Hua Hin has been a favoured royal resort since it was discovered in the early 1920s by King Rama VII. The tranquil fishing village consequently also became popular with Siam's nobility and upper-class. The construction of a railway line from Bangkok made it more accessible for all Thais.
King Rama built Klai Kangwon Palace, which remains an official royal residence. It is frequently used by the royal family and is open for public visits.
Thailand caters mainly to foreign tourists, but Hua Hin is a place for Thais too. Its 8.5km beach, wonderful parks, peaks, caves and waterfalls are very welcoming. Hua Hin has old world charm and Thailand's highest density of world-class golf courses. Green fees are amongst the lowest anywhere in the world, while course maintenance and services are superb.
Evenings can be spent wandering the winding roads to a variety of shops and restaurants on stilts serving delicious seafood and local dishes.
Getaway accompanied Megan Gale to Chiva-Som, Hua Hin's 5.5-star health resort. 'Chiva-Som' means 'haven of life' and the resort's philosophy is wellbeing of mind, body and spirit.
As guests check in, they are invited to the pavilion and served lemongrass tea. They are then assigned a natural health care professional to establish objectives and create a timetable of treatments and regimes.
There are 57 rooms and suites, perfectly balanced between Thai beauty and western standards. Ocean-view rooms in the main building face the Gulf of Thailand and resort pool. They have private balconies or terraces.
Pavilions are clustered in the gardens by a carp-filled lake offering a peaceful and calming atmosphere. Seven suites overlooking the Gulf are themed into Herbal, Fragrance or Rainforest.
The Golden Bo Suite has a main entrance lobby and separate living area featuring Thai artefacts and double doors leading to the bedroom, where luxurious Thai silk has been extensively used.
Wood, marble and hand-glazed ceramics are throughout the property, large windows allow lots of natural light and softly-running fans provide gentle breezes. It's all very elegant but relaxing and comfortable at the same time.
Chiva-Som's cuisine proves low-calorie and nutritious food can be a gourmet experience. A blend of east and west is used in preparation of fruit and vegetables from the resort's organic gardens. Cleansing diets are also available.
Treatments and indulgences are endless yoga, tai chi, massage, indoor swimming, steam room, cold plunge pool, Jacuzzi, weights, treadmills, manicure, pedicure, make-up. Something for everyone.