Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The hidden charms of Hua Hin!

There was only one answer to the message that our Bangkok moving-in date was delayed, due to trouble in Singapore and of course, it's too rude to print here.

Don't you just love it when everyone blames everyone else? Even better, when another country is at fault! I did have a wry smile though as when I was asked by Mr Wren whether I had a preference to live in either Bangkok and Singapore, I said Singapore, but 

"the Company said No!" 

They said, it was too expensive to move us there. So when our furniture ended up in Singapore, I felt like saying a big fat "see!" But I decided to take the more grown-up approach, and say 'let's go to the beach instead".

So here we are, we've driven just over two hours out of Bangkok to Hua Hin. We left at 7 am to beat the endless traffic jams, but it was still a slow at times, bumper to bumper drive. At the moment we're in the hot and dry season and so it feels like every Bangkokian and their dog, had the same idea to escape the heat. 

Hua Hin has been popular with the Royal family since Rama Vii built his Summer Palace here in the 1920's.  The 8 km sandy beach became popular, not only with the royals, but within Siam's nobility, and is clearly still a much loved holiday spot for all Thais escaping sultry, humid Bangkok. 

If you drive the other way out Bangkok you find further sort of torrid, arriving at another once sleepy fishing village, Pattaya the town that sex built. 

So I have chosen royalty over the later - just call me boring.

We booked our hotel room at the last minute. We'd already got an idea about how popular a destination it was, finding it tricky to find a room, but also we couldn't get over how flippin' expensive it was. Don't forget this is the third room we are paying for this Saturday night, after our temporary apartment, our new apartment, which we can't move into without the furniture, and now a hotel room! We were working to a tight budget.

We were very happy to find Ruen Kanok, a local Thai guest house at the south end of Hua Hin Beach that would do us just nicely. After a lovely frozen lemongrass welcome drink, quick swim in the pool and a Thai massage, we head for a stroll along the beach to see the Cicada night market, setting up. The band were warming up and the Hawker food market looked amazing! However we had a date with a sunset and cocktails as it was definitely sundowner time! 

The Hua Hin beach is busy and whilst we had a great girls weekend there a few years ago, after the vast expanses of Australian beaches, it feels crowded and nothing special. The next morning, however, we saw the magic of the place. We were up with the lark, ready to walk to the Big Buddha statue.

We enjoyed our walk past the standing Big Buddha, without the crowds and hike to the top of Wat Khoo Takiab. Just us, some playful monkeys and a couple of monks. It was ten times better without the tourists! As we climb higher up monkey mountain, being careful to hide anything that the cheeky monkeys might want to pinch, we start to see the Gulf of Thailand in all it's glory. 

On the way back we spot a man having driven a cart onto the beach, throwing barrels of liquid into the sea.

'Oi, Oi, Oi what do we have here?'

He sees our suspicion and calls us over to show us the baby crabs he is releasing back into the sea. We're feeling pretty bad that our western natural assumption, was one of scepticism. Instead of local pollutants, we have stumbled upon the local environmental protection brigade and hello 'save the crabs' at work... Ok, so they will eventually be eaten by the tourists, but clearly, all is not what it may have at first seemed. 

We later read that the local 'Cha-am Municipality regularly gives baby blue crabs to local fishermen to release them into the sea to promote the conservation of traditional crab catching methods' For more click here

We returned back to our guest house for breakfast
and more time by the pool. 
Royal Hua Hin, has charmed the locals for a long time,
and we're beginning to see why.
We will be back!

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