On 17 December 2010, Cha-Am welcomed a big and colorful vintage car parade which proceeded to the Methawalai Hotel. The welcoming ceremony, organized by the Cha-Am municipality, the Sofitel Centara Grand Resort and Villa in Hua Hin, the Vintage Car Association of Thailand in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), was a part of the 8th Vintage Car Festival which took place between 18 and 19 December 2010.
With an aim to promote tourism in Cha-Am, support preservation of invaluable vintage and classic cars of Thailand and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TAT, the 8th Vintage Car Festival of this year will especially help the Chai Pattana Foundation under the royal patronage of His Majesty the King by donating some proceeds to the Foundation. The welcoming ceremony for the vintage car parade in Cha-Am highlighted a grand dinner banquet for all the car’s owners, distinguished guests and the press.
At the banquet, the Cha-Am Mayor Mr. Nukul Pornsomboonsiri related the history of this famous beachfront city of Petchaburi province. He said that Cha-Am was one of the oldest beachfront cities of Thailand where many kings reportedly had taken vacation since the Ayudhaya period. Evidence is found in the name of many places in this city like Baan Tanod Luang and Baan Wang Kao or literally the old palace.
Even the name of the city is derived from the word Cha-Aan (literally, ‘washing a saddle’) because the King Naresuan stopped by here to wash his horse’s saddle. During the Rattanakosin period, many Thai kings prefer having their royal residence built here. For example, the Pra Nakhon Khiri or Khao Wang was built in the reign of King Rama IV, the Pra Ram Rachaniwet in the reign of King Chulalongkorn and the Maruekathayawan Summer Palace in the reign of King Rama VI. Since then, Cha-Am has been favored by Thai elites as a holiday getaway.
It is reported that over 4 million tourists visit Cha-Am each year. So, given the large number of tourists, Cha-Am may be the most visited beachfront city of Thailand if compared to other beaches located in the western side of the Gulf of Thailand. Not only does Cha-Am have white sandy beaches but the city also boasts natural parks, cultural, historical and archaeological sites.
With convenient location and a wide range of accommodation, Cha-Am avails itself of different recreational activities for visitors of all ages. The vintage car parade stayed overnight in Cha-Am to attend activities on tourism promotion before proceeding to Hua Hin on the next day.