Khao Yai National Park covers 2,000 square kilometres of forest and grassland in central Thailand, including more than 50 km of hiking and biking trails. This stunning nature preserve is home to many waterfalls and shelters a diverse range of wildlife, such as bears, gibbons, hornbills, tigers and elephants. Beyond its natural splendour, the region is also renowned for its cowboys, coffee shops, theme parks and sunflowers. The area is very popular with weekend holidaymakers from Bangkok as it’s only a three hours’ drive from the capital city. As there is so much to see and do here, it’s highly recommended that you book a Khao Yai hotel and take a few days to explore the area and all it has to offer. With that in mind, here are our top four places to visit in Khao Yai:
1) National Park
One of the biggest and best places you’ll definitely want to visit is Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, this parkland, which is the largest intact monsoon forest in Asia, is chock full of lush flora and fauna, along with many activities to get the blood pumping. Either by foot, bike or car you can explore this amazing wildlife zone via different trails. Visit beautiful waterfalls, elephant reserves, butterfly sanctuaries, etc.
2) Farm Chokchai
For something different, slip on your cowboy boots and head to Farm Chokchai! This famous and award-winning agriculture tourist attraction is the largest working dairy farm in Asia. Tourists are welcome to visit the farm and participate in a lot of exciting activities, such as cow milking, ice-cream making, tractor riding and watching a cowboy/dog/horse show. There is also a museum housing a range of old machinery and equipment to explore. On the way out, make sure you stop by the line of shops, cafes and restaurants at the farm entrance, here you can enjoy a fresh steak and buy some souvenirs.
3) Wine Tasting
Believe it or not, Thailand, and in particular, Khao Yai, is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with on the global wine-producing stage. If you’re keen to know how grapes are grown, harvested, crushed and turned into fine wine, and, of course, sample a few vintages along the way, then a trip to GranMonte Estate or PB Valley should be at the top of your Khao Yai to-do list. Khao Yai’s verdant foothills have proven to be fertile ground in the wine business. Since the late 1980s, this region has been producing a range of top-quality wines, with the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz being standouts.
4) Jim Thompson Farm
Chances are if you’ve spent any time in Thailand or researched travel ideas, you’ve come across the name Jim Thompson, the man who single-handedly transformed the country’s silk industry. What few tourists know is that beyond his famous museum-cum-house in Bangkok, the brand also runs a farm in Pak Thong Chai, which is actually where their high-quality silk is produced. In December and January, the farm is opened up to the public; you can visit and see the expansive silk farm, picturesque vegetable patches, botanical gardens, flower beds and a model Isaan village.
We hope this article has inspired you to book a Khao Yai hotel and take a trip to this fantastic and often overlooked part of the Land of Smiles.