Monthly Archives: January 2012

Two New Floating Markets in Hua Hin

Hua Hin Floating Market

During 2011, two purpose built floating markets opened in the seaside resort of Hua Hin. Surprisingly, not only did they open during the same year, but they also can both be found down Soi 112 which is about 6 kilometres away from the city center. I visited them over the new year holiday and both of them were very crowded with tourists. I’m not sure at this stage which one will survive.

Hua Hin Floating Market

The first one that you will come across is Hua Hin Floating Market (see map). You can’t miss it. When we arrived the queue for the car park went out onto the main road. My first impressions were good. All of the shops were built in a retro style to remind you of the olden days in Hua Hin. The boardwalk around the lake is wide which allows you plenty of space as you explore the shops. There are no cheap or tacky souvenirs here. Most things are good quality handmade products that you won’t find elsewhere.

Hua Hin Floating Market

Hua Hin Floating Market is open Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. They have stage shows during the day at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. You can also join a boat tour which is 200 Baht for four people. It seems to be a good place to do some shopping for a few hours and then sit down for a meal. Most people came here by private car but I heard that there is a public songtaew from the town for 20 Baht.

Hua Hin Samphannam Floating Market

If you drive a short distance away from this market, and then turn left at an intersection, you will see almost immediately Hua Hin Samphannam Floating Market (see map). Like the other market, this one was also very crowded. But as Samphannam covers a much bigger area, I would say that there were far more people here. There are 193 shops and 40 vendor boats. The floating market is built around a lake that was already there. The buildings might not be as stylish as at the other market, but it had its own charm.

Hua Hin Samphannam Floating Market

I like Hua Hin Samphannam Floating Market more than the other one. This is mainly because they have many more activities that you can take part in. It isn’t all about shopping. The boat trip here is only 20 Baht each. You can also join a train trip around the market for the same price. There are also daily shows. At one end there is a replica lighthouse as well as beached fishing boats. Plenty of photo opportunities here which Thai people love. The best thing for me was the wide variety of food available.

Hua Hin Samphannam Floating Market

Hua Hin Samphannam Floating Market is open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Most people come here by private car. There is enough parking for 1,000 cars and it was full when I visited. Like the other market, you can take a public songtaew here from the town for 20 Baht. You probably don’t want to do both of them in one day, but if you are in Hua Hin for a week then it is worth visiting both. But, if you only have time for one, then go to Hua Hin Samphannam Floating Market. It has a much better atmosphere.

Caroline Wozniacki Goes to Thailand

Caroline Wozniacki, the world’s number one female tennis player, was back in Thailand recently to take part in the World Tennis Invitation Hua Hin 2012. This was her second time to take part in this exhibition match in the seaside resort of Hua Hin (see my report from last year). Caroline has really fallen in love with the country and the people. She didn’t just come over for the tennis match as she came here early with her parents to celebrate the new year. Her boyfriend, world No.2 golfer Rory McIlroy, arrived a few days later.

I thought that this was only her second time in Thailand as last year she was telling everyone that she had never been before. However, at the press conference she revealed that she has been back quite a few times. She told reporters, “I’ve been to Thailand six or seven times. I’m basically half Thai”. Caroline went on to say that she loves the people and the culture. During this trip she was able to ride horses on the beach at Hua Hin, play with elephants, cook some Thai food and enjoy a spa at the InterContinental which she described as “unbelievable”.

At the exhibition match, Caroline played against Victoria Azarenka, on the left of this picture, who is the world’s number three player. The event took place at the InterContinental Hotel’s Centennial Park in Hua Hin on New Year’s Day.  Both Victoria and Caroline entertained the crowd with their skills and also off-court humour. At one point they got together to do a little dance. Victoria won the match in straight sets 6-2, 7-5. After the match she told the crowd,  “Thank you so much for having me in Thailand. You know, it was the first time and I enjoyed my time I hope everybody enjoyed our match and I hope to be back soon”.

Also playing at the exhibition match was world number 18 John Isner from America and former world number 9 Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand. Paradorn has been retired for a few years now and although he looked lean and fit, he was sweating and was visibly tired. However, he played a good game against the American and surprised everyone by winning 6-4, 7-5. At the end of the match, John told the crowd, “I really had a good time here. I will stay in Thailand for a few more days and then go to Sydney to play in a warm-up tournament before the Australian Open.”

At the start of the World Tennis Charity Invitation Hua Hin, each of the players, and golfer Rory Mcllroy donated 100,000 Baht to help flood victims. In fact the whole event this year was in aid of charities helping with flood relief. You can view more of my pictures from this charity match on my Facebook Page. Later this week I will be writing about some of the places that I visited in Hua Hin on this trip. So, keep an eye on and