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“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.

Tiny bag

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.

Example of the odd Scandinavian influence.

And another.

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.

Coworkers and I, and a sleepy Thai.

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.

Benjamin Williams

Hi all, my name is Ben. I’m a native Michigander with a passion for human culture and new places, and more than that, new experiences. I have degrees in archaeology and writing, pursuing a career in the latter. However, I never quite lost that fascination for archaeological theory. For the past 11 years, I’ve been living and travelling between Asia, Europe, and North America, documenting ancient sites and the peoples who built them, and then adapting them into practical archaeological travel information at

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