Bicycles are an excellent mode of transport and can be rented at many places for about 30 baht an hour or 150 baht for the day. When you park your bike, be sure to lock it as thefts sometimes occur. If you are adventurous, you can rent a motorbike for about 200 baht a day. Be sure to wear your helmet. It's the law and most serious motorbike accidents involve head injuries. Car rentals are also available. Avis has offices at the Sofitel (0-3251-2021) and Hilton (0-3251-2888). In addition, there are numerous local companies with lower prices. Although you might not be asked, you are required to have an international driver's license and your insurance will be invalid without one.
Renting a Car
A large number of people choose to drive themselves to Hua Hin and its sister resorts in a rent-a-car. The journey from Bangkok is straight forward and the road easy to follow with the major road signs in both Thai and English. There are interesting stops along the way, including the Floating Market at Damnoen Saduak, the giant orange chedi at Nakorn Pathom and Petchaburi's numerous ancient wats.
The world's major car rental companies have outlets at Bangkok International Airport and in Bangkok itself. Although generally a gentle people, when Thais get behind the wheel of a car they can be aggressive. Remember to drive defensively and to give way to any vehicle larger than yours. If you are involved in an accident, expect to be held accountable even though you are positive it wasn't your fault. Also be sure you have an international license as your insurance will be deemed invalid without it.
Foot power is frequently all that is needed for getting around the town of Hua Hin. It's compact and the beach and many hotels, restaurants and tourist sites are located in the town itself. Cha-am and Pranburi are more spread out and some of the major resorts are located on isolated stretches of beach. Negotiating these areas is usually accomplished by tuk-tuk; motorbike taxis; samlor, three wheeled rickshaws; songthaew, pick-up trucks with benches in the back; and a few meter-less taxis best suited for trips to outlying areas. When using any of these conveyances, be sure to negotiate your fare before hopping on board. The adventurous and energetic often prefer to transport themselves.
The most common mode of transport in and around Hua Hin is a motorbike taxi. On every street corner you will find a collection of motorbikes and a gaggle of drivers wearing brightly coloured vests. Although taking one can be a hair raising experience, they are convenient and capable of negotiating the narrow lanes that characterize beachside Hua Hin.
Trips in town should run about 40 baht. If you choose to take a motorbike taxi for a longer trip, see if the driver has a helmet for you (unlikely), and expect to pay considerably more. If your driver is driving like a maniac, don't hesitate to ask him to slow down.
Samlors conjure up visions of rickshaws and this gives them a romantic feel. They are usually encountered at Hua Hin's railway station and invariably seem to be operated by fragile old men. Once underway, you'll realize these guys aren't fragile. They are lean, tough and incredibly strong from years of hauling people around Hua Hin. For most journeys, they charge 40 baht, but will often charge extra for luggage.
Songthaew go from one beach to another and are especially convenient for going from Hua Hin to Cha-am and the popular beach at Ao Takiap. They operate like buses and follow more or less fixed routes. Fares are very cheap and usually run around 10 baht. If you 'charter' a songthaew as your own, it will cost much more. Songthaew to Ao Takiap leave from the intersection of Sasong and Dechanuchit Roads and those to Cha-am (north) and Pranburi (south) from the main highway of Phetkasem Road.
The area also has a few tuk-tuks, exactly like those found in Bangkok. Noisy, and often belching fumes from their exhaust, they are an enduring part of Thailand's landscape. Since many of Hua Hin's streets are narrow, tuk-tuks are able to go places cars cannot. For journeys within Hua Hin expect to pay about 40 baht. Trips outside of town will be more expensive and remember to negotiate your fare before departure.