Less than 200 km and under 2 hours drive south of Bangkok, Hua Hin is one of Thailand’s most popular weekend getaway destinations for Bangkok residents and international tourists alike.
Located in the Prachuap Khiri Khan province, it’s also the location of the King of Thailand’s summer palace. As well as its beautiful beaches, Hua Hin has a wide variety of activities and attractions such as Vana Nava waterpark and adventure playground, Cicada Market and Plearn Wan vintage village, something for kids of all ages really.
Vana Nava Hua Hin is a huge water park and an adventure zone with enough thrills to suit kids of all ages. The Water Jungle Zone has a variety of waterslides, ranging from the Kiddie Cove for littlies to The Abyyss, the largest slide in Thailand and the Aqualoop, the country’s only vertical looping slide.
In fact there are a total of 19 rides to explore in a lush tropical jungle setting, with over 200 species of trees and plants as well as the rather spectacular 31 metre-high Vana Nava Falls, the tallest man-made waterfall in Asia.
The park also boasts year-round live entertainment, a wide variety of dining options and LED lighting in all pools for thrills day and night. The park is open Sunday to Thursday, 10AM-6PM for the Water Jungle zone and 10AM-9PM for the Adventure zone. vananavahuahin.com
The Cicada Market is a hybrid Thai modern culture market that combines four venues: Art A La Mode, Cicada Art Factory, Amphitheatre and Cicada Cuisine. Each venue represents a different aspect of the arts world where you can perhaps purchase handmade bags or take part in arts and crafts workshops.
At Art A La Mode you’ll find various art and craft vendors selling souvenirs, postcards, clothing, handbags and fashion accessories, the Cicada Art Factory is a place for young artists to exhibit their work and the Amphitheatre provides a venue for live entertainment designed to educate as well as entertain guests with Thai cultural dance troupes or theatre, all free of charge.
Cicada Cuisine is the Market’s food zone where you can sample Thai and international foods, from grilled pork satay and Pad Thai to Chinese noodles or Italian pasta dishes.
The Cicada Market is located on Khao Takieb-Hua Hin Road or Hua Hin 87. Open every Friday and Saturday from 4PM – 11PM and Sunday 4PM- 10PM. cicadamarket.com
Plearn Wan shopping village is a living museum where you can experience a slice of life in 1950s Hua Hin. The two-storey courtyard-style building is an architectural statement in itself and houses a community of period-style shops selling everything from toys to snacks and liquor as well as day spas, an outdoor cinema and 20-room guesthouse or ‘Piman Plern wan’.
Street food is highlight of this vintage village, as well as the usual Pad Thai and satay, there are also hard-to-find snacks, such as ‘tong muan sod’ (sweetened pancake) and ‘ka lor jee’ (similar to Japanese mochi), which are cooked up to order at one of the hawker carts lining the walkway along with typical fare such as noodles and barbecued pork over rice.
The market opens everyday from 9AM – 9PM, located on 38 Soi 40, Hua Hin Road, Hua Hin. huahin.bangkok.com/hua-hin/plern-wan