We know that Thailand is wonderful.
The food, the sights, the shopping and the wonderful hospitality – what other country could possibly rival Thailand in those factors?
Besides the bustling capital of Bangkok, visitors flock to the nearby islands for its pristine waters and beach fun.
One of the more relaxed island destination is Hua Hin, a mere 3 hours, 200km road trip from Bangkok.
At Hua Hin, one shops, eat and play on the beach.
With its long stretches of relatively quiet beaches, Hua Hin provides a beach holiday minus the rowdy party crowd.
Likewise, it pleasantly lacks the hassling hawkers and overbearing tourist presence of the likes of Samui or Phuket.
A 2 day trip to Hua Hin should be sufficient for a quick break.
However, there is no reason one can’t linger longer in this laidback beach town.
Long popular with the Thai locals as well as with businessmen and movie stars escaping the intensity of the City of Angels for a weekend of fresh air and pure relaxation, Hua Hin is definitely my choice of an island break if I’m in Thailand!
My last trip to Hua Hin was probably 15 years ago and I’m pleased to be back again.
How much has Hua Hin changed?
I had wondered as my van transported me 200 km out of Bangkok into Hua Hin.
Though I was ensconced in Plearnwan most of the time, we managed to spend some time on the beach, got a massage, enjoyed seafood and took time to shop at Bluport Hua Hin, one of the newest shopping malls within Hua Hin.
Indeed, Hua Hin town has prospered and there is so much to see and do now!
But as I’ve mentioned before, 80% of the 48 hours I was in Hua Hin, I was chilling away in Plearnwan Village, a recreation of the old-fashioned shophouses that once occupied the Thai times of yesteryears.
BELOW: Entrance to Plearnwan, a disneyland of yesteryears.
Plearnwan is derived from a combination of the English words ‘Play and Learn‘, together with a Thai word ‘Wan’ that means yesterday.
Stepping into Plearnwan is alike being transported via a time machine to 3 decades back.
Build mostly from wood with plenty of rustic charm, the entire venue oozes nostalgia vibe and easily drew its visitors under its bewitching charm.
I for one, fell hook, line and sinker for this delightful atmosphere that Plearnwan offers.
I have huge sentimentality for the old and my soul takes refuge in such zen places.
A life in the city of KL can take its toil and being transported to a time where days are simple and nights are slow can be invigorating for the soul!
Besides, I’m particular about cleanliness and boy, was I glad that Plearnwan offers all of the history and quaintness minus the grime!
The walls and decor are colorful.
The streets are wide and clean. The vendors are in high spirits and friendly. Upbeat music filled the air.
The smell of delicious food wafted through the place and prices are fair for the portions served.
Accommodation in Plearnwan Village: Piman Plearnwan
It was an easy place to like and yes, one should definitely book the accommodation here at Piman Plearnwan to keep the same relaxed spirit throughout the days you’re here, instead of breaking the spell by leaving this pretty venue!
Take my advice, just stay within Plearnwan in its only hotel Piman Plearnwan and enjoy the hospitality.
With so much food, an affordable, vintage accommodation plus a peaceful atmosphere to boot, there is no reason one can’t stay here for 48 hours!
BELOW: The facade of Piman Plearnwan hotel, located 1-2 storeys above street level.
BELOW: The lobby of Piman Plearnwan Hotel.
Here, watch my video of Piman Plearnwan as a video would be able to convey the vibe and space of a room more accurately than mere images.
There are 20 rooms in total and all are of almost similar size and layout. Each has a private balcony which is great for lounging about with a cuppa and for fresh air.
The rate per night goes for 1600 baht (RM200 ++) and this price is valid as of December 2016.
Please do contact them via their site –> http://www.pimanplearnwan.com/ for accurate pricing at the time of your booking.
VIDEO: My room at Piman Plearnwan
If you are traveling with family or friends, you can request for an extra bed at 300 baht per pax. Each room comes with 2 pax complimentary breakfast and should you require more breakfast coupons, each coupon is 500 baht.
Other noteworthy features are its location on the upperdeck of the entire 2 stories shoplots, effectively providing a slight level of respite from the tourist attractions below.
I like how each room is unique in style and character.
For some, it might be good to know that some are designed for easy wheelchair access, while all are pet-friendly!
BELOW: From the entrance.
BELOW: The room itself – homely space and charming.
And most importantly, it was exceptionally clean.
Even the keycard is cute!
I kept the doors open for ventilation but even if you close it, the air con and fan works well to keep the room airy and cool.
BELOW: Spacious bathroom with hot water!
I find the Thai classic style bathrooms charming.
To bath, you ladle out warm water from a heated Toom (traditional Thai giant earthenware jar).
Not to your taste? Well, there is a shower head and the pressure is fair but the water is not heated.
This contraption heats the water in the Toom only.
The standard cotton buds, shower cap and soap plus jars of shampoo, shower gel and hair conditioner are provided. No dental kit though so please remember to bring along your toothbrush and toothpaste.
BELOW: Wardrobe with hangers with a large mirror. I requested for a hair dryer and it was prompted sent up from the front desk.
BREAKFAST @Plearnwan Panich Cafe
Breakfast is in Plearnwan Panich, a pretty cafe within the Plearnwan Eco Village itself.
There are 3 choices for the complimentary breakfast – Set A which is pork porridge, Set B which was baked eggs and minced pork with toast and Set C which is toast and kaya.
All sets comes with a hot drink.
WIFI is available and there are electrical points near the tables.
Yup, chilling here while sipping great Thai coffee, smoothies and Thai teas is a highly recommended option!
For the outdoor enthusiasts:
I took long 10km runs along its main roads each morning on the 2 days I was there and saw little tourists.
From Plearnwan the nearest beach is about 10 minutes drive away so you can opt to head to the beach too!
ATTRACTIONS in Plearnwan
Within Plearnwan Village, it is possible to spend hours shopping, eating and browsing for artisan, locally produced knick-knacks.
I realized too that the vendors are polite and friendly.
I’m sure we have experienced pushy or rude vendors during shopping excursions at tourist spots around the world, not just Thailand.
However, at Plearnwan Village, you can browse as you wish without worrying about such attitude.
It is also noteworthy that Plearnwan Village supports the local community and thus your purchases of the handicrafts and food here contributes towards the locals’ livelihood.
The fair and games in Plearwan:
When night falls and you feel like playing some games (and win some goodies!), within Plearnwan Village is a small but fun games fair.
FOOD: What can you eat in Plearnwan
Gosh, there’s so much to eat and try here!
Whether you’re inclined towards the local flavours or you prefer light bites or if you have kids along, there is something for everyone from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm.
And I have to mention this – the prices are fair and the food is generally great!
You do not have to worry that pricer are tripled because Plearnwan is a “tourist” destination.
Plearnwan is for everyone, locals and visitors to Thailand.
The food is prepared by locals and the portions generous.
The fried chicken was aromatic and tender, the khanom jeen nam was punchy, the gelato fresh and creamy and well, there wasn’t anything particularly worthy of complaint so I must say my personal experience here is generally positive!
Goodbye for now Plearnwan and Hua Hin!
Hua Hin isn’t for the party animal and the pace is serene and slow. But that lies its beauty.
It is one thing I’ve come to love about Thailand – every corner of the Kingdom offers a unique experience; be it tradition, food, architecture or history.