There is a growing expat population living in Hua Hin. It is said that there are 3,000 to 5,000 expatriates and 80,000 Thais who live here. With more than 1 million tourists who come every year, it many times seem like more. Many expatriates from Europe, America, Australia and Russia, have retired here while others have a second home in Hua Hin. It has made what was once a sleepy fishing village a little more crowded and exciting place. While still primarily a tourist resort, there are more and more international flavor to Hua Hin and it makes life here a little more interesting.
Thailand’s upper class began to building second homes in Hua Hin when the railway station was completed in 1923 and the next generation began buying condos in the 1990s. Expatriates really started to move in after the tsunami in the Andaman Sea in 2004. There are many residential, luxury condominiums and real estate agents who cater mainly to foreign buyers. Prices range from about 2 million baht to more than 30 million baht depending on the location and facilities.
The community is growing!
As the Farangs grow in numbers (Thai for foreigners) there are more and more services aimed at this community. One of them being is a local English language newspaper, Hua Hin Today. Internet forums (ThaiVisa) and local Facebook groups are there to connect local expats, to discuss ongoings or to sell items to one another. There’s also an English language radio station takes requests, even by SMS.
Join the large local expat group Hua Hin Buy & Sell on Facebook. It’s mostly used to advert items and services, but also acts as a quick help platform for pressing questions related to your stay in Hua Hin.
For the residents living in Hua Hin, great news! Villa Market in Hua Hin is there to cater to your needs, and makes it irrelevant to travel to Bangkok for high quality provisions. Villa is probably the best source for imported goods, including (expensive) fresh vegetables from Japan, Australia and the United States-they opened around 0800. There is a new supermarket in Venezia Villa Mall, at the north entrance to Palm Hills. Technically in Cha Am, it is accepted by the people in the north of Hua Hin which no longer have to travel through the city to get to the original location.
Market Village Mall has a Tesco / Lotus and Home Pro and many restaurants and bakeries. Gee Markets and goods necessary to try and share Hua Hin Shopping Mall tired a lot and often easier to get in and out of the malls, especially on weekends. With both Tesco / Lotus and restaurant / Macro-oriented new hotel (with a large selection of spices and stuff the restaurant) is now open, almost all the bases covered. A new mall, up-scale construction will begin southern town that would compete with the best in Bangkok. It must meet the high rollers in the city.
A Big C Market has opened at Lau Pa Rd, about 1 km west of the railway crossing at Chomsin Rd. As south Tesco / Lotus Market Phetkasaem cities in opposite Soi 114, two stores is not a full-sized super stores, but offer fresh produce, meat, and a little bread. Both are larger than the average convenience store-maybe a quarter of the size of a super center. They also open early, 0700’s and 0800’s Tesco Big C, which is great for early risers who do not want to wait until Tesco in Market Village opened in 0900. The Big C center also has a Dunkin Donuts, Pure Pharmaceuticals, and KFC.
Shopping for Furniture
There are several specialty shops of furniture in Hua Hin now offers teak and other exotic wood furniture for the premium. Unless you are interested in traveling to Chiang Mai and have your goods delivered back to Hua Hin, you might not mind a premium. Index Living Mall can outfit the whole house from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen and their relatives, winner, just down the road from the Index. Pro is a fun DIY home with everything from lighting to paint for tiles for an alarm system. Interior design company, Hua Hin is the oldest in the Cabinet, and the kitchen is good, can fill your entire house.
One area that is lacking in Hua Hin, and quite a lot in Thailand in general, is a source for a kitchen gadget. If you’re looking for a variety of pots for baking, digital kitchen scales, or other new stuff that you see on cable cooking shows, you will end up going to Bangkok and may be disappointed even then. A new macro has solved many of the problems. Unlike other Makro in Thailand, one in Hua Hin has everything from imported beef, lamb, and lobster to live for digital scales, ice cream maker and vacuum packaging equipment.
Tesco Lotus offers people living in Hua Hin grade beef but Villa Market has Thai French and imported beef and lamb. Macro also offers imported beef and lamb. The Boucherie – Jean Pierre opened in 2009 in Petchkasem Rd. but recently moved to Soi 88. If you come from Petchkasem Rd, cross RR tracks, make an immediate right and then left to stay on 88 and you will find a very friendly butcher about 500 meters or more above the right (north) side of the road. They also bring the beef Thai French and homemade sausage. It’s a small shop with limited parking so keep a look out or you’ll miss it.
Things to do
In addition to many activities listed on another page here, there is also a pool and darts league, bowling lawn, and a few pub / restaurant has a quiz night. Many pubs are open late to watch European football. There is a bridge club that meets two afternoons each week. There are English-speaking Rotary Club and Women Expat Group. A website for expat women, Chicky Net, has a group in Hua Hin.
- Relaxing on the beach, sunbathing, cocktails at the various beach bars etc.
- Kite surfing / water sport activities
- Golf – there are many great golf courses in Hua Hin
- Language school – Learn a bit of Thai
- Cooking school – Learn how to cook Thai Cuisine
- Social groups – there are many social groups in Hua Hin for varies interests
- Biking & Hiking – See the nature
- Restaurants – Hua Hin has a large and wide variety
- Massage – 1 or 2 hours feeling good
- Bars and Karaokee – Play pool, sing a song or simply have a good time!
Schools for kids, big and small
For those with children, there are international schools using English curriculum. There is also Webster International University and Stamford International University offers BAs and MBAs. These schools are not competing with better international school in Bangkok but standards increase each year due to increased demand and adult schools. Further information about Yam Saard School can be found here.
There are also schools that offer lessons in Thai and other schools that offer courses in everything from Thai cooking, carving fruit, Yoga, kiting, TEFL, Thai massage, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Thai Chi and driving on the left.
Bookazine, Megabooks and Asia Books all have outlets in Hua Hin, offers English and European language books and magazines. International newspapers available in several languages
Every major bank now offers convenient mobile applications for those living in Hua Hin, which make banking so much easier. To be eligible for a bank account, you must have a 1 year visa to Thailand.
Direct numbers to the local branches
- Bank of Ayudhya 032511-120
- Bangkok Bank 032511-717
- Bank thai Farmer 032-530-501
- Krung Thai Bank 032511-812
- Siam City Bank 032-511-203
- Siam Commercial Bank 032532-421
Going to the dentist – Numbers
- Cool Smile Dental Clinic 032513-989
- Dentistry 2000 032 536-957
- Hua Hin Dental Clinic 032531-510
- Sudjit Dental Clinic 032515-947
Need new glasses?
Optics has acquired niche stores open without earthly reason why in Hua Hin. There are dozens of Optics here already and one national chain seems to be opening a new branch every month. It’s like they are competing with 7-11 to see how many branches they may have with 100 meters of each other. Sorting like Starbucks in some western city.
- Optical Chokechai 081 378-2333
- Pro Optic 032511-117
- Optic time 032511-360
Going to the doctor
Bangkok Hospital has opened a large hospital in Hua Hin, greatly improving the quality of medical care with high end machines and cutting edge service and technology. There are also other hospitals, such as Sau Paulo or the public Hua Hin hospital located at Hua Hin Soi 10.
Getting and staying connected
Thailand used to be a place where a decent Internet connection would be hard to come by. But no more. Thailand has made great investments in infrastructure and the Internet products here now outperforms similar products in Europe, both in speed and price. For those of you living in Hua Hin, you can get up t0 1000mbit – yes, 1 Gigabit – Internet for only 1590 baht per month, or a more moderate 50/50mbit for 590 baht per month though 3BB internet company.
If you’re on the move, almost every restaurant or coffee shop will offer free WiFi, or alternatively you can get a 4G equipped sim card for your phone, although data these days goes fast, so be aware.
EMERGENCY NUMBERS – WRITE THEM DOWN
- Fire 199
- Police 191
- Tourist police in 1699
- The highway police 1193
- Police Station 032511-027
- Tourist Service Center 1155
- Hua Hin Hospital 032511-743
- Red Cross 032512-567
- Railway 032511-073
Computers, phones, gizmos and other electronics
Banana IT, on the third floor of the Village Market is the largest computer shop in Hua Hin but there are a few small shops and kiosks in malls and around the city. Apple, Samsung, LG, Nokia and several other brand names have shops and service centers for electronics and smartphones.
There are also many small shops that sell mobile phones, tablets and accessories at the mall and around the city. Most major brands have a Maintenance Center in Hua Hin.
For TV and, larger, more electronic equipment trying Tesco-Lotus, Makro and many other shops. Prices in Thailand are often more expensive than in the US European countries or many but they are on a tourist visa to 7% VAT refunded at the airport on departure.
The Hua Hin Immigration
The immigration office handles tourist visas, extensions, student and marriage visa and other services related to the legal stay of those living in Hua Hin. Open Monday to Friday 0830-1630 hours (closed for lunch).
GPS location: 12.553219,99.898742. / 12°33’11.6″N 99°53’55.5″E