Compared to 10 years ago when pakdokter first visited Hua Hin, it has grown into a big town with its own crowd and traffic jams especially during the weekends. New hotels and condominiums have been built or are under construction. There is a new shopping mall and the number of golf courses have doubled from the last time pakdokter was here.
The little lanes and streets around the Hilton and the Sofitel Centara have not changed though. Pakdokter can still recognise a few of the old Italian restaurants, pubs and sea food restaurants that we had visited ten years ago. And the Nepalese tailors are still in charge of this trade. Every European tourist must be tailoring their new jacket in Hua Hin!
As pakdokter had earlier commented, the number of 'Mat Salleh' tourists has definitely come down this year. Hua Hin used to be full of these 'farangs' - but this time around apart from the strong presence of the Scandinavians, the residents of PIIGS ( Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) were obviously absent. Our hotel and the Sofitel next door had about 50% occupancy and towards the weekend some Japanese and Koreans were seen to be checking in. Pakdokter learnt from the golf club limousine driver that the Japanese and the Koreans would come a little later especially in April/May.
The presence of the Scandinavians has probably been a main reason why quite a number of Swedish and Norwegian restaurants and pubs were put up in the town.