The Venezia Hua Hin
In keeping with the current craze in Thailand of themed shopping villages, Hua Hin has followed suit with the fantastic Venezia Village. In keeping with Asiatique of Bangkok and Palio village in Kao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Venezia Village offers visitors a beautifully themed village inspired by the streets and piazza’s of Venice.
Venezia has even replicated the bell tower of San Marco which can be seen from miles away as you drive through Cha-Am. The village boasts over 73,000 sq metres and over 300 shops, it even has its own “Canal” which visitors can actually ride replica gondolas as if they were in Venice itself. The whole place has an Italian theme, from the colourful houses and shops built in the mediaterranean style which line both sides of the canal, ending in a beautiful mediterranean garden guarded either side by two Christian church-like buildings, which in fact contain a mini zoo…and a Villa Market supermarket.
Oh and if things get to much for you and you’re tired of walking through the enormous park, you can always take a horse and cart and shop in leisure.
Santorini Park Cha-Am
Keeping in tradition with surreal replica villages and towns modelled on famous western cities and styles, Santorini Park is no exception. The whole place is designed around the quintessential Greek island, with narrow cobbled stone streets beset by whitewashed sun-bleached buildings, bright colourful windows and Orthodox style domed towers, you might be forgiven in thinking you’re on an island in the Aegean rather than a southern coastal town in Thailand.
Naturally this stunning shopping village is jam-packed with restaurants and shops, it even has its own amusement theme park to ensure everyone from kids to grandparents have a great time here.
Santorini Park is split into zones to ensure visitors find what they want without getting lost in the greek stre…i mean Thai streets. The Village zone is the most immersive, as you stroll through the streets and soak up the Greek architecture you’ll have nearly 150 boutique shops to choose from for shopping.
Park zone is where you go for entertainment, that’s where amusement park and rides are. With games built across a huge sections of ground, rides like the double-decker carousel, a 40m Ferris wheel, G-MAX Giant Swing and G-MAX reverse bungee, Wallholla climbing wall and XD Dark Ride interactive game.
The Rest zone is where you go to sate your thirst and hunger after a long day shopping. With cafés, restaurants, fast food joints, beauty salons, souvenir’s, convenience stores and even a Hairdressers!
Santorini also has an Activities zone, a 3,000 sq metre space for hosting live concerts and performances outdoors. There is also an Art Market hosted there on the weekends for those looking to find some art and antique bargains.
Black Mountain Water Park
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-filled activity, or just looking to cool off on one of the many, many hot days here in Thailand, Black Mountain Water Park has everything! Built upon a beautiful mountain landscape between Wat Huay Mongkol and Baan Silapin, overlooking a lake and Hua Hin to the horizon. Whether you’re a student with all your friends or a family with 5 kids to entertain, Black Mountain has 9 epic water slides to choose form, as well as some softer, slower slides for those looking to take it a little easier.
The Park was very cleverly designed, with the majority of the main water slides and rides grouped closely together, while the rest of the park offers beautiful scenery with trees, plants and flowers filling the landscape.
From huge towering slides and water chutes that feel more like an aquatic roller-coaster to quiet tranquil pools and leisurely streams to travel with a little less adrenaline, Black Mountain has something for everyone.
Once you enter the park, the staff are kind enough to give you a free locker key bracelet and mini waterproof bag to keep all your belongings from getting wet.
We recommend getting there early, a) to get your parking spot before they’re all gone, b) enjoy the park when it’s a little cooler before the noon-day sun starts cooking you. Most westerners are advised to wear sunscreen as you’ll be out in the open for most of the day, but for those fearless fellows who love topping up their tan, well..you can do what you want 🙂
Plearn Wan Shopping Village
“Plearn Wan” means the “the joy of the old day’s” or “joy of yesteryear”, and it lives up to its name. Plearn Wan is a like a small village stuck in an antique time-warp of 50’s Hua Hin. As you approach Plearn Wan from the street, you will be greeted by an enormous courtyard surrounded by two-story buildings, with shops on the ground floor of every building selling everything under the sun. There is even a hairdressers, a cinema and a twenty room hotel called Piman Plearn Wan
Food, like almost all places in Thailand is the main focus and selling point. There is much more than the normal fare of Noodles and Tom Yam, you can find an incredible mix of different styles, cultures and flavours.
If you’ve eaten to your hearts content, you can move onto shopping till you drop. You will find souvernir stalls, clothing and fashion shops, toys and games, even delicatessens and spice shops selling the most incredible variety of ingredients from around the world. It’s a feast for your eyes even if you’re not there to buy. There is also a small amusement arcade and fairground with games, prizes, roller-coasters and cinema for those who want to catch the latest movie before heading home.
Hua Hin Night Market
In the centre of Hua Hin, nestled between the Railroad and Petchkasem Rd is a sprawling wilderness that is the Night Market of Hua Hin. Although smaller than the infamous Chatuchak Market of Bangkok, it still offers visitors and shoppers the chance to explore a vast array of shops, stalls and tables that line the street. As the name suggests, this place really gets going in the evening with all the shop keepers and stallholders selling their wares to the hordes of locals and tourists alike. Everything from videos, music, art, antiques, clothes to of course, food, something no Thai market would be without. Also, with the close proximity to the sea, there is a fantastic selection of fresh seafood on offer.
Whilst some would argue that a market is not necessarily a “Thing to do”, the fantastic array of items and just the sheer atmosphere and buzz of the place makes the Night Market an activity in itself.
Depending on which end of the street you start, you will either be greeted with bars and restaurants on both sides of the street, a great place to watch the hustle and bustle of the world go by, or you will start at the top of Prapokklao Rd which is jam-packed full of shops, stalls, restaurants and bars to choose from.
If you want to find the best seafood restaurant, you’re welcome to check the Trip Advisor link below to see which restaurants the rest of the world recommends, but the Webster University Thailand blog team can definitely recommend three. Rod Yai, Khaimuk and Ko Seafood are excellent chances and have been the site of libation for many a student and faculty member of Webster.
Whilst this market will never rival the sprawling mini-city markets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, it is a great place to hang out, pick up bargains and watch the world go by…