After a pretty relaxed week on Koh Samui, it was time to head back to mainland Thailand and another longer stay in one place. This time we were travelling to the town of Hua Hin (the original ‘seaside resort town’ of Thailand), about 200km (by road) south of Bangkok and right on the coast with a 5-6 km stretch of beach.
We had a pretty long day of travel to get from Koh Samui to Hua Hin via ferry and bus, so another early start to catch an 8am ferry that was leaving the north side of the island at Lomprayah Pier in Mae Nam.The high-speed catamaran left pretty much on time and there were quite a few passengers as this route stopped at a few islands on the way to Chumphon to drop off and pick up others. We stopped at Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao along the way, before arriving at our final destination of Chumphon on the mainland just after midday. We had picked up quite a few people from Koh Tao and from the looks of their boarding stickers the bulk of them were heading up to Bangkok. We disembarked at Chumphon and walked down the very long pier to get our bus tickets sorted to continue on to Hua Hin. There were a few stalls, a mini mart and toilets here and before long the large coaches started boarding with the first 7 going to Bangkok and just 2 going to Hua Hin. We boarded our bus number 8 with only a few other passengers and set off on our 5 hour bus trip just before 1.30pm.
Lincoln had spent most of the ferry ride asleep on my shoulder so when he promptly went back to sleep on the bus we were a little alarmed, this was not like him at all. I thought he might have been suffering from a little motion sickness as this ferry had travelled a little faster than the one we took over to Koh Samui and he had seemed fine until about an hour into the journey when he suddenly stopped watching the movie he had only just started. The bus ride was pretty smooth going, mostly on the main highway, we went through some pretty heavy patches of rain, stopping once along the way to get some replenishments and then ended up arriving in Hua Hin just before 6pm.
We managed to get a taxi to find the location of our next Airbnb house with the assistance of a younger Thai girl putting the GPS coordinates into a phone and suddenly something clicked and the driver knew where she was to take us. We loaded into the taxi and I caught a look on Lincoln’s face that wasn’t encouraging, so we switched around so he could sit next to the window and just as he was about to hop into the taxi, it happened…. luckily I had passed him a plastic bag and between that and the gutter he didn’t get much vomit in the taxi at all. Poor thing, but I’m sure he felt better for it and he really hadn’t eaten too much during the day anyway. We drove the few kilometres to our house and waited for our host to let us in as we were a little later than we had expected and being out of phone contact was a bit of a pain. (Phone update – upgraded to a new iPhone 6 on a cash discount of 12,500 THB/$500 NZD and travel insurance have paid out $240 NZD (which was less depreciation and excess) on the previous iPhone SE – so not a total loss) We were all settled in by around 7pm, with Lincoln finding a bed and promptly going back to sleep for another few hours but by the following day he was feeling nearly back to 100% again.
Braxton’s First Official Day of School
Seeing Lincoln start his studies at ‘The School of Mum & Dad’ after starting our world adventure, Braxton was pretty eager to start as well. Even before he turned 5, he would often do some practice lessons on the IXL website platform we had signed Lincoln up to. It’s an easy-to-use, interactive system that keeps the boys interested and wanting to do more as they receive stickers/prizes as they achieve more and more learning milestones. After settling in for another longer stay in one place, we got Braxton signed up as well and he was so proud to log in to his very own profile and start collecting his own rewards. On his first day he was very enthusiastic, using a lot of his new books and pencils he received for his birthday and day 2 was even more so, wanting to start as soon as he woke up just after 7am – even if his teachers weren’t quite out of bed yet!!
Cicada & Tamarind Night Markets
One night we decided to check out a couple of night markets and luckily these two are right across the road from each other. Cicada stands for Community of Identity Culture, Art and Dynamic Activities and these markets were lovely with some very talented people making amazing items. These markets were started in 2010 and the stalls are very uniformed, similar to Wonderland Markets we visited in Surat Thani, and the food stalls were looking a little more expensive than we would usually like at markets. So after our initial wander through Cicada, we headed across the road to Tamarind Markets and found prices and food style a little more to our requirements. The boys found some sushi and pork and rice while Logan and I shared a very tasty Chim Chum for 129 THB/$5.16 NZD.After dinner we had a look around the merchandise stalls at Tamarind and then back through Cicada before heading off. Both of these night markets are only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 4pm-11pm and well worth a look for both ends of the Hua Hin night market spectrum.
Black Mountain Water Park
There are two main water parks within the Hua Hin district, one of which we had seen on the bus ride in, but it was Black Mountain Water Park that ticked more boxes for us on this occasion. Firstly the free shuttle bus to and from the town centre was a bonus, as the park is about 15 kms out-of-town and into the hills/mountains. The entry prices were also more accommodating for those on a tighter budget and the variety of slides that Braxton would be able to go on was also larger at Black Mountain.We decided to make the most of the day and got ourselves into town and at the shuttle bus pick up point of the clock tower in time for the first pick up of the day at 9.30am. It was a Monday and there were about 12-15 others with us on the journey out to the park with us arriving just on opening time at 10am. Braxton managed to sneak under the 110cm height mark and was therefore free for entry and Lincoln was also just under the 140cm mark so he was still at the child price of 300 THB/$12, adults entry fee (those over 140cm) was 600 THB/$24 NZD. Locker hire is free at Black Mountain, you just need to pay a refundable bond of 500 THB/$20 NZD – another budget bonus.We had an awesome day of fun in the sun and water, there were a few others at the park so it didn’t feel like we were in the middle of a ghost town, but there were definitely no crowds or lines to wait in for the slides. We caught the last bus home leaving the park at 5pm and we were well ready for a good night’s sleep once we had arrived home and had had some dinner.
The Movies – Cars 3
As a huge Lightning McQueen fan, Braxton was pretty excited when we saw that Cars 3 was going to be released in Thailand just before his birthday, so we planned to see it as part of his birthday celebrations once we got to Hua Hin. After a little research, we found there were two cinema complexes in Hua Hin and one was showing the movie in English with Thai subtitles. We choose to attend on a Wednesday as this is their ‘movie day’ with tickets being 120 THB/$4.80 NZD each instead of 200 THB/$8 NZD. The cinemas we were attending were at the very new (only opened late last year) and very flash, Blúport Mall, (the whole mall has a nautical theme for this resort town), we purchased our tickets before taking a look around and grabbing some lunch. After we returned to the cinemas, we were advised about the snack combos and saw one couple get what could only be described as a MASSIVE bucket of popcorn 🍿 and two drinks. This combo was one of the cheapest at 250 THB/$10 NZD so we decided to attempt it – and not surprisingly, (because popcorn is so hard to stop eating once you start) by the end of the movie the bucket had just a few unpopped kernels rattling around the bottom…. and thumbs up from the family on another great movie.