When thinking of the perfect place to study, a resort town in one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tropical nations is probably at the top of most people’s list. Hua Hin fits this description perfectly and is a place that is jam packed with plenty of things to see and do. Whether you’re a bit of a thrill-seeker or just prefer to chill, Hua Hin gives you plenty of choices to do either or both!
As we have heard a hundred times from mum, dad and probably the grandparents too, university is supposed to be one of the most enjoyable times of our lives. While it’s inevitable that we have to spend some time studying, there also needs to be plenty of time kept aside for the fun things in life. Luckily, Webster University’s Hua Hin / Cha Am campus is close to a bunch of different attractions where you can hang out with friends or go exploring solo.
My personal favorite is Vana Nava Hua Hin – marketed as “Asia’s first Water Jungle”. Despite the fancy and somewhat ambiguous name, Vana Nava is essentially a giant water park filled with slippery slides, a ropes course, climbing wall, surf zone and an artificial beach. Situated only a short drive out of Hua Hin city center, a day here is the perfect way to not only relax, but also to get a little bit crazy with friends. First stop for me is always the surf zone located right at the entrance to the park. Despite the fact I surf like a brick (i.e. not at all), it’s always fun for a laugh and to get you primed for the rest of the day. With occasional discounts such as buy-one-get-one-free entry tickets, check the Vana Nava website in advance for special deals.
The obvious place that most people who travel to Hua Hin want to go is the beach. Whilst this is undoubtedly fun, I must admit that my second favorite thing to do actually does not involve any water at all – in fact it is the complete opposite. Instead it involves getting the leg muscles moving and going for an invigorating hike (ok ok ok ‘slow walk’) up to the summit of Khao Hin Lek Fai (Flintstone Hill). Despite it being a little energy sapping, the view from the top is pretty special and in my opinion is definitely worth the visit. If you look hard enough you might just be able to see the Webster University’s Hua Hin / Cha Am campus from the top! Make sure to bring some snacks and a beverage or two so that you can relax and savor the views whilst you’re up there.
Next on my list is – wait for it – Hua Hin Beach! I remember when I first arrived in Thailand, I pictured all of the country’s beaches as consisting of sparkling turquoise waters with a rustic long tail boat being tied up to the pier. Obviously this is not the case and every beach has a very different vibe. Along Hua Hin beach you’ll find a few kilometers of deck chairs and places to lie down in addition to an area offering watersports such as parasailing and jet skiing. If you’re happy to travel just a little further north, you’ll stumble across Cha Am Beach. A little bit more laid back than Hua Hin, there are plenty of places to relax and endless beachfront dining options as well.
Whilst it may appear a little bit left field, whenever I have guests in town I always suggest that we go horse riding. No matter what the weather is doing, I find that a ride along the sand provides a unique perspective on the beachfront area and is a fun way to explore and spend time together. As you trot along the beach you also get a chance to see lots of the uniquely renovated and picturesque summerhouses. Who knows – maybe one day I’ll be able to afford one! There is no prior experience necessary as the jockey will give you an overview of how to ride and steer your horse so that you have fun and safe experience.
The last place I always love to visit is the Bueng Bua Wood Boardwalk at Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. Meaning ‘Three Hundred Mountain Peaks’ in Thai, the name of the park gives you a pretty good indication of what you can expect to see when you’re there. Even though it’s a fair distance out of town (about 60 kilometers), it is easy to get to by either car, or if you’re brave enough, by motorbike. Once inside the 98 square kilometer park you’ll see an abundance of lagoons and marshes – a haven for bird watching and other wild animals. The boardwalk is a little less than 1 kilometer long and provides wonderful views of the marshes and creepy crawlies that live within. Instagrammers, Facebookers, Snapchatters and those with a penchant for any other social media will be in heaven with the photo opportunities on offer. I’d suggest renting a motorbike or pushbike for the day to not only save your legs but also provide that little added element of enjoyment.
With several official holidays on the horizon including the extra-long Songkran weekend, you really must get out there and explore some of these attractions. Happy travels!