Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Infestation of Hua Hin

Evason Hua Hin

What Happened to the Easy Drive

The Route
Getting to Hua Hin is a straight drive along Rama II till the end where one turns left on to Phetkasem, and from there on straight pass Cha-am and into Hua Hin. I remembered that getting there used to be an enjoyable drive of less than three hours. I remembered the smooth flowing traffic under pollution free crisp blue skies. Music accompanied our chit chats, the ever present hint of tyre noise permeating into our cabin. A pleasant drive with occasional stops at petrol stations for that snack or that toilet break, smiles on everyone's faces you met. I left home as usual on this trip, but this time I reached my destination only after an agonizing four and a half hours. The jams, started on Kanchanapisek, way before turning right on Rama II. Trucks laden the roads, pregnant with payload and slow, they do not stick to left lanes. They dominated all lanes without regards to faster moving agile cars. What was supposed to be a nice journey, turned out to be an antagonistic obstacle course. On Rama II, still the trucks infested the lanes, and on Phetkasem, the traffic filtered down to hordes of cars on a snail's pace. Why? Because of the long weekend where Vesak Day fell on a Friday. Discovery Channel can make a Great Migrations episode out of this in fact - Mad Thais on Long Weekends.

Within those hours, anyone would turn from pleasant driver to devil on wheels. We need to forget all the civic manners and adopt a combined performance made up of all the appalling driving behaviors from Kuala Lumpar, Jarkata and Ho Chi Minh city, with Bangkok inclusive of course. That way, you will move, if not, you become permanent parts of the roads most of the time. Most cars I witnessed executing amazing feats on the road are Beamers and the Benz, for some reasons success in business also showcased in success on roads. The worst traffic behavior, it is no wonder why in some countries, Asians behind the wheel are notorious for their disorderly manners. Drive wicked, use the service lane, cut into everyone's path and force your way in if it even means gaining just one car's length. Climb, the horizontal ladder of traffic that's what many did. Be wicked, reach your destinations in shorter times. We ended up stressed, angry and upset, the expression of the exhausted sprit I seen at petro kiosk. Be good and your trip to Hua Hin could take you into the night. Road rage or do a Driving Miss Daisy, your choice, your time.

Evason no longer Exclusive

The crowd at Breakfast
Evason, just a little beyond Hua Hin, on corroded shorelines she resides. A road separates the compound from the sea. Mention the word Evason and the picture of peace and tranquility comes into mind. No, not on a long weekend. What happened was a zoo. Coupled together with the sub two thousand Baht packages Evason is so widely promoting through websites such as Ensogo, the pickup for many of their most fundamental rooms resulted in a serenity breached. Bangkok families squeeze more than two into per room. Officially or unofficially remains an uncertainty. I was told the entire resort was actually fully booked for the weekend. I had trouble finding a spot to park my car.

Breakfast, it was a market. Crowds picked up and gathered in numbers when chefs were spotted ferrying the bacon to the stations. We wiped them out in no time, leaving many behind the queue with none. What's with Asians and bacon? Well, we perceive bacon as a precious rare food item from the western realms. The big pool viewing the sea, under scattered tall trees, the cast of bendy shadows. The breeze hot, of white clouds contrasting the blue skies the vista. Pleasant above but below the mayhem was. It was more like a water amusement park. And so I forgo that dip, and in my own villa pool a restful calm I had seek. This trip, for one night we picked the Evason Studio, for the next we picked the Pool Villa.

Evason Pool Villa - Bath
Evason Studio room, would not recommended it. If it is basic you want then the most basic room would suffice. The only different is the large balcony with a day bed outdoors, you lay in tropical climate and turn into a sweaty pile. Could be nice for wine in the night, but smacked tightly together the rooms divided by walls, little privacy there will be. But my second day was something else, the Pool Villa. Enclosed in high walls offering seclusion, an inviting pool was set within. Next to it the outdoor tub, encircled by a lotus pond she sits. The shower located next to the tub, in openness one baths under the stars. In the hot day not venturing anywhere to any attractions infested by the crowds, floating under the skies the cricks of nature accompanied my relax stance. One truly rest in a Pool Villa so this I highly recommend.

Great Breakfast Spread, Excellent Food

Asians and Bacon

Just too many People

Working by the Pool

Egg Station

Evason Pool Villa

Evason Studio Room

Evasion Studio - Day Bed Outdoors

Food Shortage

OX Restaurant

OX Restaurant - 12°24'16.20"N,  99°59'40.80"E
I had meals in this restaurant called OX previously. Where Evason is located, there aren't much restaurants around. So any establishments on a long weekend nearby will be packed like sardines. The non Thai and non English speaking crew guarantees to drive your frustration up a notch. The wait for food, two notches. When served the wrong food, that triples it. And when I tried to snap a picture of the rising moon set against the backdrop of the stunning horizon, the crowds kept getting in the way, so angry, so angry. This picture I shown, she (the big white one) was dominating the scene and refused to go away. For twenty full minutes she was posing away, like a mutant bull fly moving in circles on my LED screen while I watch a movie. By the time she went away, the best of lighting the dusky skies and the moon could offer was gone. And so I shall title the picture "Don't Eat too much at Hua Hin, or else...".

The Weekend Crowd

Gin Poo Restaurant

Gin Poo - 12°24'19.20"N,  99°59'30.00"E
The next day, we tried to lunch somewhere less crowded at a place called Gin Poo (meaning eat crabs). We ordered steam crabs. The waiter came back say "no crab left". We ordered fried fish in fish sauce. He came back later saying "fish finish". We ordered BBQ prawns, he came back later say "prawn finish". So we ate the only thing that was left - squid. Servings was small, taste was average, but the view of fishing boats moored along the river was great.

The Fishing Boats

Somewhere Good

Somewhere Good - 12°19'60.00"N,  99°59'51.00"E

The best meal I had was actually on an unknown restaurant, located at the corner of bend, a large wooden hut with several small straw roofed constructs. We were lucky we were early, at 11:30 we reached. The crowds soon came and many had to be turned away. The price was fantastically cheap for the quality of Thai food we have. I am a fanatic of fried rice, and this joint offers one of the best I had in a long time. The fragrance of the extra hot wok sealed the flavors of curry powder and crab into every grain of rice cooked to perfection for frying. In most places, the art getting rice cooked perfect for frying is scarce, fried rice usually ended up mushy but not here. Must try you must, must come again I will.


The Scene Beyond

The Limited Parking

So when is a good time for Hua Hin?

Never on a long weekend should one make any destination that needs to commute out of Phetkasem a choice for relaxing holiday. Unless, one leaves at ungodly hours such as 5 am in morning, the drive would turn you into a wild pile of fuming rage. The traffic had gone terrible lately with the increase of cars. This is thanks to last year's aggressive incentive schemes for first time owners, policy makers denies this of course. Anyways, all resorts will be cheaper during weekdays, quiet and private without the wild crowd. Heaps of resorts had sprang up all over Hua Hin, driving the migratory swarm even bigger. Trips to Hua Hin had always been good, too bad it is just not now.


Bestof2Worlds said...

I hear that the Bangkok weekend crowd migrate as far as Chiang Mai. I need to make sure I avoid weekends and holidays when visiting popular vacation sites, Great shots.

Jewie said...

Yeah..... weekdays will be much much better... but need to take leave.. . :( . .

Martin said...

Your site is one of the many reasons I will be moving back to Thailand, you write it just how it is, love your honesty and knowledge. Never been to Hua Hin, but will give it a go, have taken on board what you said about weekdays sounds more like my cup of tea! Thanks

Jewie said...

Hi Martin. Thanks for appreciating my blog. Wish you well and be back in Thailand soon to enjoy the charms this place could offer. Every day here is still like an extended vacation for me. I am just lovin it.