Love in Khao Yai
A merely 2.5 hours’ drive from Bangkok; Khao Yai is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, where it housed the third largest national park of Thailand which is spread across 4 provinces (Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachinburi.
Gifted with the lush mountainous landscape and valleys, the average temperature is around 23 degree all year round which is quite cool and suitable for growth of various flowers and fruits. There are numerous vineyards around and the vineyards of Thailand’s award-winning labels are located here too!
For this trip, like I said previously, it was a Hea 爆 trip in Khao Yai. More on rest and relax and rejuvenate, with slow pace moments. The 6 of us took the ride on the van (15000 baht for 3 days) and toured around Khao Yai. Basically, if you are not planning to visit the Khao Yai International Park, a 2D1N trip is sufficient. And if you wish to visit to Jim Thompson Farm which is opened for public on December till January (about a month period), do spare a little extra time for that as it was located quite a distance from Khao Yai (about 1 hour ++ from Khao Yai). If you have extra budget, try to stay in a fancier accommodation (which are not cheap). You will definitely don’t think that you are in Thailand if staying in those fancier places such as La Purinee, a European style barn-liked boutique hotel where a reader shared her experience with me.
So now, let’s see what I did in Khao Yai.
#1 Stroll & take photos in Palio
Palio is a charming small Italian theme shopping arcade in Khao Yai; about 20 mins drive from Pakchong. Completed with a clock tower, baroque-style buildings, gardens, it features a lot of stores selling clothes and souvenirs; and restaurants on pedestrian streets and alleyways. A great place for photos in this little “Italian” town. However, I find that some buildings are worn off. It was quite empty as most of the stores were not opened too. Perhaps it was the time I visited on weekdays?!
Entrance fee: FOC
Palio Khao Yai
146/1 Thanarat Rd. (km.17), Mu Si, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand 30130
Mon – Thurs: 8am to 8pm
Fri – Sat: 8am to 10pm
Sun: 8am to 8pm
#2 Enjoy an afternoon tea in The Chocolate Factory
The Chocolate Factory is an Italian restaurant and chocolate shop; with the chocolatier leaded by Chef Eric Perez, the chef of France. The chocolate here is freshly made daily; using the finest and best ingredients imported from Belgium, France and Switzerland. There are more than 30 entries created by Chef Eric Perez himself.
This a great place for a relaxing afternoon tea. The décor itself is pretty cosy; with the huge glass wall that brings in the sunlight, a perfect place for Instagram purpose too. Once you enter the restaurant, there was this aromatic rich chocolate scent following you around.
Check out the chocolate-elf in action; making fresh chocolate goods on spot before you really sit down and enjoy the afternoon. If you fancy on learning how to make chocolate, you can take up the chocolate workshop. Course day and time are available on their website.
Besides that, they serve European cuisine with a blend of Thailand fusion dishes too. Since we were there after lunch, we just sat down and had some cakes and chocolate drink. Love everything we ordered. The signature hot chocolate was very creamy, thick and rich. Fans of chocolate must order their I Love Chocolate. It was extremely rich and loaded with chocolate. Most importantly, it was not cloyingly sweet.
The Chocolate Factory
352 Moo 2, Thanarat Rd,
T. Musee Pakchong District,
Nakorn Ratchasima 30130
Opens daily from 9.30 am to 9.30 pm
#2 Continue to Hea in Coffee House
Not a chocolate fan, you can always hop next door to this Coffee House which is located just next to The Chocolate Factory. Quirky fun place with lovely decors outside the coffee house. We actually took a lot of photos over here.
#4 Dinner in an antique shop – Baan Mai Chay Nam
You gotta be amazed with this shop. At the first glance, I thought I was in the wrong place for dinner. Till I walked further in, there is actually a restaurant with seats overlooking a river hidden deep down inside. After ordering your dishes, you can always hop up to check out the antique toy collection this shop owned. It is as though a museum to me!
Thai dishes here were pretty good. Especially the fried chicken and fried pork which were loaded with herbs and spices. We ordered two each for these.
Baan Mai Chay Nam
21, Mittraphap Rd.,
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
#5 Wine Tasting Tour in PB Valley Khao Yai Winery
PB Valley Estate is the largest vineyard in Khao Yai which offers a professional guided Wine Tasting Tour for locals and tourists who are interested in learning more about their wine process and making. Priced at 300 baht, this guided tour takes about 75mins; conducted in Thai and English. There are 3 sessions per day – 10.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. The tour allows ones to take photos with the grapes but not plucking or eating them. You will be served with tasting portion of white wine, rose and red wine while kids will be served with 100% fresh Grape Juice produced by PB Valley for joining this wine tasting tour. By the end of the session, you will be given a bottle of grape juice as souvenir.
PB Valley Khao Yai Winery
102 Moo 5, Phaya Yen, Pak Chong
Nakorn Ratchasima 30320 / Thailand
#6 Sleep on the flower bed at THE BLOOM
Located just like a 3-min-drive from PB Valley Khao Yai Winery, this is relatively a new attraction that is not just landscaped with beautiful floral but it is also served as a resort kind of place, equipped with different kind of accommodation of your choice; overlooking the lush green quiet atmosphere. Public has to pay a fee of 100 baht while Guests are free to visit the floral area.
#7 Feed the Alpaca in Primo Piazza
Mehhhh… does alpacas sound like this???
Here in this place filled with Italian architecture; the terracotta-toned buildings, lush green lawn and mini farm filled with donkey, alpaca and merino. These animals were really cute!
Entrance fee at 100 baht inclusive feeding of these animals.
Meh meh meh…
Primo Piazza Khao Yai
861 Moo 6, Thanarat Road
Tambol Nong Nam Daeng
Pak Chong District,
Nakhon Ratchasima 30130
#8 Drown in the Sunflower Sea
The sunflower season in Khao Yai is happening from November to February. It depends on your time and weather of visiting as well. Sometimes you may see the field full with sunflower but sometimes only patches. We actually saw a lot of sunflower field along the way; some were small field while some were really huge and we decided to stopped by this one that was filled with a sea of sunflowers.
Entrance fee: 20 baht per pax. Please pay to the auntie selling fruits opposite. It’s not easy to maintain all these.
#9 Eat all the local delights at Pak Chong Night Bazaar
Eat all you can here because the local food here is super affordable!!! 20 baht, 25 baht, 30 baht per packet. Eat them all!!!