Two of Thailand’s popular beach resorts can be found on the Gulf of Thailand within easy driving distance from Bangkok Airport. The former fishing villages of Cha-Am and Hua Hin are about 26km apart and they both attract locals as well as overseas visitors. However, they both have different things to offer, so read on to decide which resort would most suit you for a villa holiday in Thailand.
Of the two resorts, Cha-Am is the most laid back and serene, particularly during the week when locals are working in the city. It has the longest beach with gorgeous soft sand and it is lined with palm trees and green gardens belonging to the low-rise hotels. It is perfect for sunbathing and strolling at the water’s edge. At the end of the day, locals bring a string of ponies down and you can take a sunset ride along the waters’ edge, accompanied or alone if you have some riding experience. The small local ponies are very energetic.
Another plus to staying in Cha-Am is the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course nearby. There are small shops for buying souvenirs and jewellery and excellent tailors’ shops where you can browse the bolts of cloth and order a made-to-measure suit, dress or jacket. Silk jackets, tailored trousers and men’s suits are all a bargain here.
The local restaurants in Cha-Am are generally to a high standard, in both cuisine and service, and once again you get a lot for your money. It is far nicer to dine in a local restaurant from your villa rental, than to eat the nondescript buffets that hotels usually offer as part of an all-inclusive stay.
Cha-Am has little in the way of nightlife, so if you want to disco dance till dawn, the livelier Hua Hin may be a better choice for you.
Hua Hin is a bustling small town with a pleasant sandy beach. In contrast to Cha-Am, it has many bars and clubs offering nightly entertainment. They are all easy to reach by using a local “songthaew”, which is a minivan which offers a shared taxi service wherever you want to go.
During the day, Hua Hin is a typical Thai town with a variety of shops and a local market. Visit the beach which rarely gets crowded and has sunbeds and shady umbrellas for hire. After dark, there are many bars and restaurants to choose from in Hua Hin, particularly down by the fishing port.
Wherever you choose to stay you will certainly enjoy a warm welcome from the friendly Thais and the tropical climate makes it the perfect budget-conscious escape during the colder winter months.