Sometimes I have to remind myself just how lucky I am for being able to live and work here in Hua Hin, Thailand. But then on top of that, I get to ride my bicycle with really friendly people for a living. That is why even though I don’t care for writing much I just have to share my passion and pleasures with others that may be considering bicycle tours in and around the Hua Hin area. Who knows maybe you’ll want to join one of our great tours at Hua Hin Bike Tours, or you may just want to rent a bicycle from us and explore the area by yourself. When you think about things to do in Hua Hin, you just have to consider riding a bicycle if you know how to ride one. What could be more freeing, healthy, environmentally friendly, and fun to do?!? Anyway, I’ve put together a list of 10 reasons to bicycle along the Royal Coast of Thailand, also known as the Thai Riviera which of course is where Hua Hin is centered.
1. Incredible weather – Hua Hin is known for having some of the best weather in Thailand. We get the least rainfall in all of Thailand and we are fortunate to have cool sea breezes from the Gulf of Thailand. Even when it does rain, it usually rains hard and heavy for a short time. During the bike tours in the Hua Hin area we will get rain about 1 percent of the time, so it is very rare for us to be hindered by rain whatsoever. In the few times it has rained while cycling one of our bike tours, it has either been so light that the road never even appeared to be wet, or it rained heavily but ended quickly and we could resume as if nothing even happened. I often tell our bike tour customers that we get “Happy Hour Showers” because it usually rains between 4:00 and 6:00 PM and then clears up in time to head out for dinner in clean, crisp, cool air. Since all of our tours are finished cycling well before 4 PM, rain is once again a non-issue.
2. Amazing sea views – What could be better than biking on small roads right next to the beach where you can look out over the sand to see the beautiful Gulf of Thailand, bubbly little islands, colorful Thai fishing boats, shady Casuarina and palm trees, and sometimes a number of confused looking cows (yeah, there isn’t much grass on the beach for them to feed on and they aren’t exactly known for their fishing capabilities). I honestly feel like I can ride forever when I can look out over the calming water and feel the cooling sea breeze.
3. Colorful fishing villages – It’s so nice to ride through Thai fishing villages with all the colorful boats, colorful houses, lime green water, reddish-brown dirt roads, deep green vegetation. The boats and houses can be somewhat bright to the eyes of Westerners like myself, but the contrast of all the colors is just so magical and enticing as they are usually some combination of reds, blues, greens, oranges, pinks, and yellows that really stand out when they have the more natural background colors surrounding them.
4. Delicious seafood – I have always loved seafood, especially shellfish. Well, it doesn’t get much fresher then when you eat at local restaurants near the beach and the water in which the seafood came from. I’m a bit of a jokester, so on occasion I have told cyclists on our rides that, “these prawns are so delicious because they are flown in daily from Vietnam”. When people ask, “Really?!?” I will then say, “of course not, they are from right around here. I guess I just like to cause a little trouble when things are going so smoothly on our bike tours, but they are enjoying the cycling as well as the tantalizing lunch so much they don’t seem to mind. For those that have dietary restrictions, there is no need to worry. We can accommodate just about any food preferences and have received very high praise when catering to people’s needs/desires. In Hua Hin we are very lucky to have great variety of Thai and International restaurants that can provide just about any type of food you can think of.
5. Small scenic roads – While I haven’t done any specific and scientific study on the topic, I am quite confident that the level of safety for our riders on Hua Hin Bike Tours is greatly increased when they are cycling on small roads with light traffic traveling at moderate speeds rather than larger roads with high speed traffic. Now, if we can agree on that then I am sure you will agree that if these roads are surrounded by picturesque scenery it makes riding a bicycle that much more pleasurable and comforting. We seek out the smallest and most scenic roads to bike on and love to share these places with customers on our bike tours. Safety is our number one priority but scenery is the whole reason most people do our bike tours, so scenery would be a close number two on the list of priorities. We occasionally enjoy riding on bike paths or even small trails that vehicles can’t drive on so that means our support vehicle will have to go around and meet us later, but on the small scenic roads the support vehicle can follow behind for that added safety and comfort level.
6. Sea breezes – I realize that I have mentioned this before, but it seems people tend to forget that when you are riding a bicycle next to the sea that even if it isn’t windy that day you will get the enjoyment of a sea breeze depending on the speed at which you are biking. Sure, Thailand is known for being hot and tourists will often think about the heat they experienced when walking around, but riding a bicycle is a whole other experience. Fortunately for us here in Hua Hin and the entire Royal Coast / Thai Riviera there is usually a nice breeze and some times of the year it is quite windy so we will often change the direction we ride in so we don’t suffer from extreme head wind. In addition to a cooling breeze, we encounter quite a bit of shade as well from the palm and Casuarina trees along our bike routes.
7. Swimming opportunities – The cycling day tours that Hua Hin Bike Tours operates don’t include swimming in the program while biking, but we strongly encourage our customers to take advantage of the soothing effects of their hotel swimming pool or in the Gulf of Thailand at any of the wonderful beaches in the area. When people join one of our Multi-Day Bicycle Adventure Tours along the coast we always make sure that each and every hotel we stay in has a swimming pool and are located directly on the beach or within very close proximity. I like to call my time in the pool after a nice bike ride “Carbing Up & Cooling Down”. When I say “Carb-ing Up” I’m sure you can assume there is beer involved rather than rice ;~)
8. Minimal tourism – I can’t explain exactly why, though I have a few ideas, but for some reason Hua Hin has not hit the big-time yet when it comes to tourism. As a bicycle tour operator I would like to see a bit more business coming our way but it is also nice not to have the crowds of popular tourist locations like Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya, etc. I personally love Hua Hin, but one of the main things I love about it is that as you get toward the southern end of Hua Hin it gets more and more beautiful, rural, scenic, and less commercial. I can honestly say that in the 17+ years I have lived here in Thailand and having ridden my bicycle through most of the 74 provinces (out of 77 total) that I have visited my 3 favorite towns in order are: Ban Krut, Prachuap Khiri Khan (the capitol of PKK province), and Hua Hin. These three districts make up a large percentage of the Royal Thai Coast / Thai Riviera and one of the reasons I love them so much is because they are still predominately “Unseen Thailand” and we get to help people discover them each and every day. In time the area will likely get more and more visitors but we hope that it is a growth over time with the right infrastructure as well. There will soon be a new high speed train from Bangkok to Hua Hin that is planning to take 1.5 hours to ride between the two cities and the expansion of Hua Hin and Chumphon airports should help bring in more tourism to the area over time. Maybe someday Hua Hin and Prachuap Khiri Khan province will even get the recognition it deserves for being one of the best places in the world to ride a bicycle.
9. Abundance of inexpensive but exquisite accommodations – Hua Hin, Cha Am, and Pranburi have some of the finest resorts in the world and big names like Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton, Hyatt Regency, Holiday Inn, Inter-Continental, and of course there is the world famous Chiva-Som. But what most people don’t realize until they take one of our bicycle tours is that there are an abundance of lovely boutique resorts just around the corner and in every little cove. You can find great places to stay with swimming pools from 1,000 Thai Baht and up, so pretty much everyone can afford really comfortable accommodations on or near the beach in Hua Hin and the surrounding areas.
10. Thai culture, fishing, farming, and so much more – As we all know, people are usually more genuine and kind outside of the big cities and that holds true for Thailand as well. You will find the locals around Hua Hin to be friendly, hardworking, and proud. The area is ripe with Thai culture, Buddhist Temples, fishing villages, fruit farms, mountains, rivers, and of course the incredible Gulf of Thailand and the numerous beaches along the Royal Coast. We honestly believe that Hua Hin Bike Tours should be your first thought of things to do in Hua Hin and we look forward to sharing all the reasons above with you all.
Written by Christopher Byrd, Tour De Asia