Rayong or Hua Hin? Read about the differences.
The distance from Bangkok International Airport to Hua Hin and Rayong are not very different, but going to Rayong is much faster because you don’t have to go through Bangkok first. It takes two hours from the airport to Mae Rampheung Beach in Rayong, and there’s motorway most of the way. You can add at least an hour to that, if you’re going to Hua Hin.
There’s bus service and minivan service from the airport, or you can simply take a taxi! Taxi fares are low in Thailand, so maybe you can allow ourself that luxury.
- Bus around 150 THB
- Minivan around 200 THB
- Taxi around 2,500 THB
There are several beaches n Rayong, which officially has 174 km of coast. Some popular beaches are:
- Mae Phim beach
- Suan Son beach
- Kens beach
- Laem Charoen beach (in Rayong city)
- Mae Ramphung beach (with VIP Real Estate’s projects)
Rayong has much more beach space than Hua Hin, and has several different beaches. In general the beaches are safe also for kids, because the water is fairly shallow. On top of all this you can visit up to five islands in the area, which Hua Hin doesn’t offer:
- Koh Samet (the best known located right at Mae Rampheung beach)
- Koh Kudi
- Koh Mun
- Koh Talu
- Koh Chang (good diving)
Hua Hin is a better choice for golfing, because you can reach all courses within 45 minutes from Hua Hin. But Hua Hin is expensive! (also with golf). For golfing you will be charged around three times the prices in Rayong. If you buy a member card, you can go golfing in Rayong for as cheap as 800 THB. And Rayong has good golf courses, for example Siam Golf Course, which is being used for international tournaments.
Rayong is clearly ahead of Hua Hin when it comes to shopping, and that is caused by the number of residents in the area. Rayong has around 650.000 people, where Hua Hin has around 80.000. I Hua Hin markets and restaurants are primarily visited by tourists, but in Rayong the majority of the customers are local people. This keeps the prices down where they should be, and make the whole scenery much more authentic. Hua Hin is controlled by tourism – Rayong is not!
Many foreigners are not so familiar with Rayong, and have heard more about crowded and expensive areas like Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phuket. Most foreigners don’t know that Rayong is the second-largest tourist destination in Thailand after Phuket. However, the majority of the tourists are Thai people (they should know where to go), and that keeps the whole area far more authentic than Hua Hin and the other popular tourist destinations that are flooded with foreigners. Rayong therefore also offers more authentic and original Thai culture, and the prices are in general 33% lower.
As a rule of thumb – a family can save around 1,000 USD on a two week holiday in Rayong compared to Hua Hin.
In the health sector the two places are very much alike. There a lots of small clinics and both government and private hospitals, for example Bangkok Hospital.
Night life is also comparable. Rayong maybe has more night clubs and discos, whereas Hua Hin is better known for smaller pubs with girls for entertainment.
If you prefer to stick to your usual food (despite of Thailand’s excellent food), then Hua Hin clearly offers a bigger selection of foreign restaurants. But don’t worry, McDonald’s is everywhere, also in Rayong. And there are still lots of choices of restaurants with western food on the menu. In fact, you don’t have to go any further than the restaurant inside the VIP Chain Resort. We serve both Thai and western dishes, and we can twist it according to your wishes.
Whether you prefer Hua Hin or Rayong depends on your needs – but in Rayong you will get it much cheaper, without big crowds and much more authentic. This also reflects on the type of visitors you find in the two destinations. In Hua Hin you will find golf players, families with kids, and (often elderly) male tourists who like to hang out in bars with lots of beer and girls. Rayong is more popular among families and (often retired) couples, who enjoy a quieter area with lots of nature and authenticity. Thai tourists clearly prefer Rayong as their holiday destination, and therefore Rayong will never be dominated by foreigners.