It's become such a popular destination that tourists could be forgiven for assuming it's a province in its own right. But Hua Hin is only a district, albeit the most famous of the eight that make up Prachuap Khiri Khan province and the one located nearest to Bangkok.
"Hua Hin has been experiencing rather dramatic growth," conceded Pasitta Inthaphand, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office for the province. "The town has got quite big. Condominiums, restaurants and retail businesses are mushrooming like crazy. I'm quite concerned about the water supply once all those new condo units are occupied."
Things do seem to have changed a lot in this historic beach resort, long a favourite royal retreat, as I discovered after taking a stroll around the place recently. Bars, convenience stores, seafood eateries, guesthouses and massage parlours occupy virtually every centimetre of main-road frontage and the back streets seem to be perpetually clogged with taxis, motorcycles and merchants' vehicles. Traffic jams are now a common occurrence here, apparently. Exploring a bit more I came across construction workers labouring away at a feverish pace to complete shiny "concept" shopping malls and theme parks, new diversions for shopaholic travellers and Facebook fans alike.
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