DAY 55: Our flight to Hua Hin was in a 12-seater, the flight went
smoothly with great views over Bangkok, paired fishing boats in the
Gulf of Siam, and the Hua Hin coastline. We were met by the Anantara
shuttle, a luxurious people carrier, that drove the 1km (!) to our
hotel - where, as with the Siam City in Bangkok, nothing was too much
trouble. We soon started to see similarities with Tokoriki – even the
same flower-heads floating in water as decoration. After a meal and a
relaxing afternoon doing very little, we walked around the beautifully
landscaped grounds inspecting the pool, the lagoon and the seafront (at
high tide the beach is a limited area of sand along the top of a
seawall). The lagoon area has a small oval swimming pool with water
splashing over the edge (as Tokoriki, Fiji), the ‘splashover’ appeared
to be dropping into a lake with lillies, fountains and waterfalls.
DAY 56: Relaxing day, Sudoku and Scrabble by the pool. Breakfast was a vast spread of international choices, lunch was brought to us at the poolside (the bar was literally poolside and pool level, so that it was possible to drink and eat at the bar whilst in the water). Fruit here includes Lady’s Fingers (3-4” bananas, very yellow and full of flavour); Pomelo (a large mildly-flavoured, juicy grapefruit); Rose Apple (pear shaped, pear textured, juice and flavour squeezes out leaving a dry, tasteless pulp in the mouth); Dragon Fruit (juicy white with lots of small, edible black pips).The beer in Thailand is strong lager, both in taste and alcohol content (from 5.5% to 6.7%). It was high tide on our first look at the sea, about 11:00 on Saturday. We spotted that it was a long way out at 18:30 today and still out after we had eaten at 20:00, so we decided to get up at 07:00 and go for a walk on the sands…
DAY 57: …we obviously miscalculated (and were a tad disappointed), having set our alarm and arrived at the beach about 07:45, to find the sea at high tide. Do tides work to a different timetable nearer the equator? After another great breakfast, we took the free shuttle to Hua Hin centre and chose a street at random to walk to the beach. The road was narrow and lined with small stores, the footways were often missing or blocked, but eventually we could see that they went up a few steps to shop-lined boardwalks. These turned out to be short parallel piers over the sea, which the road just stopped at (there was no visible beach). We eventually found the beach, via another, similar road. This beach was, for the first 100m or so, completely taken up with loungers and sunshades (and horses for hire). We walked down and around these and along what turned out to be a very nice sandy beach. Our walk continued around the topiary-filled grounds of the very special Sofitel (100 year old Railway Hotel), then on to the unusual railway station (one building for the people and one for royal use, the king often leves in Hua Hin). Back at the Anantara, we discovered low tide at 16:00-ish (!) and went for yet another walk. We were fascinated by the thousands of small crabs making millions of sand 'marbles' (as on Cairns beaches).
DAY 58 (LAST FULL DAY): We started the day at 06:15 sitting on a lounger at the water’s edge watching the sun rise. There are three fairly large ships permanently moored off Hua Hin which are all lit up at night and, as we sat there, the number of small fishing vessels rose from 3 to more than 10. It was worth the early alarm call, the ever-changing colours and the reflections on the high tide were lovely. After yet another great breakfast we spent another day relaxing poolside, followed by a stroll on the sands (this time walking north and directly under the 2/4-seater planes landing every few minutes on the adjacent airport runway). We had visited the Italian restaurant two evening's ago and just had to finish the day with a return visit - the tomato broth, sea bass main course and tiramisu were just the best meal of the entire trip.
DAY 59: We do have most of the day to relax (Teresa is swimming as I write), I am uploading what is likely to be the last set of photos - web access 24hrs broadband in the room 650 Baht (under 10UKP). We’ll have our final Thai meal as a late lunch, stroll the sands one last time and after a shower prepare for the 20 hour journey home - that’s about an hour to Bangkok; an airport wait; 13 hours overnight to Heathrow and a long taxi ride - assuming all connections go smoothly.