After spending another day exploring Mandalay, it was time to move on, so with Air Asia ticket in hand & a 1-bedroom condo booked for a week through VRBO at the last-minute, (we’re not big planners, needless to say), we headed back to Bangkok, then on to Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand. We quite enjoyed ourselves in Hua Hin last year, but initially thinking it would be good to try someplace different, we considered going to Pattaya. However we were strongly warned by several folks throughout our travels to NEVER, EVER go there! The sex industry is still going strong, (a key money-maker for Pattaya), the beaches dirty, streets overrun with bars & overall just not a nice place to visit.
Hua Hin was initially established as the location of the summer palace of the Thai monarchy. Today the current King & Queen mainly reside in Hua Hin. On any given day you can see navy boats patrolling in the Gulf. Thai people are extremely proud of their heritage & the town offers a real glimpse back into Thailand’s history with its old colonial buildings, active fishing industry & quaint timeless streets. They are devotedly loyal to the monarchy as evidenced by the many billboard portraits of the King & Queen on almost every corner. A jail term is guaranteed if the monarchy is disrespected, such as the recent case where a man was given a 3-year term for mouthing off about the King!
It is now considered low season in Thailand, perfect for us as accommodation costs are very reasonable, tourist traffic down, weather predictable – sunny & 33C during the day, 27C at night. Our condo is at the south end of Hua Hin & we have the option of turning left to Monkey Mountain (so called because of the monkeys that inhabit the area) & walking the fairly populated Hua Hin beach into the downtown area of Hua Hin or turning right & walking Had Sai Noi beach (aka Seapine Beach), a relatively unpopulated beach, to Had Khao Tao, a small fishing village with a temple complex at the beach end. Each direction is about 6K one way, so needless to say we are getting our daily exercise! We much prefer turning right as the latter beach is bordered by a golf course & military compound – safe & unpopulated due to the discrete military presence.
It is always amazing the interesting things found along the way, such as one funky spot, that is sooooo Martha (Bob’s sister & our ‘artist extraordinaire’). This remote area on the beach has a make-shift fence of fishing net with colourful flags flapping in the gulf breeze, item such as lighters, drinking straws, toothbrushes, stuffed animals, hats, shirts, plastic bottles, mismatched flip-flops, etc., no doubt things washed up on shore & things people have added, woven into the netting. So bright, colourful, unexpected, but such fun. We, of course, added to the project with random things found on the beach. Another day we came upon a young newly married couple having their professional photos taken, a surf-board riding beagle & a movie shoot of some kind, with the whole crew, lights & props. Something new & different every day.
We couldn’t pass up having a foot massage & pedicure, followed by a Thai massage one afternoon (ouch!). We had great fun with the staff at the Thai Thai Spa & when one of the girls found out we had a single son back home, she was ready to pack her bags & head to Canada with us…better watch out Mike!!!!
There is so much in Hua Hin to keep us busy as we wish, but we are also enjoying relaxing & kicking back after moving every two or three days these past few months. With less than a week left in our travels, this beach & pool time is really being being enjoyed!