A short trip from Bangkok to Hua Hin or Cha Am is a more relaxed alternative to Pattaya, with less tourists, less lady bars, less… madness. So how to get there?
Bangkok to Hua Hin / Cha Am by Minivan
Minivans to Hua Hin and Cha Am leave regularly (every 30-45 minutes) from Victory Monument. Take the BTS sky train to the station of the same name and go down the stairs to Thanon Paya Thai road. Walk towards the Victory Monument (about 50 metres) and just as you reach the roundabout you will see a busy minivan station to your right, that’s also where the bus stop is located. Chances are high that you will be approached by some ticket vendor straight away asking you (in English) where you want to go, otherwise just go to one of the many ticket booths and ask for your destination, Hua Hin or Cha Am. Don’t worry, there are no scams and foreigners don’t pay more for the tickets than local Thais.
Minivans go to both destinations, the journey to Cha Am takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes (about 180 Baht one way) and Hua Hin 30 minutes more (about 210 Baht one way). Services from early morning until about 8pm in the evening, 7 days a week.
If you go to Cha Am, they may not drop you directly in Cha Am town on the beach but on the main road (while continuing the journey to Hua Hin, 40km further down south). You can either take a motorbike taxi for 50 Baht or just walked as I did, it takes you about 20 minutes to reach the beach. It’s a relaxing walk with only few houses, people and vehicles along the way. Quite refreshing coming from busy Bangkok.
Since most tourists are heading to Hua Hin, the minivan will drop you somewhere near the beach so you can walk straight to your hotel/guesthouse – or look for one.
On your way back just go where the minivan dropped you – if you are staying in less touristy Cha Am you will have to go back to the main road. There are a few ticket offices that you can book your minivan back to Bangkok for the same price. Make sure you don’t go back too late, the last service is at around 9pm.
Bangkok to Hua Hin / Cha Am by Train
There are 12 daily departures from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station. Cha Am and Hua Hin are on the same railway line that goes all the way down to the Malaysian border. As usual, there are various types of trains with different kinds of classes.
For example, the first train of the day only has 3rd class coaches – and the 4 hour trip to Hua Hin costs only 44 Baht. A second class ticket (later on the day) costs 102 Baht and a first class ticket costs 202 Baht. You can check the exact departure times on Thailand Railway Official Site.
Below is a video I took during my recent trip on the 9:20 am train – 3rd class coach: