip. There is an entrance fee of 100thb to the park. I was not able to do this as it will take a day to cover the park and we were in Hua Hin just for a day and I opted to do the Petchaburi trip on that day. So exploring this park is on my todo list on my next visit to Thailand.