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Sep 7, 2006 05:57 PM

Ko Samui or Hua Hin

Need travel opinions. Planning a 3rd trip to Thailand. Will have 2 1/2 days to spend in either Ko Samu or Hua Hin. Need to decide between the two. We've never been to either before.

Looking for any opinions about either place.

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  1. It really depends a bit from where you'll be traveling there and what your next stop will be. From Bangkok, it's a couple of hours by car to Hua Hin and about a good hour by plane to Ko Samui.

    Ko Samui is a destination which mainly caters to foreign tourists, there's lots more hotels, some very luxurious and the beaches are much nicer than in Hua Hin. The two main towns are typical holiday spots which could be anywhere in the world. Hua Hin seems to be more geared towards Thais. The main public beach isn't that attractive and there's only a few really nice hotels, mainly the Sofitel Central which is one of the lovliest hotels I've ever stayed in, it's not inexpensive though.

    Despite the very average beach, I vastly prefer Hua Hin. It's a typical small Thai town which just happens to be located at the ocean. The food is generally much better than in Samui as it's prepared to please locals and not foreign tourist. One big attraction is the huge seafood restaurant which is on a pier over the water, there's also a night market where I had some of the best bbq chicken ever.

    So, for food and local flair, Hua Hin is the better recommendation, if you want a nice beach holiday with Western style nightlife, shopping etc., Ko Samui is the place to go. 2 1/2 days seems a little short for Samui but fine for Hua Hin if you're traveling through that area anyway.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Snahlami

      That's kind of what we were thinking but it's good to hear it from someone rather than just trying to infer from the various guide books.

      "food and local flair" is exactly what we're looking for...we travel to eat!

      1. re: Snahlami

        I passed through Hua Hin in January 2006 on a Saturday morning. We parked at the Starbucks and went across the street to the market. Due to heavy remodeling, it was a bit more chaotic than usual. Even the motorcyles had trouble getting through the pedestrian walkways. But it's a fun market and you can pick up some great stuff here for lunch or snacking. We headed South for lunch in Pranburi, so there's not much more I can tell you about Hua Hin!

        1. re: Snahlami

          fyi, just got back from Hua Hin, and the place we kept going back to was the huge open-air seafood place over the pier, as above. fantastic food! ordered consistently across the menu, and never found anything that wasn't good or great. (actually, went back three times over a week -- the copious french, italian and danish restaurants through town hinted at a lack of foodie opportunities...) (but the night market did have a bunch of stalls that looked great -- I'm not sure why we never went there before dinner.... bah. next time!)

          anyhow, Sang Thai Seafood Restaurant, over the pier. Few farang. 032-512144 for reservations -- grab the 8-person table that sites removed over the water for a great night.

          1. re: andy deemer

            re. Hua Hin, the card I got from Sara Jane's Issan (on of my favorite meals in BKK so far) references an HH location, opposite the Burger King. May be good!

        2. Hi,

          I wasn't very impressed with Ko Samui as a location, but really enjoyed the local food there. On the whole island there are only about four or five proper restaurants where one can buy authentic Ko Samui cuisine, and they're all quite good. I've written a post about the food there here: on my blog, and I also wrote an article about Ko Samui food for a BKK newspaper which I'll post at my blog in the next few days.


          1. Hi again. I've posted the contents of the article at my blog here: Enjoy, and if you make it there, do try these places, especially Bangpo Seafood, it's really, really good.


            1 Reply
            1. re: RealThai

              Enjoyed dinner @ Bangpo Seafood tonight. The shrimp paste in coconut shell appetizer (khoei jii) is a dream: so simple in presentation, so complex in flavor. Also had an extraordinarily rich tom ka with local crab meat and a fish (phonetically: pla chelam patya) dish pepped up by plenty of garlic and ginger along with a good sized cluster of green peppercorns. The latter was served with the unique coconut milk steamed rice (khao man thua khiaow) you describe in your blog piece. The app and a small plate of pineapple and watermelon chunks were brought out automatically. Not sure if I was charged. Definitely don't care. Not with the entire meal (with a decent little tip) costing less that 300B, or about $8.50. I may never vacation in Europe again.

            2. Samui has much better beaches, food in Samui is great if you find the right spots. Great island to explore on a motorbike.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jwobkk

                In my opinion Hua Hin is much better choice than Koh Samui. Hua Hin offers more attractions, activities, national parks, pristine beaches and over 100 seafood restaurants. It is much easier get to Hua Hin than to Koh Samui.

                More information about Hua Hin can be found at:

              2. samui hasn't been the same since the airport. that said - if you stay away from chawang and lamai you can still enjoy yourself. i prefer mai nam beach on the north side of the island. cleopatra bungalows was the last place i stayed, in 2003, and i liked it. but 2 1/2 days is a bit rushed to get in and out