Hua Hin has always drawn a blank with me. After climbing Khao Takiab I struggle to find anything else worth doing. To me Hua Hin feels like a retirement town for elderly couples to potter on beaches and eat nibbles at night markets. Not a bad thing. It means no obligation to be active and I can enjoy a relaxing weekend away from Bangkok chaos. I have adopted Hua Hin as my quick beach getaway. It bypasses the sleaze of Pattaya while not travelling far from Bangkok. Three hours to Hua Hin vs. two hours to Pattaya. Hua Hin is well worth the extra hour and my new favourite attraction is Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. Regular minivans to Hua Hin leave Bangkok Victory Monument Terminal.
I should first point out there is no winery at Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. Don’t expect barefoot grape squashing. After harvesting, the grapes are transported North to Samut Sakorn (45km from Bangkok) where wine is made. Hua Hin Hill Vineyard is only a Vineyard. A completely unique vineyard. Certainly the first I’ve seen with elephants stomping back and forth. The vineyard is located in a shallow valley, surrounded by hills which makes for amazing views from the top gallery and restaurant. This is the ideal spot to relax with wine tasting and tapas. Wine Tasting Sets are for Thailand’s Monsoon Valley range which all originate in Hua Hin Vineyard (sets start 240 Baht). The views are also perfect for cutesy posed photos as demonstrated by Fanfan.
Private tours can be organised at any time of the day. Being cheap I prefer the free tour option. The free tours start at 1pm and 4pm daily. Thankfully Hua Hin Hills Vineyard is not a busy tourist attraction so chances are you will be the only visitors on the tour. The tour lasts roughly one hour, circling the valley with stops at different variety grapevines. The tour guide will tell you not to eat the grapes so be sneaky to steal a few. The valley is lined mostly with shiraz grapes (Monsoon Valley Shiraz Wine). For full details of grapes check the vineyard map. The best time to visit is in March during the grape harvest. For further information check the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard Website.
For our trip to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard we rented a car and driver for the day (can be organised anywhere in Hua Hin town). The vineyard is located inland roughly an 45 minutes from Hua Hin’s beaches. Part of the charm of the trip was the rural life along the way, stopping to photograph baby pineapples and having our car blocked by gangs of monkeys. We did a second stop at a waterfall (Pala U Waterfall). Clambering through forests, climbing barefoot on jagged rocks, getting wet; same again in reverse only wetter. I’m not a waterfall fan. Something new to me here was the butterflies which breed along the river banks. The area is swarming with them.