Long associated with white sandy beaches, shopping and nightlife, Thailand is one of the top preferred destinations for Indian travellers. However, the next time you are in Thailand, how about ditching the usual and opt for something more exclusive and less touristy?
Just three hours away from Bangkok, Khao Yai is a perfect destination for families, MICE groups, single woman travellers, couples or even women travellers.
Though the region is known for its wildlife park, there is more to it. From wineries to Tuscany-look-alike villages, from whimsical accommodation options to cafes that look more like museums, the destination has everything for every segment of traveller.
It’s not quite up there with Tuscany, Bordeaux or Napa, but Thailand’s Khao Yai wine region (or “Asoke Valley”) offers some refined varietals from a handful of vineyards peppered among family farms, country roads, green hills and fields of sunflowers. If you enjoy wine tasting, farm stands and country drives, the Khao Yai farm and wine trail makes for an enjoyable excursion beyond the national park.
We bring you the top five attractions and activities of this picturesque city.
1. Wine Tour
One of the most popular regions for wine in Thailand, Khao Yai houses two top wine brands – PB Valley Winery & GranMonte Vineyard & Winery. We opted for PB Valley Winery which is the oldest & largest vineyard and winery in Thailand. From Chenin Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon to Shiraz to Pinot Noir, and more, an excellent choice of grape varieties is cultivated at PB Valley. Vineyard and winery guided tours (including wine sampling) are available. The tour has 3 stops; grapevine farm, production factory and a shortstop for wine tasting.
Later, do try their in-house restaurant ‘Great Hornbill Grill Restaurant’ which offers excellent menu of international and Thai cuisine. Every dish on the menu has a wine pairing suggestion, but if you don’t drink wine, you can pair it with fresh grape juice as well.
2. Primo Piazza: Feed Sheep and Alpacas in Italian set-up
Thanks to Primo Piazza, you no longer have to fly halfway across the world to get a taste of Italy, and have the gorgeous pictures to prove it too. You could be easily mistaken for thinking that you were in a remote Tuscan village, with the complex’s classy Italian architecture, cobbled streets and lush green surroundings.
Primo Piazza even houses a farm where you can exchange your entrance ticket for a handful of animal feed. This will most definitely up your animal-whisperer abilities tenfold as the merino sheep, donkeys and even resident alpacas start trotting to the front of the fence.
At Primo Piazza they have succeeded in creating that warm and relaxing Mediterranean atmosphere, with an array of excellent cafes and restaurants on hand to help you unwind.
3. Get Lost at Pete’s Maze
The more you’re lost, the more you enjoy it. Pete Maze is an outdoor location and a farm. Here is a maze of trees, the largest in Thailand. If you’re traveling with kids, the Pete Maze is also anything but easy to complete with multiple surprises found throughout.
This is a great fun activity for the whole family and is guaranteed to keep the children happy, as they weave their way around the maze’s leafy avenues. You could say that they will find it A-MAZE-ING! Having managed to get lost several times, you’ll then be able to retreat to the safety net of the café, getting rehydrated before heading back out onto the road.
4. Khao Yai Farm Village
Khao Yai Farm Village offers several activities such as planting workshops, making of hand soap, baking banana cakes, etc. A perfect location for selfie snapping Indian travellers, this place won an agro-tourism award in 2017. Experience the rural side of Thailand at this farm by indulging in various activities or just enjoy feeding sheep, goats and rabbits.
Other attractions include Khao Yai Art Museum, The Bloom (largest flower garden in Thailand), Khao Yai National Park and multiple restaurants around the city.
If you are looking for some unusual accommodations, try Lala Much Tented Resort (For African Safari camping experience), My Ozone Khao Yai (Castle style resort), Hobbit House (For Hobbit movie buffs), U Khao Yai (French Country-side village theme), Thames Valley (English Countryside theme), Casa De Montana (Caravans) and many more.