Devasom : Hua Hin History
The beginning of Hua Hin
The origin of Hua Hin as told by generations began in 1834, when Thailand was known as Siam and before the name Hua Hin was on the map, some agricultural areas of Petchaburi province were hit by severe drought. A group of civilians moved southward and found a seaside patch with beautiful white sand and rows of rocks along the beach. The land was furtile and fishery supply was plentiful. They settled
a village here in this area called Samoe Riang (Thai สมอเรียง - rows of rocks). Later, the area became more commonly known as Laem Hin (Thai แหลมหิน - stony cape).
The hidded treasure became known by visitors in the course of railway exploration in 1909 during the reign of King Rama V. A british engineer Henry Gittins, Chief of Southern Railway Division at that time, explored the Laem Hin area on which a station was to be built and found a white pristine beach stretch
in a warm soothing climate. The tale of an uncharted southern beach paradise became known by Prince Purachatra, Commander of the Royal State Railways at that time, and later among the royal and noble households. By the time the rail route to Hua Hin Station began operations in 1911, the area was already becoming popular and attracted visitors.
A seaside patch with beautiful white sand
and rows of rocks along the beach
Prince Nares (Krom Pra Naresworarit) built the first royal residence in Hua Hin on the southern side of Laem Hin village which was named ‘Sansamran-Sukaves’. He was the person who gave the name ‘Hua Hin’ to differentiate the resort area from Laem Hin village. Before long, the name
Hua Hin eventually extended to cover the entire beach resort district.
Being known for the warm, soothing climate along with its serene beach, Hua Hin gradually became
a vacation destination for the kings, the royal households and noble families. At that time the Sansamran-Sukaves royal residence and small wooden houses built within its vicinity (known as Sukaves bungalows) received many notable royal guests. In 1917 with the gaining popularity, the Royal Railway Dept. purchased a fine estate on the stony cape area and buit multiple wooden houses to supply Hua Hin visitors with sufficient accommodation.
In 1922 the luxury Railway Hotel (Hotel Hua Hin) and the remarkable Royal Hua Hin Golf Course were founded by the Royal State Railways under the royal endorsement of HM. King Rama VI,
who saw Hua Hin's potential and wished to develop the resort to become a major tourism destination of the peninsula. At that time,
the completion of rail routes connecting Bangkok and Malacca in 1921 would also mean rail passengers are likely to fancy a decent overnight rest in between their long-hour rail journey. Hotel Hua Hin was designed by an Italian architect and, in the beginning, its first main building was completed with 2-storey and 14 guest rooms. It offered luxury western-styled services and architecture in a relaxing atmosphere. Also opened at about the same time were tennis courts and Thailand’s first golf course - The Royal
Hua Hin Golf Course, designed by a scottish engineer A O Robins.
The beach of royal palaces
The southern cities has been a popular resort destination in Siam. The introduction of steam engine ships and the extending railway operations to the south had also made transportation easier. Before Hua Hin was found, in the city of Petchaburi, a major trade&cultural city north of Hua Hin, already situated two beautiful royal palaces - King Rama IV’s Phra Nakorn Kiri (Thai พระนครคีรี - Mountain Palace) and
King Rama V’s Phra Rama Rajanives (Thai พระรามราชนิเวศน์). With more exploration and travels by the royalties and state officers, commerce and tourism in the area also got further developed.
In 1924, shortly after the openings of a luxury hotel and the royal golf course in Hua Hin, the construction of a summer palace for King Rama VI was completed. Marukhathayawan Palace
(Thai พระราชนิเวศน์มฤคทายวัน) is peacefully located on a beach midway between Cha-am and Hua Hin. The beautiful seaside palace was in gingerbread architecture style with Thai influence. It features picturesque golden teak buildings in pastel paints; all buildings and corridors are raised high above the ground and interlinked by covered boardwalks. The Marukhathayawan Palace received royal visits during the last 2 years of King Rama VI’s reign. Nowadays, this palace was recently renovated and opens to visitors who wish to admire the beauty of the old days.
With frequent visits by the kings, royal households and state officers,
more people had come to experience the serene beach resort and fall
in love with Hua Hin charms.
Phra Ratchawang Klai Kangwon (Thai พระราชวังไกลกังวล) was complete in 1928 during the reign of King Rama VII, after King Rama VII had often visited
Hua Hin by borrowing Sukaves royal residence from his uncle Prince Nares and later decided to build a summer residence for Queen Rambhaibhannee on HM King's own private fund. The word Klai Kangwon means ‘Far from Worries’. The palace is built in Mediterranian style with Thai influence under the direction of MJ tthidhepsan Krissadakorn, a graduate of …cole Nationale des Beaux-Arts and was Siam's Principle of Art Institute at that time. Within the palace are four royal mansions with their names in rhyme - Piemsuk - Plukkasem - ErbPreme - EmmePredi. Piemsuk royal mansion sits in the center with brown roof tiles, light brown painted walls and arched doorways.
Activities at the royal palaces in the old time included golfing at the royal golf course, movie nights, stage plays to celebrate special events, thai music sessions which HM King Rama VII gave royal supports and often jammed the performance, and royal dinners with friends and families.
HM King Rama VII and Queen Rambhaibhannee visited Hua Hin several times, often in between official trips to southern provinces or neighbour countries. Both were known to enjoy golfing at the royal golf course and tea times at Hotel Hua Hin where royal guests were received. Nowadays, Klai Kangwon palace has been renovated and is serving as an active royal palace for HM King Rama IX and Queen Sirikit.
With frequent visits by the kings, royal households and state officers, more people had come to experience the serene beach resort and fall in love with Hua Hin charms. More vacation beach houses
and businesses were developed and Hua Hin continued to grow.
The fame and glory of Hua Hin’s old days
Hua Hin started as a beach retreat destination with consistently warm weather year-round - a sooting climate which was considered good for health and recuperation. In the beginning, the small beach retreat was peacefully quiet amidst lush forest surrounding. Apart from enjoying the breeze and family gathering, activities were limited to beach swimming, collecting seashells, nature trailing and hunting. Most food and amenity supplies were sent from Bangkok or Petchburi, while local supplies were limited to seafood and game meat.
With the addition of a luxury hotel and the royal golf course, Hua Hin received more visitors and grew more businesses. Golfing, nature trailing, and sport hunting were popular activities in Hua Hin back then as well as tennis and society tea times. Most foreign travellers would stay at the Hotel Hua Hin for its western standard food and services. Hua Hin was frequented by ambassadors, business tycoons and noble families so dinners and tea times were often in formal & fashionable dresses. Hua Hin saw
a transition of style from Thai traditional dresses to western suits and skirts. Hats or caps were
usually worn outdoor and were also fashionable items.
Chatchai market was builted around the same time as Klaikangwon Palace by the support of Prince Burachat’s family. The market building is covered by a 7-tier curved roof to commemmorate King Rama VII, and the name ‘Chatchai’ is to honour Prince Burachat (Burachatrachaiyakorn). The market soon became center of Hua Hin shopping district and completed the four famous symbols of Hua Hin at that time
(Klai Kang Won Palace, Royal Golf Course, Hotel Hua Hin, and Chatchai Market).
Evening times at Hua Hin were quiet and peaceful. With electricity initially introduced only at the Hotel and a few royal residences, the Hotel was usually crowded with people enjoying dinner and beverage, live music and dancing. The other gathering place on summer nights was the little Rajawongse
(Thai: ราชวงศ์น้อย) - a small aisle behind Klai Kang Won Palace which opened till late and was packed by food stalls ran by famous Bangkok restaurants temporarily borrowed to Hua Hin. Apart from these, other houses in Hua Hin were quiet & peaceful with lantern lights, seabreeze and glittering stars and moon.
Hua Hin was well known as the peacefully unique and the only true beach resort in Siam in that era.
Hua Hin through the turn of times
Hua Hin witnessed a major turning point of Siam - a bloodless coup on 24 June 1932 - which changed
the country's absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. On that date King Rama VII was at Hua Hin.
The message from the coup in Bangkok arrived the King at the Royal Golf Course. It was from Klai Kang Won Palace the next day, 25 June 1932, that King Rama VII made a highly regarded decision to peacefully consent to the demanded terms and give consitution power to Siamese citizens - a caring decision not only in line with HM’s will but also intended to avoid bloodshed or civil war in the country, and to ensure
the nation would stay strong and independent through the difficult time.
Afterwards Hua Hin slowly progressed through the turn of time. The stereotyped picture of Hua Hin slowly changed from a royal & society retreat into a beach destination for younger generations.
The beach resort continued its fame although with noticably less social activities due to political concerns. After the political changes came the war time, Hua Hin was unscathed through
the World War II but went gloomy due to damaged routes to Bangkok.
Like a sunny sky after stormy weather, the new glory of Hua Hin was restored in the reign of King Rama IX. King Bhumibhol and Queen Sirikit visit Hua Hin often and brought care and attention to all citizens.
HM’s vacation time has been spent on visits to remote villages to witness hardship of Thai people.
The first royal project to fight against drought was initiated for a community south of Hua Hin.
Until today, hundreds of royal projects have been accomplished under HM King Bhumibhol’s objective
to fight against drought and improve living standard of his citizens.
Since then, Hua Hin saw increasing number of visitors. The fame of the top beach resort destination was restored. More young generations and business people regard the peaceful beach resort town as their top-of-mind, relaxing & romantic vacation destination. Hotels, tourism businesses, and Hua Hin town itself got expanded. Nowadays Hua Hin continues to be a popular beach resort destination of Thailand.
It offers many travel attractions, sports & cultural activities, a number of golf courses, spectacular shopping opportunities, state-of-art healthcare providers and numerous excellent restaurants to suits both short enchanting vacations and long relaxing stays. Although some classical Hua Hin houses have been demolished to give way to large condominiums and modern hotels, the serene magic of Hua Hin
is still all around. The attractions of a contemporary seaside resort are combined with the historical charms. Hua Hin has just celebrated its 100th anniversary and still conserves the relaxing ambience of the past. The enchanting, romantic Hua Hin atmosphere remains.