Paradise City

The royal sea resort town of Hua Hin is irrecoverably changing.

The Royals, Khunyings and Phuyais still give the formerly very sleepy town its unique charme. Hua Hin – Bangkok’s veranda of detente – is still the Bangkokians’ favored place to get their doses of fresh air and space.

But that past long Chulalongkorn Day weekend again was another sign of what Hua Hin sadly is steering into.

Even during the quiet afternoon hours Petchkasem Road was jammed.

Police had to block certain right and left turns and if you’d ventured to Market Village, well, welcome to the war for parking spaces.

Hua Hin – or “Paradise City”, as the city wants to rename itself – is on everybody’s map.

After the recent opening of the Sheraton Hua Hin there’s not a major international hotel chain that hasn’t yet a resort in Hua Hin.

At the same time we hear from locals about more mafia type property developers, fighting in the streets, law suits, ripping off, you name it.

BangkokDan hasn’t come across too much of the tasteless yet. Locals still seem to be that pleasant breed with their lives ticking some notches slower than in Bangkok.

The kanae phra khem and sataw panaeng kung at the Night Market’s Moo Seafood are still worth traveling hours for it – only outranked by Somboon’s crab curry in Bangkok.

But more and more new businesses move into Hua Hin. We got McDonald’s, Villa Market is – finally! – about to open a branch on Soi 84 near Komapastr, and talk doesn’t quiet down about a major international venture, such as Disneyland, moving in, even though we know by now, Mickey Mouse doesn’t have a thing for Hua Hin.

But once the six lanes of highways 4 and 35 are finished and open, the better road access from Bangkok will invite a whole new set of developments. And problems. Next step is a bigger airport for Boeings and Airbuses?

The royal resort town is still a laid back gem.

Busy times though already change Hua Hin into a sad mess. Sometimes you don’t even get food, places are that cramped.

To digest the traffic chaos Hua Hin should have long ago built a by-pass.

But TIT.

Hua Hin’s next new high season will be more chaotic and hefty than ever. In fact after April inevitably the low season will move in again.

From April onwards Hua Hin will become that same old sleepy ghost gown again – which is the time you should be in Hua Hin. Sad for local entrepreneurs, redemption though for the rest of us folks.

For the time ahead though be prepared for Hua Hin’s loudest, unhealthiest high season so far.

Luckily we have His Majesty in town, in his picturesque Wang Klai Kang Won Palace, the Palace “far away from sorrows” – Thailand’s little Sans Souci.

The King’s fortunate quiet presence is worth so much more than any development or infrastructure could give to Hua Hin.

But have to go shopping now. With a fully loaded iPod installed in the car. For the long wait at the traffic lights.

Reprinted without permission from