Bangkok is one of the world’s most-visited cities. And it’s not hard to see why…. Fantastic entertainment, great food and fabulous shopping… you’ll find the lot in this fast-paced city and it should certainly be on your bucket list. But, when I touch down here, I don’t tend to hang about. I’m just passing through en route to Hua Hin, the beachside resort town on Thailand’s Royal Coast that I—and many other Aussie expats like me who set out in search of a sea change—call home.
Hua Hin is located about 200 kilometres south of Bangkok, on the Gulf of Thailand and the journey there can take as little as three hours, depending on pick up and drop off locations. The majority of people make their way by road. However, you can also take the train…or even fly.
Suvarnabhumi Airport Bus
If you are arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s main international airport, Roong Reuany Coaches (RRC) operate a First Class Bus Service that’s reliable, safe, comfortable and good value. The bus leaves nearly every hour between 06:30 and 19:30. The cost is 269 Baht plus a 50 Bhat booking fee (about $11.20), with an online booking fee of $2. The journey takes about three-and-a-half to four hours, depending on traffic.
Note: If you’re travelling from Hua Hin to the airport to catch a flight, make sure you allow for traffic delays.
In Suvarnabhumi airport, once you have collected your luggage and cleared all formalities make your way to Level 1 and adjacent to Gate 8 you will find the VIP Bus Counter. Luggage on the bus is limited to one checked bag, weighing a maximum of 20kg and one carry-on bag, however extra luggage allowance can be purchased. The 23-seater, VIP, air-conditioned bus, is equipped with seatbelts, reclining seats and toilet. It is strongly recommended to buy tickets in advance.
In Hua Hin, the bus terminates about nine kilometres north of town centre. From this airport bus terminal, there is a shared van service to many Hua Hin hotels for 100 Baht ($4) per person.
Don Muang Airport to Hua Hin
This bus service is not as convenient as that from Suvarnabhumi as the Sombat Bangkok Bus Station is located about 17 kilometres from Don Mueang airport, in the Chatuchak region of Bangkok. This means a taxi from Don Mueang to Sombat Bangkok Bus Station. A metered taxi should cost approximately 170 to 200 Baht ($7 to $8).
Coach standards are similar to Suvarnabhumi VIP Buses (RRC) when it comes to comfort and value.
Departing Sombat Bangkok Bus Station four times a day between 06:00 and 18:30, the trip typically takes four hours, traffic depending. It’ll set you back approximately $10 and some buses even have massage chairs!
Luggage is limited to 25kg. The main Hua Hin terminal is conveniently located just south of the town centre making it easy to get to accommodation options within Hua Hin. There is a couple more drop off locations, which are detailed on their website. Online booking is not currently available.
There aren’t currently direct flights from Bangkok to Hua Hin. However, flights (helicopter or private jet) may be chartered. From 18th May 2018 Air Asia commences a direct air service from Kuala Lumpur to Hua Hin and there is talk of further airlines starting domestic or international service into Hua Hin over the next 12 to 24 months. Hua Hin’s airport is located about nine kilometres north of the town centre.
The air-conditioned mini vans seat up to 15 people. Space is very limited and luggage is basically carry-on (your lap). These were once renowned for speeding and unsafe driving but to curb such behaviour authorities have legislated that these vans are fitted with GPS monitoring and some even equipped with speed limiters. That said, you may still find drivers using their mobile phone while driving.
Commencing at Mo Chit Bus Station, Bangkok the mini vans terminate at Soi 51 in central Hua Hin, making it relatively easy to find local transport transfers to your accommodation. They depart about every 90 minutes from 05:00 to 17:30 with the trip typically taking four hours. Tickets are available online through a booking agency (see: https://12go.asia/en). At 220 Baht (around $9), it’s a very inexpensive way to get to your destination.
Depending on which train you take, the journey can take anywhere from three-and-a-quarter to four-and-a-half hours (Ordinary or Special Express). Trains depart from Hua Lamphong Station, Bangkok’s central train station. The station’s Italian Neo-Renaissance-style, with decorated wooden rooves and stained-glass windows, is worth a visit just to marvel at the architecture.
There are different classes of train travel to Hua Hin starting from 44 Baht ($1.85) in third class without air-conditioning to 412 Baht ($17.15) for an air-conditioned second-class seat. You may find booking through online websites may be easier to navigate than the State Railways site. Alternately, you can purchase tickets at the train station. Either way, advance planning and research are essential.
Hua Hin station is a beautiful and popular attraction with its own Royal Waiting Room.