Hua Hin – A shopper’s paradise?
When you think of the words ‘Thailand’ and ‘shopping’, the name ‘Hua Hin’ is probably not the first place that jumps to mind. However, if you’re willing to explore a little, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what this popular resort town has to offer. No matter what you’re in the market for, Hua Hin has a range of shopping options to suit your tastes and your budget.
Whilst Webster Thailand’s Hua Hin / Cha Am campus is actually located in Cha Am, you’ll most likely be spending a significant amount of your free time in Hua Hin. With a bit more hustle and bustle, nicer beaches, and some of the comforts of home, Hua Hin is home to a large population of students and expats alike. And it’s here that you’ll find most of your shopping options.
From night markets to local produce markets and even modern malls, it’s pretty easy to find everything that you need and probably even a few things that you don’t but end up buying anyway because they are either just such good value for money or maybe just so unique or cute. Here is a list of my top five shopping spots in Hua Hin / Cha Am, most within relatively easy reach of Webster University Thailand.
Hua Hin Night Market
The first stop on most people’s shopping itinerary is the Hua Hin Night Markets. Jam-packed full of food stalls offering snacks, grilled seafood and many more Thai favorites, make sure not to eat before coming! There are also plenty of options to buy pre-packaged goodies for late night study sessions or to send to family and friends back home. For students at Webster University Thailand for a semester or even a year, it is also a good place to buy souvenirs as a reminder of your time in Hua Hin.
It should be mentioned that the night markets are more than just a place to grab a bite to eat. You can also find a pretty good selection of clothes, handicrafts and other knick-knacks. If you’re thinking about buying a few things to liven up your accommodation then a visit here is definitely recommended. On weekends you might want to arrive a little early to avoid the inevitable crowds.
Hua Hin Day Market
I bet you’re probably confused and thinking “what could possibly be the difference between the night markets and the day markets?” Also known as Chat Chai, the day markets are located – wait for it – right next door to the night market! However, in stark contrast, this market is mostly full of fresh produce and daily essentials. It is here that many local Thais will go to do their daily shopping.
Whilst there isn’t so much to buy here per se, it is definitely worthwhile for a wander and for a small insight into Thai life. It can be a good place to pick up some small snacks and a cold drink, but really the joy is in the experience itself.
Upon first glance, one might think that the Cicada Market was designed with university students specifically in mind! The open-air concept lends itself to relaxation and contains not only a craft market, but also an art gallery, beer garden and live music stage. It is the perfect place to meet up with a group of friends, grab a meal, digest some culture and do a little shopping at the same time.
The market itself is conveniently divided into three parts i.e. Art a la Mode (clothes, decorations and crafts), Art Indoors (paintings and artwork) and Art of Eating (my favorite). Art of Eating is set outside in an open-air garden and offers everything from Thai food to the farang favorites of steaks and pastas.
Cicada Market is located a little out of the main downtown area, about halfway between Hua Hin town and Khao Takiab. Open only on weekends, it is definitely worth the drive.
Hua Hin Antique Shop – Baansillapin
Whenever I travel abroad I always try and find something authentic from the place I visit. Whenever I have guests that come to visit a stop by the Hua Hin Antique Shop never disappoints. Set up to look like a flea market, the store contains just about anything you could ever imagine, from teapots to toys to tricycles. Whilst it’s unlikely that you’ll be buying something here to take home with you, it is an enjoyable place to window shop. Who knows, you might even find a bargain!
Cha-Am Premium Outlet Mall
What Webster University student doesn’t love a good bargain? At Cha-Am Premium Outlet Mall you’ll find tons of international brands at knockdown prices. Whether it be to replenish your wardrobe before heading home, or just for the sake of it, you’ll undoubtedly find something that takes your fancy.
Depending on what sales are on offer you can normally find discounts of up to 50% off. The best part is that it is open everyday of the week including weekends. This means that you can drop by after class or simply wander around at your leisure on the weekend.