Developing the Beach City of Hua Hin

There have been significant changes to Hua Hin over the past two decades with new condominiums, hotels, tourist bars and restaurants and retail centres opening up to match the demands of foreign tourists and local residents, as well as the aspirations of Hua Hin’s developers. As would be expected there are mixed responses to the development of Hua Hin from a small town to a sprawling conurbation over this period. Here is a shot of one of the famed tourist spots of Hua Hin, Soi Bintabaht, 20 years ago

And here it is today complete with foreign run bars and cafes, multicoloured mopeds, lots more telephone posts and the Hilton hotel in the distance.

Many of those I have spoken to celebrate the changes, welcoming some of the Western conveniences that have come to Hua Hin through its development, such as the ‘lifestyle shopping centre’ Market Village.  Others say the pace and scale of the development in Hua Hin has generated some negative outcomes for lifestyle migrants and Thais, such as the higher cost of housing, the high turnover of businesses, and the displacement of workers from Northern Thailand who moved to Hua Hin during the development boom. Despite the various perspectives on the development of Hua Hin, it is clearly a significant issue that affects the daily lives of lifestyle migrants in different ways. As I analyse more of the data collected in Hua Hin I am sure there will be more to report on this topic.

Special thanks go to one of our research participants in Hua Hin for providing these photos from his personal collection. Thank You!

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