“Skål!” was the first Swedish word I learned as I took a round of tequila shots with 3 Swedes and the Thai bar staff. Their shot glasses hit the bar top over a second later than mine, a significant time in shot-taking. Tequila was not their strength. Still, it was followed with another “Skål!” (sounds like coal) and then another still.
This was my first night in Hua Hin and a great reminder of why I prefer to travel spontaneously.
My rough plan was to show up at the Bangkok bus station and see where I could go. Pick a random bus, and arrive somewhere in around 4 hours. It began as an impulsive decision to go, as I hadn’t left Bangkok in over a month. So, the last of my work was emailed in and I was packed with a bag so small that no one else can believe I can live out of it for 2-3 days.
Coworkers were planning on going to Hua Hin, though that wasn’t quite someplace at the top of my list. In general, I’m not really a beach person, but I’ve also had some of the best times in places I wouldn’t have expected. So, I hopped the bus with them.
Once in Hua HIn, around 23:00, they had already made reservations and the place was booked. So, I set out into the foreign area to find a place for the night, and likely a better deal than they were getting.
The foreign area of Hua Hin is a compact series of intersecting alleyways near the beach. They are lined with dozens of bars, most of which seemed to be relatively empty. Stuffed in between are also quite a few guesthouses.
One surprising thing to take note of is the strong Scandinavian influence throughout Hua Hin.
About 5 minutes into the search, I was being waved into a bar by a group of drunken Swedes shouting that any and all should join them. I sat down for a beer and within a moment had 3 shots lined up in front of me courtesy of the Swedes. With the first shout of “Skål!” we all took a round together.
Two of them lived in Pattaya and had come to Hua Hin to give their visiting friend a calmer beach experience. Apparently this was it.
A short while later, the bar closed down and the staff started leading us a few blocks over to a dance club near the Hua Hin Brewery (beer isn’t that good there). One the way, we ran into my coworkers who tagged along.
Of course, since I hadn’t checked in anywhere, I had the bag with me all this time. But, luckily it’s exceptionally small. And, with the help of new acquaintances, I found a room right on the beach for a better price than the others were paying.
Overall, a much better night than if I had just checked into a reservation.