Splash-tacular Fun in the Sun!

Top of the Aqua Tube

It’s been a really great Christmas & New Year here in the glorious little seaside town. The pinnacle of this being the arrival & opening of the Vana Nava Water Jungle, Asia’s very first water park of it’s type!

Now I have not been to very many water theme parks in my life – They are not something that we have an abundance of back in the UK so I can’t really say that I am and authority on the subject, but I do know what I like & shall share my opinion.

Vana Nava Hua Hin

The latest attraction to open in beautiful Hua Hin

My family & I went for our first ever visit on Boxing Day – December 26th. We arrived mid afternoon and it was already very crowded and the sun was beaming down. Once inside we navigated our way around the park and tried to locate a suitable location for us to sit – we were 7 Adults, 2 Children & a small baby so we needed a fair bit of space.

When we arrived there was very little queue at the main gate so it was relatively fast getting tickets. That being said, there was some initial confusion around the charge for children – The price is worked out on height – NOT age. Their website has now been updated to reflect this. We were a little taken aback by the cost when first presented with it – 1,000 Baht per adult, but after taking into consideration that ALL of the rides inside are free then it is well worth it if you arrive earlier than we did.

Vana Nava Mountain

View of the central mountain feature from near our cabana

The changing area was not particularly well thought out, I am sorry to say, with practically no privacy to change. We will give you our comments & thoughts later on but bear in mind that TIT (This Is Thailand) and as such the park is new and there is going to be some teething issue time.

There were a lot of cabana’s that you could hire for shade for the day, most were taken so we did have to wait a little while. Luckily for us this wasn’t too long. Once settled we were able to head out and explore the various fantastic looking rides.

Central river

There is a Lazy River running round the park that you can float about on – nice and relaxing

The first ride I went on was a real white knuckle experience!  Queue time was pretty fast and once there we were instructed on how to sit & where to hold and the staff were very well trained so we felt pretty good. Once on the ride – OH MY GOD! there were moments when I thought that I may come out of the dinghy but the engineers are good and they have perfectly calculated the physics (doesn’t stop you from getting the willies though!)

Vana Nava Hua Hin

The Abyss – This was a fantastic ride. Very scary but great fun as well.

The rest of the park was clean, tidy, plenty of life guard staff watching the rides and walking around making sure everyone was safe and sticking to the rules of the jungle, cafe’s dotted around & these are well worth mentioning. Drink & food prices were very VERY reasonable, which only added to the entire value for money that I was now convinced of – Only 35 Baht for a good size cup of cola. There was lots to choose from and large areas to sit & eat (if you didn’t have your own cabana) We had already eaten before arriving so I never tried the food but I will be going again and writing another food review for my blog so check back soon for that one.

So here is the part you have been waiting for – my comments & thoughts on the overall experience;

The ‘Good’

  • Good value for money – with all rides free after entrance – who can grumble?
  • Clean & tidy with plenty of life guards
  • Ride wait times not too long (when we were there on a weekday)
  • Exciting rides & calm rides for the little ones with a good mixture of in between

The ‘Needs Improving’

  • Changing area really needs sorting out as it was just chaos & mayhem – When you go, wear what you will be playing in under your clothes for easy quick change.
  • Bathrooms need to be cleaned a bit more regularly – High flow of people = High usage of toilets

I can’t really comment on the food yet but it looked good & there was certainly plenty of choice.

All in all it was a really fun day out with the family with everyone finding something that they liked & enjoying the time we spent there. A very big thank you goes to the GM Mike for making us all feel warmly welcomed and helping us find our way. If you are in Thailand, and fancy a splashing great time, then you should definitely visit Vana Nava in Hua Hin

My wife, my Bro & his 2 kids going on one of the 'not so wild' rides

My wife, my Bro & his 2 kids going on one of the ‘not so wild’ rides

Looking For A Great Hua Hin Restaurant?

hua hin restaurants - thai green curry

Thailand is a culinary delight, famous for its delicious, spicy cuisine with fresh & fruity flavors. Dishes typically use many different exotic herbs such as lemongrass, coriander, garlic, chili & lime juice to flavor their meals.

For those that are exceedingly fond of sea food you will feel that they have found paradise! Fresh rock lobsters, calamri (squid) lobsters, prawns and fish are available in Hua Hin all year round and never in short supply. For meat lovers the Thai Pork is very tender, tasty, and juicy, and most often is better than the chicken you will come across, and you should normally go for an imported steak unless you enjoy a good chew, though more recently the local cuts of Beef are getting a lot better.

Tom Yum Gung

Traditional spicy & sour soup made with coconut milk, lemon grass, chili & shrimp known as ‘Tom Yum Gung’

Fragrant Aromas & Spicy Flavours

Eating out in Hua Hin is a pleasure, and relatively inexpensive if you know the right places to go of course there are the more expensive places to go that will put a dent in your wallet. We have some really traditional Thai restaurants, lavish European style Bistro’s, high class 5 star hotels on the beach and of course those that cater for the street style vending, which are super cheap but incredibly tasty. Most restaurants in Hua Hin offer International cuisine which consists of both a Thai menu and a western style menu which offer a huge selection of dishes such as pizza’s, pasta burgers & sandwiches. There are also some fusion style restaurants serving dishes from all around Asia.

Bakeries, delis & cafe’s, which make fresh bread & pastries to European quality, are scattered all over the town, some along the main Petchkasem road while others take some considerable exploring to find but are well worth the hunt.

Fish & Chips with Mushy Peas

Fish & Chips made with Barracuda & home cut chips. Mushy peas & home made Tartar sauce – Delicious

It’s Not Just about the Thai Food!

If you prefer to be sat in a nice air conditioned place for some fine dining, this is usually found in the higher-class restaurants or large 5 star beach front hotels, and there are many great chefs in Hua Hin. You could try The Centara Grand located on the beach area at the center of the bustling bar area. This hotel numerous restaurants with character, history, and friendly, attentive staff. Wines from around the world are available in these types of restaurants, but do expect to pay a premium because of import duties.

If you would like to try some gourmet Western cuisine try The Palm Bistro, which is a fantastic family owned establishment serving delicious Thai & European fusion cuisine. It is also a restaurant and bar with a great selection of American craft beers & real English ales. It can be found in the mountains to the West of Hua Hin. For Italian cuisine, The Pizza Garden on soi 94 is a fine Italian Hua Hin restaurant with a great menu covering a lot of classic Italian dishes as well as a fabulous selection of local & Italian wines.

Hua Hin restaurant - Beef Lasagna

Perfectly cooked Beef Lasagna with sweet tomato sauce & melted mozzarella

Simple Thai Cuisine

The stable food of every Thai diet is rice! Thai people will eat rice at least three times a day and it forms the backbone of most meals. The best type of rice in Hua Hin is the Jasmine rice, grown only in Thailand; however if you go shopping for rice in a super market or a local farmers market you will be dazzled by the choice & variety of rices that are available. There are also rice noodles & egg-noodles in various shapes & sizes.

The most famous of Thailand’s culinary delights is ‘Phad Thai’ which is often known as the signature dish of Thailand. It consists of noodles fried with garlic, small pieces of tofu, egg, and either shrimps or chicken, sprinkled with peanuts, and maybe some chill-powder and a slice of lime on the side. A quick, easy dish that can be prepared in less than a few minutes and is super delicious. Very popular with children as it closely resembles pasta, but make sure they don’t have any nut allergies as this is the most important part of the dish that really brings the flavors together.

There are some other great dishes that you must try if you come to visit Hua Hin, such as ‘Tom Yum Gung’ which is a spicy sour prawn soup, or a Panang red curry, crab with yellow curry paste, and the also famous Thai green curry. Most are made with coconut milk for extra depth & thickness to the sauce. Also on the normal menu are spicy salads, which are often made using Papaya or Mango & consist of a mixture of fruit, vegetables & meat. Minced chicken, pork or beef fried with basil is also very common as well as delicious, known as ‘Ka Pao’. You could try Orchid Restaurant, on Soi 94, which serves fantastic Thai food as well as Western dishes.

Pork Noodle Soup with Beansprouts

A simple yet delicious Pork noodle Soup with beansprouts

More Than Just a Food Paradise

The great thing about this beautiful city is that Hua Hin is not just filled with amazing restaurants – there are so many other wonderful things to do.

Every year we there is a Jazz music festival, Concerts on the beach, Black Mountain Golf Course which is home of the Asia Tour for Thailand and so much more. Hua Hin is also home to the Kite Board Asia World Championships which attract an enormous amount of followers each year and is a truly wonderful event to visit on the beautiful sandy beach just a little South from the center of the city.

Currently under construction is the largest Water jungle development in Asia which is due to open its doors at the end of October & promises to be the most unique & fun packed place of its kind ever!

Nightlife in Hua Hin is much more sedate than in many other parts of Thailand. It does have it’s adult entertainment area but this is very small in comparison to places such as Pattaya & Phuket. Check out the videos below for a glimpse of some of the great things we have going on here that you definitely need to know about for when you come to visit this gem in the crown of the Kingdom of Thailand.