[UPDATED] Hit Up Thailand On Hari Merdeka & Awal Muharram Weekend
For most travellers, August-September represents the tail-end of the travel season. It’s back-to-school, back-to-reality drudgery.
For Malaysians, this is the period where Independence Day and Awal Muharram coincide to form a long weekend. If your vacation starts on Thursday, August 29, you can take advantage of the long weekend that goes on until Monday.
Since Monday is a replacement holiday for Awal Muharram (which falls on a Sunday), you get to extend your short getaway to a five-day vacation.
To escape the rain that is a norm during monsoon season, why not traipse to a country where the weather is consistent all-year round?
Thailand comes to mind here not only for its close proximity to Malaysia – we’re practically neighbours – but it is one of those destinations that is great all year round.
Hua Hin, Thailand
It is often cited as Thailand’s oldest beach destination and first appeared on the map in the early 1900s with the opening of the Thai-Malaya railway.
By the 1980s, luxury hotels started moving in and foreign tourists arrived by the thousands. Today, all the top global hotel chains have properties in Hua Hin and a growing number of wealth expats are calling it their second home through purchases of condominiums that dot the town.
There’s a lot of money swirling around but because this is a bustling Thai town, seafood is plenty and affordable.
There’s cheap public transport for beach-hopping and it takes a lot less effort and money to get to Hua Hin from Bangkok than to the southern islands.
|Airport||Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport|
|Visa||No visa required|
|Currency||Thai baht (THB7.78 = RM1)**|
|Electricity||Uses 220V AC electricity.
|Malaysian embassy contact||Address: 33 - 35, Sa Thon Tai Road, Thung Mahamek, Khet Sa Thon, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand
Phone: +66 2 629 6800
|Air ticket (roundtrip) to Bangkok for 2||RM804*|
|Lodging||4 nights @ Asira Boutique HuaHin = RM1,294 (breakfast included)
|Food, recreational activities, shopping, tours, etc.||RM4,000|
|Overall total spent on trip||RM6,398|
Hua Hin in 5 days
Chatchai Market. This day market resides in an historic building built in 1926 with a distinctive seven-eaved roof in honour of King Rama VII. Here you’ll find morning vendors selling Chinese-style doughnuts and local coffee spiked with sweetened condensed milk, as well as all-day noodles with freshly made wantons, and the assortments of fresh fruit.
King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament. Certainly not one for animal-rights activists, this polo tournament replaces ponies with pachyderms. It takes place in late August and early September with the purpose of – yes, we are not kidding here – to raise money for elephant-welfare issues.
Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. Nestled in a scenic mountain valley 45km west of Hua Hin, this vineyard offers tours from 1,700 baht, including wine, an excellent three-course meal and return transport. You can also just opt for the wine-tasting sessions.
Night Market. The Hua Hin rendition mixes food and clothes and draws in locals and visitors alike. Ice-packed lobsters and king prawns appeal to the big spenders but the fare at simple stir-fry stalls is just as delicious.
Plearn Wan. Here we have a recreation of the old-fashioned shophouses that once occupied the Thai-Chinese neighbourhoods of Bangkok and Hua Hin. It is as much an art installation as a commercial enterprise. Besides music and clothes stores, there’s a pharmacy displaying roots, powders and other concoctions that Thai grandmothers once used.
Hat Hua Hin. This is a pleasant but not stunning stretch of sand punctuated by round, smooth boulders. Don’t write this off just yet – it is a people-watching spot. For swim, sunbathing and fun, continue south where the sand is a fine white powder and the sea a calm grey-green.
Thanon Chomsin Food Stalls. If you’re after 100% authentic eats, these food stalls are your answer. The setting might be humble but Thais are fastidious eaters and prefer fork or their fingers to remove meat from the bones of a fried chicken rather than putting teeth directly to flesh.