Khao Yai is the go-to for those who do not crave for sandy toes and beachy woes, but rather favour the green embrace of the mountains.
Long known as a peaceful destination to cool off and immerse oneself in nature, the UNESCO World Heritage Site has plenty to offer in terms of serenity and exploration, between spotting wildlife at the Khao Yai National Park or admiring the mountain views pre-nap. It’s a place where you could go chasing waterfalls or go wine-tasting at the vineyards, and it’s a place where you’ll find many a natural wonder in the jungles or a man-made phenomenon at the Tuscan-inspired Palio Village.
If you too seek this kind of adventure that strays a little from the mainstream (not everybody likes to be a beach bum), Khao Yai may just hit that spot for you. Here, we’ve put together a few of our favourite boutique hotels to check into. Consider your cool getaway from the city sorted.
[Hero & Featured Image Credit: Hotel Labaris]
Probably one of the most famous boutique hotels in Khao Yai, Kirimaya’s Muthi Maya is a dreamland for those who want to immerse themselves in nature, yet not stray too far away from modern comforts. Through elegant and contemporary interiors, the resort is located in the midst of the forest, with mountains surrounding the premises. The design philosophy embraces the greens with an open-air concept, with large 164sqm pool villas that feature a private patio, jacuzzi, garden, and sala for lounging, too.
What series does The Series resort refer to in its name? There’s only one way to find out. With an ethos that focuses on ‘Oriental Sensation Treasure,’ The Series aims to highlight “local treasure from Eastern Asian countries” through design and expression. It’s got something very airy about it, between bright interiors and sprawling light blue saltwater pools, and a charming Thai-style afternoon tea served with a view of the mountains to suit. A little reminiscent of our beloved beachside resorts, with the added upgrade of surrounding greenery.
If you’re one for glamping, you’ll love Lala Mukha. The tented camp blends together safari lodge-like elements with the lush tropical landscape of Khao Yai National Park. With grasslands all around, rise in your dreamy ecru tent to admire the lime-stone mountains and take part in many of the back-to-nature activities provided here. It’s a lot like childhood camping, but for adults, and the best part is that it’s an eco-friendly resort, too.
For those who want to get away from the city and head right into a fairytale, Hotel Labaris is definitely your calling. Inspired by a mythical tale, the property covers a vast 24,000 sqm — the size of a ‘wonder kingdom’ as they put it. Divided into 5 ‘chapters’, guests will get to stay in the Starry Castle or Midnight Castle, between roaming the Labyrinth, the Secret Hill, the Rabbit Cafe, the Whispering Meadows, or the Siren’s Deck. We’re not joking when we say there is so much to explore (and so much to ‘gram, too). A perfect escape that really and truly feels like an escape — from reality and everything else.
Sala Khao Yai
You may know and love the Sala brand from its outlets by the Bangkok riverside and Ayutthaya, so it’s both pleasing and comforting to know the Thai chain has opened a hotel in Khao Yai, too. Post a day of trekking through Khao Yai National Park, enjoy a meal at the Hilltop restaurant here before heading back to your 164sqm pool villa. Revel in the two daybeds outside with a view of Khao Yai Valley just below, and enjoy possibly one of the best naps you could have in the Thai countryside.
Kirimaya Khao Yai Resort
Khao Yai is the location for anyone who wishes to be closer to nature, and this is an ideal that Kirimaya really understands. At the resort, your activities could range between gazing at the stars to gazing at the wildlife around, or even taking up the challenge of the Jack Nicklaus golf course. We love that the resort also houses the MAYA Spa on the premises, making it the ultimate sanctuary for serenity in Khao Yai.
We may be far away from the British riverside, yet something about Thames Valley brings a little bit of Europe to the Thai countryside. 10 minutes away from Khao Yai National Park and 3 minutes away from Life Park, the resort really goes for that rustic aesthetic, with wooden floors and exposed brick walls — much like an English country home. A romantic getaway for couples especially, the restaurant here is called ‘The Castle’, so if you’ve always wanted to vacation like the Lord and Lady, here’s your chance.