Apr 9, 2017

Staying in Hua Hin/Cha'am Thailand

People are often surprised when I say it is less expensive for us to spend the winter in Southeast Asia than it is to stay at home, and certainly less expensive than spending the time in Florida or somewhere else where it is warm and sunny. Part of the plan is to stay where the Americans do not.  Places charge what the market will bear and one thing that raises the price is if it is a popular destination for foreigners especially Americans.  John and I spend several weeks at beach resort in sunny Thailand but not in Phuket, Ko Samui, or Phi Phi Island.  We spend it south of Bangkok in the Cha’am/Hua Hin area. 

The Cha’am/Hua Hin area is a 2.5 hour drive south of Bangkok. We arrange for transportation which costs about $100 in a private car.  It is less expensive than flying to one of the islands and we get to see the countryside.  Especially interesting are the salt flats along the way.  We stay at Regent Cha’am and have for several
years but there are several options from condos to resorts in all categories. Most places like Regent Cha’am have lower tariffs for long-stays as do most hotels in SE Asia.  A long-stay can be anywhere from 5 days or one week and longer.  Most also have lower rates for returning guests.  We have made friends with an English couple who have been staying at the hotel for 20 years! They stay October and November, go back to England for December, and then return to stay from January to the end of March.

Regent Cha’am is located on a wide sandy beach.  Actually, the original beach washed away as beaches do sometimes and a new reinforced wide beach has been constructed.  We will have to see if it stays!  Mother Nature does what she wants. The hotel has two beautiful pools, extensive breakfast, daytime activities, two restaurants and a spa.  The hotel grounds are huge and beautifully landscaped. Supposedly, it was at one time the garden of a former king of Thailand. In the evening we like to walk into the little village where there are a variety of restaurants, a 7-11, shops, hair dressers, and other outlets. Meals are about $4 and great. 

There are plenty of things to do other than enjoy the hotel.  This
year we went to the International Kite Festival, a 20-minute taxi ride from the hotel. The kites were impressive and huge. Most of the big ones had a “mother” kite high in the air that was linked by string to the big ones. There was music plus food and kite vendors. Also, nearby is the former summer place of Rama VI. There are a variety of water sports including kite boarding.  Regent Cha-am has a shuttle a couple times a day into the city of Hua Hin where there is a night market and plenty of shops.  There is also an outlet storenearby. 

Some of the best flights – deal wise – are from NY to Bangkok.  We flew ANA (rated the 5th best airline in the world) from JFK to Saigon and returning to JFK from Bangkok for $565 with taxes. It is usually less expensive to take Amtrak to NYC ($50), a cab to the JFK ($65) than to fly from Syracuse on a US carrier.