Choosing between Hua Hin and Khao Yai
We went on a short vacation in Thailand covering Bangkok and Hua Hin on 20-26 April 2017. It was a choice between visiting Khao Yai or Hua Hin as the travel time from Bangkok for both destinations are quite similar. Khao Yai is located about 170 kms Northeast of Bangkok while Hua Hin is at about 200 km southwest. During our facts finding, we also got to know that Hua Hin is a much more developed tourist destination between the two. Many friends have been to Hua Hin but not Khao Yai so it seems that Hua Hin should be visited first.
Choosing between a guided half board tour or self organised
After much research and opinion, we also decided to go on a self organised trip instead of joining a two-to-go half board guided tour. This is in order to avoid having to go for temple visits and compulsory shopping stops that are included in guided tours. Furthermore, we want more flexibility on our meals. Cost wise, self organised tour may not be the cheaper option depending on whether we are willing to take public transport and our choice of food too.
Getting from Bangkok to Hua Hin
There is a non-operating airport at Hua Hin meaning, one needs to fly to Bangkok and lands either at Suvarnabhumi International Airport or Don Mueang International Airport depending on which airlines you are flying. Suvarnabhumi Airport has a more established transportation hub including regular direct bus service to Hua Hin. However, we have been forewarned that the journey may takes up to 4 hours depending on the traffic condition. Furthermore, the bus terminal at Hua Hin is not located at the town centre and one needs to take another shuttle bus to the town centre.
We eventually decided to look for private taxi to bring us to Hua Hin in order to avoid the inconvenience and further delay on arrival at Hua Hin. Bearing in mind that our ETD at Suvarnabhumi Airport is 2.00 pm and will most likely getting into Hua Hin after dark should we take the scheduled bus service.
We found this private transportation provider, Hua Hin Cab, offering transportation to/from/within Hua Hin and their rates are relatively cheaper than many others that I have seen. The best of all, they do not require advance payment where you need to worry whther they will turns up on arrival at the airport.
Once we got to the meet and greet area of the arrival hall at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), a paper with our name was paste on the placard near the designated exit as advised. Once we identify ourselves to the person holding the placard, the usual Thai hospitality was immediately shown and we were lead to the designated car and driver who was waiting for us across the road from the exit. And off we go on our way to Hua Hin.
Our Pit Stop
Our driver recommended this pit stop (or should I say, decided to stop us here) among the many along the highway. This is the food court where we had our first meal in Thailand. It is very much like a small town with a petrol kiosk, convenient shops, food courts (including a halal food centre), fast food outlets etc. We settled for stewed duck rice noodle and it tasted amazing.
And this skewered barbecued pork eventually became our regular night market snack food.
The whole journey took us just under 3 hours and we got into our hotel at Hua Hin, Royal Pavilion Hotel long before sunset.