Travel Thru’ The Lens: Vana Nava

Vana Nava
Holiday Inn Hua Hin

Hua Hin, the Royal Resort

Thailand is not just a land of smiles but a land of islands and mountains. For travellers who are time strapped, getting to places of natural beauty is not tough too.

Of course one could get to places such as Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui but that would require flights out of Bangkok. Nearer to Bangkok, Pattaya comes to mind but not exactly family friendly and that usually leave only Hua Hin as the easier option for families.

This is actually the Royal waiting area for the train going back to Bangkok.

The area is popularised by King Prajadhipok in the 1920s and become a Royal Resort with the completion of tthe Klai Kangwon Palace, named so that he can be far from worries and domestic palace politics I supposed.

Hua Hin’s Layout

Hua Hin is fronted by 5km worth of beach front so you can image how long is the beach. Just to help things along, we can use Hilton Hotel as the center of the whole area to navigate the around the place.

The Main Hua Hin Area

The area between the Railway Station towards Sofitel Central and Hilton is where most of the activities are from restaurants to bars. There is a nice night market as well that is noticeably cleaner and drier than equivalent markets in Thailand. Less rowdy than the ones we see in the cities and it is really a nice walk through the area at night.

The Holiday Inn Vana Nava where I will be staying is located South of this area, around 15 minutes car ride from the Clock Tower which is in the middle of Hua Hin town.

The Hua Hin Train Station sign post has another copy at the night market.
There are various entrances. This is from the clock tower in the middle of the town.
The usual tourism souvenior wares.
This is definitely a shop to bring back Thai tit bits
There are definitely artists shops in but not as much as the markets in Thailand
The Hulk made of recyclables.
The fish spa still quite popular. Squirmish much?

How to Go to Hua Hin (Singapore)

Option 1 – Depature from Bangkok City

There are numerous ways to get to Hua Hin from small passenger vans beside the Victory monument to comfortable tourist buses. I personally like to take the tourist bus so that I do have the space to stretch out during the 4 hour ride.

To buy tickets, you can search online for “Sombat Tour” and buy a ticket from the terminal itself or you can get the hotel concierge to help you. If you are planning to go back to Bangkok you can get tickets at the bus terminal South of Hilton Hotel. You do need to get a taxi to get you there.

The weblink:

Option 2 – Departure from Suvarnabhumi Airport

If you are going straight to Hua Hin from the airport, do make it a point to go to Sukhumvit rather than Don Muang airport. DM may be cheaper but the extra hassle of going into town to catch a tourist bus just add more money and time spent to the whole trip. 

There is a direct bus from Suvarnabhumi  Airport and it is not expensive (by Singaporean standards that is) and it is a much better option overall. Just go to the bus counter inside the terminal and board the scheduled bus.

I have used this bus to get to Suvarnabhumi Airport with no hassle at all. They have a terminal at Hua Hin, North of Hilton Hotel. You do need a taxi to get you there.

The weblink:

Getting Around Hua Hin

There is really no way around it. Unless you rent a car from Bangkok, you are at the mercy of the horrendously expensive taxi services in Hua Hin. A one way trip easily cost me 200 THB (S$8) even for such a short distance trip.

Hence this is the top tip – make full use of the Holiday Inn Vana Nava Resort’s bus services.  I will provide a recommended itinerary for your use.

The typical tut tut transport. Not cheap at all. The pictures above shows the places you can visit. I suggest rent a driver for the whole day is a better.
Vana Nava at night. Taken from the breathtaking glass balcony of the hotel roof top bar.

About Vana Nava

Most people would ask why is it so troublesome to call the resort Vana Nava Holiday Inn Resort Hua Hin when Holiday Inn Hua Hin is sufficient. 

Well, the main reason is the Vana Nava Water Jungle. If you have been to Singapore’s Downtown East Wild Wild Wet, you’ll get the idea. Because of the water theme park and the rides, the Holiday Inn Resort is more of a family vacation destination that I think will be sufficient for a 4 day 3 night stay. If you are cramped for time, a 3 day 2 night stay is also possible.

Same water theme park rides you can find in Singapore but less crowded.
The Abyss. You will feel as though you are going down the toilet…LOL!

More about the Water Jungle. There are quite a few rides stretched out between two towers in the park and if you are the adrenalin junkie like me I can straight away recommend the few rides according to adrenalin level.

  • Freefall 
  • Aqualoop – you load into a chamber before you free fall and travel 60km/h through the slide. 
  • Master Blaster – a 45km/h ride through hair raising drops. It is basically a roller coaster ride on water.
  • The Abyss – 6 people share a tube and drops down 28 meters at 45 km/h into a huge funnel

There are of course more kids friendly rides where you share the tubes with a group of people or you partner up. There are big areas of water playground that the kids won’t be bored at all. Parents? you can just lepak by the pool side or float around in the infinity pool or the lazy river.

Holiday Inn from Vana Nava

Holiday Inn Hua Hin

I believe that Holiday Inn is a brand name everyone knows. For Holiday Inn Hua Hin, they have the exact same standards as the other Holiday Inn Hotels that I have experienced.

Throughout the stay the experience was comfortably laid back. I love the fact that this resort hotel is a bit of a distance from the hustle and bustle of Hua Hin Town and is quite self contained should you choose to hole yourself in during the whole stay.

The check in is at the upper floors.
The lobby is very welcoming.
If you need a quiet corner to catch up on some work or having a small party with friends, they have nice cozy corner to hide away from the public. This is my favourite corner.
You got a welcome pack. Unique about this place is the access chip that you can wear like a watch so you can gain access to Vana Nava and pay for your food with it. Truly cashless experience.
Got the room. Pretty upbeat colour.
I have one too many complaints about my sleeping pillows and here I got just enough of firmness by putting the soft and film pillow together.
My balcony looks out to the sea and also the railway track that leads to the Hua Hin train station. Just beyond the track is the Cicada Art Market/Village.

When you checked in, the staff will hand you a folder with all the information for you to understand and go around the resort. On top of the standard key cards, you will be given silicon straps with an access chip. That means I can go down to Vana Nava have some fun without worrying about where to put my access card.

Not only that, you can pay for your food and make use of lockers just presenting the access chip. 

The glass balcony of Van Nava Sky. Hair raising indeed.
The Vana Nava Sky from my 360 camera.
This is Thyme is Sunny, Vana Nava own house-infused chrysanthemum and saffron gin double-shaken with lime, basil & thyme syrup and egg white. Topped it off with soda and presented with ice. You can check the menu here:

There are a few things that is special to the resort. There is Vana Nava Sky, the tallest bar in the whole of Hua Hin and you can literally see across the seas and land of the area. What’s more they have a see-through balcony that will make your heart pump a bit faster while in take in the sights.

If you want some peace and quiet, the pool is definitely a bit better than the Theme Park.

Just below the bar is the infinity pool. I definitely prefer this pool over the one at the theme park. It is more relaxed and you get to enjoy the cool breeze coming in from the sea.

For more relaxation, I opted for the excellent 2 hour massage at the Spa. Granted the price is definitely more expensive than the massage shops down at the streets but at least, it is more spacious and clean. Totally feel relaxed during the session thanks to my masseur.

The Spa at the hotel is quite huge and I got quite a good massage. A bit expensive than those found in Hua Hin town but it is at least professional.
The kids won’t trouble you as much when you are here.

You can also ‘parked’ your kids at the child care center. Pretty big place where the little ones can roam and play to their hearts content.

When it comes to holidays, food is utmost in our minds and the resort’s main dining restaurant, the Plamong, can dish out pretty delicious food.

Suggested Itinerary for Holiday Inn Hua Hin (3D2N)

Day 1: Check in early só you can get to the water theme park and play for the whole day until dinner time.  Remember to book your massage so that you can get that well deserved rub down.

Remember to indulge in a SPA treatment!
Havê breakfast at Plamong.
Prepare a day to enjoy the beach at Le Colonial Beach House. You can take the shuttle bus from the hotel so check with the concierge when you arrive.
Beautiful Beach Front at the Le Colonial.
Indulge in some babe watch while sipping a cocktail.

Day 2: Have your breakfast at Plamong and then pack for a day out to beach. Take the shuttle bus to Holiday Inn’s Le Colonial Beach Club where there is a beautiful infinity pool you can dip in and take a nice little nap or drink inside the refurbished 100 year old house.

For lunch I can suggest making a trip down to the market village which is just a stone throw away from the Le Colonial. 

Once you hit the late afternoon, you can visit the Hua Hin Train Station and visit the Night Market in the area. You can visit the bar area just next to Hilton Hotel OR take the shuttle bus back to Holiday Inn and enjoy the night breeze at the glass platform with your complimentary drink.

You can visit Blue Port for some shopping and have a very special lunch here.
I highly recommend that you take up the Bluport supermarket’s offer to buy the ingredients and allow the chef to cook up a storm for you.
As a Wagyu fan I cannot afford to miss this. This is sourced from Korat (known as Nakhon Ratchasima a city North East of Bangkok) The price? A mere S$25.
Expertly done medium-rare.
Woooo….the natural juice from the beef and the chef’s own spicy sauce. Perfect match made in heaven.

Day 3: You can take a day tour around the area where I did not have the chance to do it. Do visit Bluport for lunch after you check out. It is a fairly large shopping mall but its highlight is the small eatery right inside the super market. 

You can actually buy produce from the supermarket and there are chefs around to take your ingredients and whip out a nice lunch before you take the bus back to Bangkok or Airport.

My Gear for the Trip

  • Huawei P20 Pro Smartphone and Content Creation Center

DSC_0061 (Small)

About Wilson Wong
Founder of the 10000+ members Singapore Photography Interest Network photography group, avid gadget lover and budget wanderluster. He also writes for a tech website for the non-techies about the latest trends in personal tech. His wish is to help people get the right stuff and enjoy life without cutting off limbs to do so.

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