For a town of its size, Hua Hin is lucky to have several large, open-air art and performance centers. Rather amazingly, 3 out of 4 of these opened just in the last year! Let’s have a look…
Baan Sillapin (Artists Village)
Baan Sillapin (or Artists Village) opened in 1998 on a 10-rai (approx. 4 acres or 1.6 hectare) site in the hills just to the West of central Hua Hin. Baan Sillapin includes large galleries of arts and antiques, artist studios, a coffee shop, and classrooms for the very-popular classes in painting and sculpture. The facility is a frequent host of special exhibitions and performance events.
Baan Sillapin is open every day except Monday, from 9 am to 5 pm. The ‘campus’ is located on the “Pala-U” road (route 3218) approximately 4 kilometers from the center of Hua Hin.
Vic Hua Hin Performing Arts Center
Vic Hua Hin Performing Arts Center, opened in January 2010 by the famous Patravadi Mejudhon of Patravadi Theatre in Bangkok, is a large and impressive complex just to the South of downtown Hua Hin. The center features the state-of-the-art 300-seat Vic Hua Hin Theatre, the ‘Flower Dome’ (Dome Dokmai) outdoor performance space, a ‘sculptured’ residence area called the Arts Camp, and numerous classrooms, shops, etc. The campus is home to the Patravadi High School Hua Hin, Thailand’s first ‘alternative’ high school with a performing arts emphasis. In January and February 2010, the Vic Hua Hin hosted the Fringe Festival Hua Hin, with numerous music, dance, and dramatic performances.
Every Saturday evening throughout the year, there are full (and impressive) theatrical performances in the Vic Hua Hin Theatre, as well as dining and performances around the Dome Dokmai. Public classes on dance, sculpture and music are held Saturdays and Sundays. Admissions and fees vary. The Vic Hua Hin is located on Petchkasem Road (the main road South), about 3 kilometers from the center of town and approximately 500 meters beyond the ‘flyover’.
Cicada Market at Suan Sri is a lovely outdoor ‘park’ featuring weekend live performances, large galleries and art market, numerous vendors of crafts and antiques, and extensive food and beverage service. The site is very beautifully landscaped, with large trees and several old ‘beach-style’ buildings, and it’s a real pleasure to wander here in the evenings. Saturday nights are especially good. All the shows are free, and you only need pay for your purchases of food and drink, crafts, art, etc. Every town should have a place like this!
The market is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening throughout the year. The site is located in Khao Takiab, Hua Hin’s Southern ‘annex’. To find the market, proceed to Khao Takiab from downtown Hua Hin. Watch for signs for the Hyatt Hotel. Suan Sri is on the left, right on the corner of the soi that leads into the Hyatt.
Plearn Wan Vintage Eco Village
Plearnwan Vintage ‘Eco’ Village is not, strictly speaking, an arts center. But it deserves a look if only for its extraordinary architecture. The unique structure is built almost entirely of recycled materials! A futuristic entryway leads you into a ‘theme park’ made to resemble a Thai town (such as Hua Hin) as it might have appeared 100 years ago. There are a lot of antique items on display, and there is an old-style open-air cinema at the rear. Lots of small shops and food sellers. This place has been a huge hit with the Thai public, who seem to have a suppressed yearning for the “Good Old Days” (which is the translation of ‘plearnwan’) There usually some music on the weekend day, and on Friday and Saturday night a very competent duo from Bangkok perform in the upstairs pub. Go take a look.
Plearnwan is located on Petchkasem Road at Soi 40, just North of the King’s Palace. Open daily until 10 pm (midnight Friday and Saturday)