Accommodation is part of travelling. You go abroad to explore foreign countries, their food, their culture – or you might just want to relax. This is much easier on a nice beach and with a change of scenery than at home, next to the dirty laundry that needs doing.
Accommodation has to be sorted out, but isn’t really part of the reason why you go on a holiday. Nevertheless, it’s important. It’s where your suitcase sits and where you lay your head. It’s your home away from home for the time being, a little safe oasis.
Loz and I have experienced a whole range of these places throughout our lives (maybe not the super-deluxe suite normally reserved for royalty, but there’s still hope). For our travels, we usually opt for budgety stays, as it lets us travel longer, but of course we are also happy when we get invited to stay at and review the more upper-class places.
Everyone reviews their accommodation anyway, don’t they? You just don’t do it on a blog, normally. But you still spend time thinking and talking about it, you take pictures of your room, of the view from your terrace (or your camper-van, let’s not be one-sided here) and of the funky little statue in the lobby. I always do.
Admittedly, the posher it gets, the more looks wander your way when you get excited about something like the little statue. Try to look bored while taking the picture, is what I recommend here. You can do it.
This splendid tip admittedly did not work for me when we rocked up for our review-gig at Nern Chalet in Hua Hin. Special caution was advised, since Hua Hin is Thailand’s oldest and most exclusive sea resort. It’s just 150 km away from Bangkok and was made popular with the High Society by King Rama VI himself when he visited in the 1920s, and afterwards decided to build a summer residence here, which is actually still frequented by the Royal Family (somehow they didn’t ask us to review it. Probably next time.). Alas I tried to be extra contained but already struggled before we even made it to the reception, because I had to stop to take a photo of this picture:
I don’t exactly know what it is with this “I need to take this picture NOW”-thing, but I’m blaming it on travelling and numerous occasions when you thought you could take a picture of something later, and then you couldn’t. And no, I won’t be fooled anymore!
No eyebrows were raised though by the polite receptionist and without further diversions (because I made an effort to look at the floor instead of taking in more potential shots of the place) we were shown our room, but didn’t pay too much attention to it, to be honest, because we had to first hop on our terrace and check out the view. After 6 weeks of travelling Thailand, this was the first time we were right at the sea, and it was definitely the first time we could see the beach from our room – and I mean, actually from inside our room, because two of its four walls were tinted windows.
Hua Hin is a city with a very laid-back feel to it, and it’s very much alive, but certainly not hectic. Nern Chalet, being a bit away from the centre (which I thought to be an advantage – and cheap public transport to the city runs regularly throughout the day) mirrors that perfectly. This is such a nice, calm, open, relaxed green place! Never crowded (might be difficult anyway; with the 18 rooms they have), but there’s always someone reading a book over an ice tea, or tanning away on one of the deck chairs right next to the infinity pool.
As far as I could tell, some people did not feel any urge to leave the property. Other people also did not feel any urge to leave the property but believed they had to provide a little more than “The place was so nice we actually have no idea what to see and do around it because we just hung out there” on their blog. Please acknowledge our many, many sacrifices to the profession of travel-blogging. Thank you.
So we inquired with the ever-helpful and friendly staff what to do and what to see, got a little map and set off – to the beach. Because Nern Chalet sits at the end of Takieb Beach, right next to Monkey Mountain (and a monkey we did see) or Thao Takiap (Takiap Hill) or Chopstick Hill (hey, nobody said there were any rules why one mountain couldn’t have three different names!), but if you walk down the street for 10 minutes, you come to a second beach, Suan Son Beach.
‘Son’ means ‘pinetree’, and that’s what this beach is lined with – very nice. It’s necessary to check out all beaches available, of course, which we did with this one. We walked its whole length of around 6 km, with only the first 200 metres being busy, passed beach art, too, and arrived in the little fishing village of the name Baan Khao Tao, another popular destination because of a wat with a gigantic golden Buddha who is sitting on top of a hill, looking out over the tiny port with its few boats.
So you can get your wat on. If you feel particularly ambitious, head to the hill (Khao Klailat) over the road from Nern Chalet and climb up to the temple complex that lies on top of it. Just a tiny amount of steep steps later you have a good view over the beach front (“Look! There’s my hotel!”).
You can also go shopping downtown – there is Chatchai market, a traditional Thai shopping place, with many stalls, and there is the massive Market village, a mall more of the Western experience. There’s a fish market early in the morning at the Fishing Pier, and there’s a floating market that you best have the lovely staff from Nern Chalet arrange transport for you to.
Then there are also the night markets – two to choose from, in fact; one being more touristy and featuring exquisite dining options, the other one a bit more for the locals and also more low-key. Both are nice and worth exploring!
In the actual town centre of Hua Hin, there’s a tiny Chinese temple right at the sea-side, and a lot of cafés and bars – AND, there’s the train station – you think that’s an odd sight to mention? Far from it in this case: the Hua Hin train station is said to be the prettiest in Thailand, and regularly appears on lists of the most beautiful train stations worldwide. Again, that might be because of the royal touch (it has a waiting pavilion for the King on the platform).
Hua Hin is also very popular for golfers and kite surfers (wind strength 4-6, anyone?), in case you felt particularly sporty. You can of course just WATCH the kite surfers (somewhere this counts as sport, too, I’m sure).
The thing is: you arrive at Hua Hin and have this nice “Aaaah, nothing to do here, just reeeelax”-feeling, but the deeper you dig, the more stuff you can actually do, and I’m not even talking about the surrounding area. Thankfully, this is all not too much in your face, and so you can do what one is often only too tempted to do: acknowledge the many options of leisure management with glee – and then choose to ignore it all, plant your rear end firmly in a comfy chair next to the infinity pool, positioned just right to take in a view of the beach, the ocean, the hill with the large Buddha statue from the monkey mountain – and just do nothing.
Nern Chalet is certainly perfect for that. Oh, it is! It was a pleasure staying there and we can whole-heartedly recommend it to you. They also get extra golden bonus points for having a brilliant website which completely rids me of the effort to list any information you need when visiting, as I couldn’t do it half as good. Do check it out, and learn a bit more, because I haven’t told you everything… How’s that for a mystery ending? I’m one step away from being the next Agatha Christie…
Anyway, I hope this post gave you a little bit of information about Hua Hin and where to stay there – it might come in useful one day! Happy travels to everyone.
As is fairly obvious I imagine, our stay at Nern Chalet in Hua Hin was provided to us in return for us penning up our thoughts, whatever those happened to be, on the property. During our time in Hua Hin we also stayed at a self catered property from the same owners as Nern Chalet – the Ploen Terrace. You can read up as to our thoughts on that experience here.