travel

Cicada Market

30Jan

Cicada Market is all about art, handmade crafts and good times. With an open-air market concept, it brings together Hua Hin’s artistic talents and those who wear ‘freedom of expression’ on their sleeves. Besides the crafts market, you’ll also find an art gallery, beer garden and live music. Open only on weekend evenings, the market is usually packed with weekenders from Bangkok. It is located on Phetkasem Road, about halfway between Hua Hin town and Khao Takiab.

 

Cicada Market – Hua Hin’s Art Market The market has four sections: Art a la Mode, Art Indoors, Art of Act and Art of Eating. Art a la Mode occupies the majority of the outdoor space and is dedicated to clothes, decorative items, home wear, and handmade accessories. Art Indoors is situated in the art gallery where the bulk of painting, sketches and sculpture are for sale. Housed inside the same building as the art gallery are a handful of shops selling creative knick knacks and souvenirs. Art of Eating, an open-air food court, enjoys an idyllic garden setting. Find all kinds of savoury snacks, sweets, salads, deep fries, stir fries, all the way to steaks, pastas and seafood barbecues. A separate bar and beer garden offers a good selection of alcoholic drinks.

Live Music and Shows at Cicada Market Part of Cicada Market’s philosophy to help promote Hua Hin as an art destination, Art of Act provides a platform for local art groups to express their talents and creativity. The market’s open-air amphitheatre has seen performances by Hua Hin’s Sasi Dance Group, B Boy, pantomime, music bands and invited artists from Bangkok, such as Koh Mr. Saxman. All in all, Cicada Market reflects Hua Hin’s laid-back yet vibrant personality. It’s not just another outdoor night market but a place where you can chill out, appreciate art and join in the fun.

Cicada Market
Opening Hours: 16:00-23:00 (Friday, Saturday), 16:00-22:00 (Sunday)

Hua Hin Railway Station

30Jan

Built during the reign of King Rama VI, and only a short distance from the centre of town, Hua Hin’s railway station and adjacent royal waiting room are undeniably attractive. The brightly painted wooden buildings that are Thai in concept and design somehow manage to have a ‘Victorian’ feel to them. The story about the birth of Hua Hin as a royal seaside getaway town would be incomplete without a mention of this historic railway station. Back in the early days, there was no road access to this idyllic beach town, and train travel was a new and delightful alternative to get from Bangkok to Hua Hin instead of by boat.

A Brief History – The Birth of Hua Hin With the train station in place and the northern-southern rail line connecting Bangkok and as far south as Singapore in 1921, the town was gradually built around it. European expatriates would travel from Penang and Singapore to enjoy a seaside vacation in Hua Hin. A road was constructed from the train station to the beach where the town’s first luxury hotel – The Hua Hin Hotel Siam – once stood. The hotel, designed by Italian architect A Rigazzi and operated by the Royal Siamese Railway (RSR), has two storeys and boasts elegant colonial-style architecture with verandahs on either side. Today, it has become part of the Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin and Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa. By 1926, Hua Hin was pretty much set to be a popular seaside town, complete with the train station, luxury hotel, two royal palaces (Klai Kang Won and Maruekhathaiyawan) and a nine-hole golf course (laid out in 1921).

Embark on a Historic Journey Today, the train station has become a popular tourist attraction. Its quaint, East-meets-West architectural style stands in stark contrast to the modern hotel buildings and outdoor malls that have become an integral part of 21st century Hua Hin’s skyline. Relive the splendour of Hua Hin’s past by combining your visit to the train station with Maruekhathaiyawan Palace, also fashioned in similar style with open verandahs, covered boardwalks and beautiful fretwork details. Better yet, relive the past and take the train from Bangkok to Hua Hin, a journey that takes about four hours compared to 2.5 hours by car.

Hua Hin Railway Station
Opening Hours: 07:00-23:00

Maruekathaiyawan Palace

30Jan

Like many buildings in Hua Hin, this Thai-Victorian style summer seaside palace was constructed in the early 1920s during the reign of King Rama VI. It was designed by an Italian architect and built with golden teak from the demolished Hat Chao Samran Palace, with lots of verandas, latticework and high ceilings to keep the structure cool during summer.

The Setting
Set on a vast manicured landscape fronting idyllic Cha Am Beach, the candy-coloured mansion comprises three one-storey pavilions with more than 1,000 pillars supporting them to avoid flood damage. All buildings are connected by covered boardwalks, designed to catch cool breezes from all directions, leading all the way to the beach front.

Period Splendour When approached from afar, the sight of the palace against the backdrop of white sands and cerulean-blue sea conjures up an image of a place suspended in time. You can almost imagine court servants scurrying down the corridors, going about their daily business, while the king and royal consorts take residence in the royal chambers.

Back in those days, each of the three buildings had clearly defined functions. A series of halls located in the south wing served as the residence of the king and royal consorts. These consisted of royal sitting and relaxing rooms, the royal chamber of the princess consort and a reading room. The north wing served as accommodation for court servants, and the two-story open pavilion or ‘Samoson Sewakamat Hall’ served as the official venue for royal functions as well as for theatre and entertainment.