communicating in paradise city ...
There has been a dramatic rise in the number and variety of methods to communicate in Thailand and internationally over the past few years. The mobile telephone sector is particularly big business these days.
A visit to a mobile phone shop in Hua Hin can be a mind-boggling experience as you try to choose the model that best suits your needs. As a general rule of thumb, do shop around and listen to what other users advise before rushing in and making a purchase that may not fully suit you.
The two providers are The Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT) and Thailand Telephone and Telegraph (TT&T). There really isn't much to choose between the two and if you need a line put into your house, your decision is likely to be influenced by your location that will then determine how quickly service can be provided and at what cost. Both providers are becoming quicker at installing new connections, but your wait can vary from a few days to 3 months, depending how far you are from the centre of town.
Local calls are cheap, with a standard tarrif of 3 Baht per call for unlimited duration. Longer distance becomes more expensive, so do make sure you understand where the locale around Hua Hin finishes.
International dialing facilities can be secured through The Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT), however we really would advise against this service as international calls can be made cheaply from a mobile or through the telephones at CAT's offices next to The Post Office on Damnoern Kasem Road.
These can be found all over Hua Hin and are still quite popular, particularly with the locals. They will accept 1, 5 and 10 Baht coins and the instructions for use are straightforward. Some accept phonecards only, or a combination and some allow international calling (not advisable).
NOTE: when using a land line to call another national number (even mobile ones), try to prefix it with 1234..... This will reduce your billing by 50%. You won't be able to call everyone using this system and the service gets very busy at times, resulting in an engaged tone. It is worth trying though.
As mentioned at the outset of this section, the choice available is staggering and you really do need to shop around to find the service provider and model that suits you best. Hua Hin has as good a selection as anywhere else in Thailand (with the obvious exception of Bangkok). The main providers are AIS/One-2-Call, DTAC, Hutch, and True.
Undoubtedly, the best way to go with these is to use the "pay as you go" service. Top-up cards can be bought all over Hua Hin (7-11s are particularly convenient) and they come in 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Baht denominations.
Look out for advertised special promotions that relate to your service. As competition is fierce, you will quite often find that calls to other mobile users can cost as little as 1 Baht for an hour at particular times of the day. Furthermore, mobiles can be a great way to communicate internationally. Again, check for special promotions that will give details of access numbers to prefix your chosen number. With these, calls can cost as little as 5-7 Baht a minute. Quite a saving from a standard fee of around 40 Baht a minute otherwise.