The strongest endorsement for Hua Hin as a retirement destination is that Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol has made this tranquil resort his home for many years.
For expats who share the King’s appreciation of endless beaches, an unspoiled townscape and a traditional pace of life, Hua Hin has few rivals.
That said, Hua Hin’s single biggest draw for retirees is probably golf. The choice of excellent courses include the Black Mountain Golf Club, ranked Thailand’s best course and the fourth-best championship course in the Asia-Pacific by last year’s Asian Golf Monthly Awards.
Typical of the town’s upper-end profile, Baan Ing Phu has attracted a cosmopolitan community including professionals drawn by the development’s proximity to Bangkok and Survarnabhumi Airport – just two away down a new six-lane highway – as well as retirees who appreciate the nearby town’s lifestyle opportunities.
Partly due to its royal connection, Hua Hin has preserved its traditional charm despite becoming one of Thailand’s leading resorts. Strict building regulations have outlawed tall buildings while the sleazier aspect of many Thai destinations is almost entirely absent.
The town also reflects its visitors upscale profile – a beachfront condo is de rigeur among Bangkok’s high society – with chic boutiques and excellent restaurants serving a wide choice of local and foreign cuisines.
Hua Hin’s attractions include the famous Chat Chai night market, famous for a cornucopia of produce as well as kerbside restaurants offering freshly caught seafood.
The nearby sites include the vast national park of Kaeng Krachan, a mountain wilderness patrolled by barking deer, tapir, elephants, monkeys, tigers and leopards.
Also just down the road is the breathtaking Khao Luang cave – a vast underground chamber containing a temple spookily illuminated by light filtering down from the surface.
It should also be added that while Hua Hin’s social cachet has deterred mass tourism, settling here need not cost a fortune. Very affordable homes can be found on the coast between Hua Hin and Cha-am. For instance, a condo at the Tropical Ocean View, just 300 metres from the beach and 5 minutes from the town centre, can cost only 3 million baht (about $91,000, €65,000 or £57,000).
Why Hua Hin is a place for retirement?
Hua Hin should definitely be among the options when you are considering retirement in Thailand. Tranquil, beautiful and with plenty of great attractions for maintaining an active lifestyle, Hua Hin attracts more and more Westerners in search of an authentic and peaceful Thai town to enjoy their golden years.