Oh, what to do when Bangkok city life just gets too stressful, or too locked down, or too, uh…hot? A country escape does wonders for the mind, body, and soul – and there’s no green retreat more beloved by Bangkokians than Khao Yai.
What’s not to love? Khao Yai is only a three-hour drive away, and is full of hipster cafes, boutique hotels, and vineyards (meaning plenty of wine, of course). Especially during a time when Bangkok doesn’t seem the most appealing place to be right now, we might be considering making a sweet escape into the countryside for a little while. Whether you’re up for exploring the region or you already consider Khao Yai your second home, let us inspire a visit with our specially curated guide to where to eat, visit, and stay in Khao Yai.
[Featured Image Credit: Roukh Kiri Khao Yai]
Where to Eat
1. PB Valley
A restaurant atop a hill overlooking their own vineyards, this is a great spot for a casual lunch or a break from your road trip. The freshly prepared food ranges through Thai dishes to a good selection of European classics too (tip: the German sausages and schnitzel are superb). Each dish on the menu has a recommended wine pairing with it too. You can walk off the meal through the vineyard or the small farm on-site. There are also bikes for rent.
PB Valley, 102 Moo 5, Phaya Yen, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30320; +6685 481 1741
A great option for an indulgent lunch or a pleasant dinner, this Italian restaurant whips up some delicious dishes from the mushroom risotto (our favourite) to the pan-seared sea bass. The vibe is polished and refined, but with none of the uptight pretentiousness. It makes for a chill, casual evening or a leisurely afternoon.
Sireena, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima; +66 80 211 1179
For a real step up in the dining scene, head to Midwinter – one of the most refined restaurants in Khao Yai. Their culinary treats involve creative European dishes, from pastas to more eclectic meat dishes. There’s spacious outdoor seating at homey wooden tables, and the overall vibe makes us feel like we’re at some kind of grand and luxurious farmhouse. The vibe is pretty polished and romantic, so it makes a great choice for a special dinner or celebratory occasion.
Midwinter, 88 Moo 10 Thanaratch Rd., Nong Nam Daeng, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30130; +66 82 452 8888
Where to Stay
1. Roukh Kiri
This is quite possibly one of the most naturally beautiful boutique hotels in Thailand – and the hundreds of Instagram posts are there to prove it. True to its luxurious close-to-nature concept, the tiny resort is surrounded by classic countryside scenery of long sweeping grasslands and cattails. There’s a pool overlooking the landscape too, making us feel more like we’re lounging around in the hills of Tuscany rather than Thailand. Food and drinks are also delicious, with their ingredients sourced freshly and locally. With picnic sets and afternoon tea on offer, it’s definitely your most scenic and breathtaking stay in Khao Yai. Book well in advance.
Roukh Kiri, 10 Pong Ta Long, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30130; +66 44 001 300 (0)
A luxurious and isolated stay in the natural beauty of Khao Yai, Boribot is a great option for those looking for a real indulgence. The privacy of this beautiful resort is perfect for a peaceful escape from Bangkok’s bustle. The bamboo groves and large on-site gardens help to soothe the mind, as well as their wonderful spa. Many of their rooms have balconies looking out to endless greenery, which is a rare sight to have at your doorstep in Thailand. Be sure to request these when you book! As for the food, you can’t go wrong at their restaurant, Buppe. Modern French with an Asian twist, their dishes range from chlorophyll risotto with grilled shrimp to mango mousse.
Boribot, 99/9 Moo 8, Moosri, Pakchong, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30130; +66 44 001 039 , +66 95 153 9456
3. Kirimaya Khao Yai
Perhaps the largest hotel in Khao Yai (it’s made up of three huge resorts), Kirimaya has plenty to offer. From golf to in-room teppanyaki, this is a great option for those looking for a more activity-filled trip. They often host small festivals, marketplaces, or barbecues in their many spacious gardens, creating plenty of great photo opps too. Rooms are also very spacious, meaning you’ll be getting ample space to stretch out and unwind during your weekend getaway. For the ultimate experience, we recommend booking a tented villa which is set up with a huge indoor hot tub as well as your own garden ready for a private barbecue prepared specially by a chef.
Kirimaya, 6 1/3 Thanarat Road, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30130; +66 44 426 000
Where to visit
1. Khao Yai National Park
Of course, no trip to Khao Yai is really complete without a visit to Khao Yai National Park. Since it’s so large, there are many different options for a visit here. You could map out a route for a safari-style road trip and catch sight of the impressive wildlife to be found here – Khao Yai is home to lots of wild monkeys, elephants, deer, black bears, otters, hornbills, porcupines, and many other creatures. If you plan on visiting individual spots, we recommend opting for the waterfalls, where you’ll find convenient parking and various hiking trails (ranging from 150m to 5km) to reach the amazing cascading views. Some of the more impressive waterfalls in Khao Yai are Haew Narok and Haew Suwat.
Khao Yai National Park, 114/1 Moo 17, Mu Si, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, 26000; +66 86 092 6529
2. Primo Piazza
A charming, perhaps slightly eccentric hidden gem – Primo Piazza is a small European-style walking village with little shops, cafes, and a farm you can visit. Distinctively designed, it’s a great place for photos – but their adorable ponies and alpacas at the farm are the real attractions. Your day-pass into the village also lets you feed the super cute fluffy animals. A perfect option for a family day out.
Primo Piazza, 200/2, Moo 10, Mu Si, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30130; +66 81 992 9000
3. Gran Monte
For the wine-enthusiasts, Gran Monte makes a great visit with its huge expansions of vineyards and wine shops. Take a walk, drive, or cycle through the sweeping views and then enjoy a wine and cheese tasting at a specially set up table amongst the vineyards to finish off your visit. Don’t forget to pick up a few goods at their shop too – their local produce is harvested to make not just wine, but also various jams, sauces, and skincare products.
Gran Monte Vineyard and Winery, 52 Moo 9 Payayen Pansuk-Kudkla Street, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, 30320; +66 92 806 7755