You could say that Hua Hin is where it all started for Thai beach tourism. Way back in the 1920s, long before the yogis were prospecting for hidden islands in the gulf, this was a royal getaway for the luminaries of the country’s leading family. Fast forward to the 21st century and it still has a distinct appeal. Miles and miles of beachfront start with the busy sands of Hua Hin Beach itself, before the headland gives way to Khao Takiab and its rocky inlets. Nearby, the karst mountains and lagoons of the Sam Roi Yot National Park draw adventurers, while the centre brims with craft exhibits, exotic spas, and enthralling night markets. What’s not to love?
Hotels are perhaps the traditional way to go when picking accommodation in this classic resort. However, Airbnb in Hua Hin offers another tack. It’s awash with uber-stylish villas by the beach, simple condos, urban townhouses, and charming cottages for couples. Tempted? Let’s take a look…
Using Airbnb is perfectly legal in Hua Hin, and across the rest of Thailand. However, there have been some questions raised about the legality of certain rentals listed on the platform. A recent court case found two condo owners guilty of circumventing the Hotels Act, which states only registered establishments may offer short-term lettings. They came away with hefty fines and there’s been a bit of uncertainty hanging over the service ever since.
The verdict seems to have had little practical effect. Just check out the resort’s Airbnb page, where you’ll find more listings than you can shake Chang beer at! That said, you might find that some owners only offer contracts of 30 days or more (which are allowed under the Hotels Act), while other rentals are part of a hotel or villa complex that has all the necessary documentation. Generally speaking, risks for tenants are considered low, but we’d still recommend checking ahead of time with your prospective host.
Where should I stay in Hua Hin Airbnb?
Folded between the mountains and the Thai Gulf, Hua Hin centres on its train station, which is where you’ll catch the happening walks of the Bintabaht (1) nightlife precinct and the Night Bazaar food stalls. The closest beach is Hua Hin Beach (2), where the Airbnbs often come with tantalising views of the sand and the sea. Further south, you can venture out to the temple-topped beachfronts of Khao Takiap (3), or go even further to find the pristine shores of Pranburi (4). Up north, Cha-Am (5) is the most accessible part of the resort if you’re heading in from Bangkok.
Hua Hin Beach
Direct access to the sand from your rental
Close to the nightlife of Hua Hin
Great swimming and lots of Airbnbs with swimming pools
This is one of Thailand’s busiest beaches
It’s probably the most expensive part of town
Most travelers with their hearts set on a Hua Hin vacation will look to the main city beach. It’s a long run of white-tinged sand that goes for several kilometers. That allows for lots of room to spread out all the resorts and Airbnbs, which are invariably attractive villas and condo complexes with swimming pools right by the sea. The main draw? Well…that has to be walking access to the coast from your bedroom, right?
Bintabaht is the lively heart of Hua Hin town. A street where fishmongers mingle with rowdy bars, where karaoke joints rub shoulders with noodle-sizzling street vendors, you can come here to get your fill of nocturnal Thailand. The Night Market is right next door, coming alive with jewellers and fashion shops each evening. This is also the area to be if you’re keen to check off the major sights, from the Hua Hin Clock Tower to the local train station.
Cha-Am is a little closer to Bangkok than Hua Hin proper
Nice and quiet
Lots of space on the beach
Not a whole load to do
Not great for nightlife
Cha-Am sits a little further north of Hua Hin on the wonderful Thai Gulf coastline, which means it’s more easily accessible from the capital of Bangkok. Guests who come are greeted with a relatively undeveloped stretch of shoreline that’s got sea vines sprawling out from rows of swaying casuarina trees. A handful of resorts and water sports outfitters help to add a dash of energy to the place, with their boat tours and inviting beach bars on the sand.
Minibuses link Khao Takiap and the downtown of Hua Hin all throughout the day. The main draw is the serene temple – Wat Khao Takiap – and the gold-glimmering Buddha statue that stands watch from beneath the cliffs. The best Airbnb offerings tend to cling to the edges of Khao Takiab Beach, which extends out southwards in a medley of golf courses and secluded sands fringed by ironwood trees.
Some 30km outside of Hua Hin proper, Pranburi Beach is precisely the sort of escape-from-it-all that you might expect. Huddled under the shadow of the gnarled karst peaks in the Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, the village centre anchors a wide horseshoe bay of golden sand. There’s nowhere near the same crowds as in the resort towns up north, but there are some acclaimed spa hotels to enjoy right by the seafront. Basically, an Airbnb in Pranburi is worth considering if you’re the sort that likes to go off the beaten track.
Built to mimic the whitewashed cubist cottages seen on the Greek island of Santorini, this enticing condo complex spills onto a garden area that’s literally metres from Hua Hin Beach. The interiors are modern and clean, complete with flat-screen TVs and plush beds. The communal facilities make it – think a gym, multiple pools, and a kids’ room.
Cosy and colourful, there’s a whiff of the Caribbean to this homey stay. Situated a stone’s throw from the white sands of the main beach, and a short distance from the bumping nightlife quarter of Bintabaht, it’s perfect for getting into the thick of the action. The garden out front is a gift, especially when you factor in that family-sized BBQ grill!
If you don’t mind venturing a little back from the bustling beaches of Hua Hin, this charming townhouse could be the perfect fit. Set on a golf and wellness complex that’s complete with a gym and games rooms, it’s a traditional family pad with a trio of bedrooms and a small private pool. 4K Netflix and WiFi are included in the rate.
Built with a touch of Bauhaus minimalism and stripped-down modern style, the Seahouse Huahin is a large-capacity villa in a gated resort complex just to the south of Hua Hin’s happening centre. It flaunts a Balinese-style saltwater swimming pool in a private garden, along with sleeping quarters good enough for up to 14 guests. The beach is less than 400 metres’ walk away to boot.
Generally speaking, Airbnb in Hua Hin is usually a tad cheaper than traditional hotel rentals. Of course, the rate you pay all depends on what sort of pad you’re after. Luxurious five-star hotels will always be a packet of baht more than simple guesthouses in the blocks behind the beach. Meanwhile, there are sure ways to reduce the cost of Airbnbs even further, with attractive monthly and weekly discounts that can knock anything between 10% and 50% off the cost of a booking. Nice.
You should bear in mind that hotels typically offer more frills than an Airbnb. The likes of the four-star Hisea Huahin Hotel are a prime example. You’ll still enjoy a sumptuous infinity pool, good access to the beachfront and the town, and sunning terraces outside. But all that comes with the bonus of breakfast buffets and daily housekeeping.
Hua Hin continues to reign as one of Thailand’s top beach resorts. The white sands and good-time bar strips are backed up by some seriously excellent hotels and Airbnbs, ranging from coastal villas to affordable condominiums.