Hua Hin and Cha-am can be easily reached by train, bus or mini-van from the city. Air-conditioned buses leave for the three hour journey to Hua Hin from the Southern Bus Terminal on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River once every thirty minutes beginning at 04:00 in the morning and stopping just before midnight. Plan your trip to the bus terminal so that it avoids morning and evening commute traffic. Traffic into Thonburi is always heavy so be sure to allow extra time.
On the way to Hua Hin, buses stop at Cha-am on Phetkasem Hwy in the middle of town. From the Cha-am bus stop, it is a short distance to the beach and most resorts. All trains going south stop at Hua Hin, but the most convenient is the all second class Special Express Diesel Railcar leaving Bangkok's Hualumphong Station at 07:45 and arriving in Hua Hin at 11:00. A few trains going south also stop at Cha-am, with the most convenient being train 261, a 3rd class only diesel railcar departing Hualamphong Station 9.20AM and train 169, a rapid train with both 2nd and 3rd class seats departing at 3.35PM. Both trains take approximately 4 hours for the trip. Unless you have a real aversion to buses, they are much more convenient than the train when travelling to Cha-am.
From Koh Samui
Bangkok Airways no longer flies to Hua Hin from Phuket and Samui. Combination ferry/train tickets or ferry/bus tickets can be arranged with travel agents on Koh Samui. Most trips depart Koh Samui in the late afternoon and arrive in Hua Hin in the early hours of the morning. The train journeys all involve taking a ferry from Samui to Surat Thani, a bus to the Surat Train station and a train Hua Hin. Although this sounds complicated, it is actually very easy and you have the option of booking sleeping accommodations on the train. If you go by train, expect to pay from 500 to 1000 baht, depending upon the class of train service you choose.
Most people travel by 2nd class sleeper, a decision that involves choosing a fan or air-conditioned car. The latter is vastly preferable, not because it is cooler, but because it is so much quieter. The fan cars invariably have the windows open and this brings in the noise of the train as it clatters along the tracks. You will have to get off at Hua Hin as the trains tourists use don't stop at Pranburi or Cha-am. Travel by bus is less involved and less expensive, approximately 600 baht. Passengers board the buses on Koh Samui. The buses then drive onto the ferry, disembark on the mainland and proceed by highway to Pranburi, Hua Hin or Cha-am. The journey takes approximately 9 hours.
Sadly, the absence of flights from Phuket to Hua Hin has made the journey between resorts rather arduous. It is possible to take a bus from Phuket to Surat Thani and then take a train to Hua Hin, but it is faster, and probably easier, to simply take the bus all the way to Hua Hin. Expect a trip of about 10 hours and a fare of approximately 500 baht. Numerous buses bound for Bangkok leave the bus station in Phuket town in the late afternoon and will drop passengers in Hua Hin in the early morning hours.
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.
Getting To Pranburi Beach
Pranburi is easily reached by air-conditioned, express buses from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal. Although not as frequent as buses to Hua Hin, they leave at regular intervals throughout the day. If you don't like buses, you can take the train to Hua Hin and then a taxi to Pranburi. Train 169 stops at Pranburi, taking about 5 hours and arriving at 8.44PM.
All train stations and many travel agencies will arrange train tickets for you. For more information on rail travel, contact the State Railway of Thailand at +66 (02) 220 4334. The State Railways also have an English language website at www.railway.co.th/english/index.asp. Bus tickets and travel by mini-van or limousine can be arranged through travel agents, including those found in major tourist hotels.
Limousine and van transport arranged by a hotel is the easiest way to get to Pranburi. Although more expensive, you avoid the hassle and expense of transportation to and from the bus terminal and train station.