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Hua Hin Prajuab Kirikhan Information Guide

Hua Hin Prajuab Kirikhan Thailand

Hua Hin, 238 km south of Bangkok on the sunrise side of the gulf, is a middle class beach resort favored by Thai families and Western travelers seeking an alternative to Pattaya.

The eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand has long been favored by the royalty of Siam. In 1868, King Mongkut constructed his "Town of the Eclipse" to house hundreds of farangs whom the king had witness the August solar eclipse. The next royal discovery took place in 1910 after a hunting party organized by Prince Chakrabongse charged across the lovely beach of Hua Hin. The prince was so impressed that he built a huge summer villa, which still stands in the northern perimeter of town. In 1923, King Vajiravudh erected a long, teakwood palace called Deer Park connected by wooden corridors to the white sand beach.

Hua Hin developed as Thailand's original beach resort shortly after WW I with the construction of the Southern Railway and the new summer palace of King Prajadhipok, which was called Klai Kangwon, "Far From Worries." The final touch was the completion of the nation's first international golf course and the famous Railway Hotel. Initially favored by Thai royalty and the wealthy elite, the Railway Hotel—an elegant Victorian structure now renamed the Sofitel— later stood in as Cambodia's leading hotel in the film The Killing Fields. Among the Thais, Hua Hin still plays an important role in royal his tory since His Majesty, King Bhumibol, maintains a palace and occasionally visits to sail his singleand double-handed boats.

Recently, Hua Hin has witnessed explosive growth that has transformed the once -idyllic seaside resort into a mega-destination that belies her nickname—Queen of Tranquility. The beach is a messy affair of tacky souvenir stalls, plastic bags, water-scooters, and other curses of uncontrolled development. Massive hotels loom over a rather intimate beach. Local authorities are now working to implement some much needed zoning laws and sort out the problems of pollution, overdevelopment, traffic, and theft that confront Hua Hin.

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