Hua Hin: It’s time to put the sleepy narrative to bed

Panoramic view of Hua Hin beach with kite surfers in action. File photo


Over the past month I have read various articles that have described Hua Hin in one form or another as being “sleepy”.

The narrative that Hua Hin is “sleepy” has connotations of the city being boring, uninteresting or that there is nothing to do.

It’s a narrative that I just don’t recognise.

Don’t get me wrong, Hua Hin isn’t, and probably never will be, Miami, Ibiza, Phuket or even Koh Samui.

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And the fact it retains its relaxing charm is only a positive.

But the idea of Hua Hin being sleepy or a “sleepy fishing village” as it is still sometimes described was not true when I first visited twelve years ago, it hasn’t been true at any point during the ten years I have lived here and it isn’t true today.

Hua Hin’s ‘sleepy’ narrative is as outdated as it is inaccurate.

The more I engage, connect with and speak to different people, one quickly realises the community here is anything but sleepy.

People of all ages and varying backgrounds, be it expats or Thais, make up what is a really vibrant community.

Since the start of the year I have spoken to property developers, golf course managers, restaurateurs, business owners and public sector officials all of whom tell me the same story – that in all their respective industries they are frequently seeing a change in the demographics of people coming to Hua Hin.

There are now more younger people, more families and a broader spectrum of people in general choosing to visit Hua Hin, as well as choosing to make Hua Hin their home.

Data supplied to Hua Hin Today from the Tourism Authority of Thailand confirmed that 40 percent of all the people who visit Hua Hin are aged between 25 and 40 years old (you can read more about it in this issue).

The narrative of Hua Hin being ‘sleepy’ is also in complete contrast with what is planned for the city in both the short and long term.

The ongoing redevelopment of Hua Hin Airport is forecast to bring one million arrivals to the city within three years, which will make Hua Hin anything but sleepy.

As part of the upgrade, the airport will also become a hub for events and offer facilities not only for tourists but Hua Hin locals and expats.

The improvements at Hua Hin Airport coincide with the plans from the Thai government to make Hua Hin an internationally renowned destination for health and wellness tourism.

In the longer term, the Municipality plans to develop Hua Hin into a ‘Smart City’ by harnessing big data and artificial intelligence to improve the technical infrastructure across the city.

There is a massive sea change beginning to happen in Hua Hin and I personally think it is a really exciting time for the city.

Hopefully these changes will help to put the ‘sleepy’ narrative to bed, once and for all.

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