This beach town resort is the favorite place of Siwat Thitipornwatthanakul, sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok. This is why.
By Anita Zaror
Sometimes there are places that mark our personal story in a way that they define a path for the rest of our lives. For Siwat Thitipornwatthanakul (33), the sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, that place is Hua Hin.
Ten years ago, he had his first glass of red wine at this beach resort town, located less than 200 kilometers south of Bangkok. Back then, Thai wine production was still quite new, and as the industry grew, Siwat’s passion for it also increased to the point that he integrated wine into his professional life. Around the same time, in 2002, Siwat joined the banquet staff at the Four Seasons in Bangkok, and he worked his way up to his current role as the hotel’s sommelier. In June of this year, the industry paid him back all those years of study and hard work by granting him the Gold Award at the Italian Wine Sommelier Competition held in Thailand, organized by the Italian Wine Lovers Society with the support of the Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce.
“Hua Hin has a beautiful beach and it’s easy to get there from Bangkok. It’s like my second home,” he explains. “But what’s really interesting about it is that it escapes from Thailand’s climate and it’s a suitable area to produce wine.” In fact, Hua Hin has a microclimate, and three marked seasons: dry, from November to February; hot, from March to June; and rainy, from July to October. Greater temperature oscillation than in other parts of the country gives the area the right conditions to grow grapes like Colombard, which even wine critic Robert Parker once described as “the biggest surprise,” referring to Monsoon Valley’s 2008 Colombard, admired by its resemblance to the one used to be made in Napa Valley by the owners of Chalone.
Klai Kang Won, King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s summer palace, is located in Hua Hin. The town is also a popular spot for Thais and tourists, for young couples and families. In fact, while Siwat enjoyed that first glass of wine with his girlfriend a decade ago, he recently got married and took his daughter for a family photo session there.
Here are Siwat’s tips for enjoying the best of Hua Hin.
Your swimming suit, and the desire to relax and enjoy the seafood.
Shop under the starts and enjoy live music at Cicada, Hua Hin’s open-air night market.
Don’t go when there’s a holiday or festival taking place, as it gets too crowded. “That’s not Hua Hin anymore, it’s Bangkok!” Siwat claims.
Monsoon Valley winery; it has a nice restaurant where you can taste some of their award-winning wines.
The fish and seafood market in Khao Takiab, a town located south from Hua Hin where, according to Siwat, you’ll find the freshest seafood if you go at 6 a.m.
Siam Winery-enjoy their panoramic view and see elephants passing by.
Rent a house and feel at home. Then you can also buy the fresh seafood from Khao Takiab and cook it yourself!