Hua Hin & Pattaya
The weekend escapes of Kings and Bangkok society alike
These two beachside escapes are equidistant (you can do it under 3 hours in a car or train, depending on traffic) from Bangkok, albeit in opposite directions from the city. Their proximity to the capital make them lively weekend escapes, favoured by the country’s royals and city folk.
Pattaya is a seaside resort on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, in the province of Chonburi about 150 km southeast of Bangkok. Pattaya is most famous for being the closest beach experience to Bangkok, featuring Jomtien Beach and for the gay community, Dongtan Gay Beach. Also internationally known for its go-go and beer bars, Pattaya is a hot spot for those looking to indulge in their most secretive desires with a vibrant gay scene, in the districts of Boyz Town and Sunee Plaza.
In a few words Pattaya is a party beach resort. So, make sure you go for the full beach experience and visit the vibrant beaches of Pattaya Beach. Then unwind by heading for the calmer, more relaxed Jomtien Beach, where the atmosphere features more of a tranquility. Although Pattaya is a destination undergoing change, with new hotels opening up in recent years focussing on wellness, food and experiences, catering for those not just looking to party.
Other must see attractions are the Pattaya Floating Market, Nong Nooch Gardens, Koh Samet Island, Koh Larn Island and Prasat Satchatham – Santuary of Truth.
Hua Hin is the anthesis to Pattaya – more upscale and laid back, offering visitors a chance to unwind in its hotels and resorts. For decades, it was the seaside residence of the late King, who absolutely loved it there. As a result, Thai aristocracy and socialites bought up properties in the area around the seaside palace; giving it the moniker the “Hamptons of Thailand.”
Hua Hin hasn’t got an LGBT+ scene, but it makes up for it in local culture. The Cicada and Tamarind markets and a number of great seafood restaurants at its heart, sit alongside Thai wineries, hilltop parks and rural temples a little further afield. There’s not alot going on in Hua Hin, especially during the week but for those looking to escape to a beach resort after the madness of a few days in Bangkok without having to get on a plane, Hua Hin is just the tonic.