Khao Yai: A hidden gem outside Bangkok

Since I was in Thailand for almost two weeks, I looked for places where we can go to besides Bangkok. We already had Chiang Mai for a few days so I was looking for somewhere near Bangkok that we can go on a day trip to. Ayutthaya was out because I’ve recently just been there. My googling led me to consider Kanchanaburi. The place had a really good history (awakening the inner history geek in me), it was relatively near to Bangkok and the commute going there doesn’t seem so bad at all. I read more stuff and found about Khao Yai. I was so torn between the two, but in the end I chose Khao Yai.

How to get there

Khao Yai is about three to four hours away from Bangkok. You can ride a train from Hua Lamphong station and get off at Pak Chong. For us, I rented a taxi service instead that picked us up in our AirBnB in Bangkok and dropped us off back. It was THB 3,500 inclusive of gas and toll fees. It’s fairly reasonable, and I don’t remember seeing public transportation that much in Khao Yai so hiring your own car or driver for the day might be the best option.

PB Winery

Our first stop was the PB Winery. Thailand is known to have humid weather so it seems weird to think that a vineyard can actually thrive there. But it does! Khao Yai’s climate is cooler than Bangkok. The entrance fee was THB 300 that included a tour of the winery and a wine tasting.

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From this photo alone you can see that the place seems cold.
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Barrels of wine
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The vine yard. It wasn’t in season, so there were no grapes. It would have been lovely to take a photo there, but it seemed to have rained a little bit overnight so it was muddy.
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The beautiful girl is our tour guide! She’s explaining the different wines they sell in there. Which we got to taste.
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Pretty much everyone had wine while I opted for grape juice. Which was really delicious!

After the wine tasting, we were given the freedom to take a bit of pictures around the area. I loved how cold it was. The whole tour took about 1.5 to two hours. The place also has a restaurant and small store where you can buy goods such as wine and jam.

The Bloom

The next place was really near the winery. The Bloom is a really huge garden. The entrance fee is THB 100 and we paid an additional THB 20 fee for the golf cart. We thought we’d be driving it around but it turns out you just get on some tour with the golf cart as it’s a really big place. This is probably my favorite of them all!

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I love being around plants.

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Perhaps one of my favorite spots in the whole place.
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The cool weather helped me looked much better than I normally do.

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Despite the fact that the animals were in a cage I’m still mildly terrified.

The best part about the place is that it’s huge and there’s not a lot of people so you can definitely take your time and you won’t need to worry about people photo bombing your pictures.

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The Khao Yai mountain can be seen all over.

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The Bloom was really exhilarating. It was quiet, cold, and colorful. I really have a penchant for flowers so I was at my complete happiness in this place.

Birder’s Lodge

For lunch, we went to this place called Birder’s Lodge. The architecture was absolutely fantastic.

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It’s a small restaurant, but the interior was really beautiful!

We ended up sharing a pizza and fries as neither of us was truly hungry. I wanted to try the dessert but the dessert I wanted was not available. The price of the food is reasonable. I can’t remember fully but it was probably THB 500 for the two of us already including the drinks we had.

Primo Piazza

This place sort of mimicked Italy. I’ve never been there so I don’t know how close it is to the real thing. I liked it though, and they played love songs all throughout which you can hear all over. It was such a pleasant space to be in. There’s also a place there to feed animals like sheep, ram, and an alpaca. It’s my first time to see those animals up close and yes, I was extremely terrified the whole time.

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I look very fresh in all my photos on this day and I thank the cold weather for it.

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So cute on photo and so dear in person. I wish I’m not too terrified of animals.
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The gap between me and the ram…

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Beautiful!
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Dark clouds loomed, but it was a really pleasant day.
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There was barely any people there.

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There’s not much to do in the area apart from taking pictures, walking around, and feeding the animals. You can quickly do all of it in less than an hour. It’s a nice to dawdle around and kind just breathe in everything in there. It’s as if we were taken away from Thailand and transported somewhere else.

Palio

Our last stop for the day. This had more people than Primo Piazza but they looked and feel relatively the same. Palio had some stores though, so I guess that would attract more people because there are plenty of things you can buy.

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Taking a photo sitting on the fountain is a bit tricky because there’s about a 50% chance of me falling because luck + clumsiness.

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Khao Yai was worth it and I’m glad I decided to go there. A part of me is regretting because Kanchanaburi has such an excellent history and meaning. I’m going to make sure to go there when I go back to Thailand though.

The thing I loved the most about Khao Yai was that it really showed the creativity of the Thais. In the Philippines, we have similar places like this (the Venice in McKinley is a great example) and it’s a nice way to let people be able to have a glimpse of what it’s like there. A lot of people would most likely have these places on their bucket lists but might not have the chance to get there. It may not have been an authentic experience, but I really appreciated how for a short moment it felt like you were in a completely different place. Most of Khao Yai was set up like this. For example, when we went to The Bloom, it was just a garden. When we went to Birder’s Lodge, it was literally just the lodge in that piece of land and there’s a bit of a drive to get to the next place. I loved how much they tried to make it look like Italy.

The nice thing as well about Khao Yai is it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, particularly the national park. It’s one of the more known things to do there. Most of the people who go would normally stay in the park. We opted out of that, as personally I’m not a very nature person. Although I’m sure the place is lovely. Googling Khao Yai immediately directs you to the natural park more than the places we went to.

This trip is definitely worth it if you have an extra day in your trip. Bangkok is really packed with things to do, so you can skip going here if your trip will just be short. There’s also not much tourists here yet so getting around can be difficult. Most people rent cars or taxis to help take them around and pay a flat fee. In my opinion, I would also prioritize visiting Ayutthaya first rather than here, but if you like nature, then visiting the National Park might be a better priority than Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya offers a really good view of Thailand’s history and can help you visualize just how old the Kingdom is and how much it has been through. Also, Khao Yai is farther from Ayutthaya, I remember in the highway passing by signs pointing to Ayutthaya.

We left Khao Yai at around 2:30 or 3:00 I think, and got back to Bangkok a little after five. We already got caught in the starting traffic jam.

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