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Day 1 Highlights

Rai Maneesorn (Sunflower Field)

Midwinter Green Khao Yai (Restaurant)

Day 2 Highlights

Khao Yai National Park (Important Information)

Khao Yai 30km. View Point (in Khao Yai National Park)

Dinner at ครัวหญ้าคาเขาใหญ่ (Thai Restaurant)

Day 3 Highlights

Palio Khao Yai

The Chocolate Factory Khao Yai

PB Valley Khao Yai Winery

TIPS?!

IGTV

Best time to visit Khao Yai:End November to Early January
Recommended length of visit at Khao Yai:~ 3 nights (max. 4 nights at best, and really stretching it!)

With the constant advertisements on the things to do beyond Bangkok city itself, we have places like Hua Hin (~ 2.5 hours from Bangkok) and Khao Yai (~ 3 hours from Bangkok) popping up every so often. Which reminds me, I should probably start working on my Hua Hin article soon huh. 😀

Khao Yai is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Khao Yai National Park is the third largest and probably the most visited! If you were to do a quick google image search on Khao Yai, you would probably see quaint-looking buildings that you would not believe they are actually located in Thailand. The buildings / hotels are designed to make you feel like you are in some European scene immersed in lush green calmness. Well, at least that was my impression of Khao Yai even before I went. Oh and also not to forget the amazing sunflower fields filling the entire vista!

J and I trying to catch the sunlight.

There are so many luxurious themed hotels that will take your breath away and be just spoil for choices, so I will not delve into that. Let me bring you through my 4D3N stay at Khao Yai – things in my itinerary you can probably forgo and things that are must dos!

Day 1 Highlights: Rai Maneesorn (Sunflower Field)

Operating Hours:07 00 – 18 00 daily
Entrance Fee:Foreigner: 80 Baht / pax

Local Adult: 40 Baht / pax

Local Child: 20 Baht / pax

(collection of fee happens at the carparking area; someone will signal you to wind down your window and pay up as you are parking your vehicle)
Recommended length of visit:~ 1 – 2 hours

(depending on how intense you want your sunflower selfie game to be)
Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

We arrived at the sunflower field at about 16 30. Considering that the sun would be setting in about 1.5 hours’ time, there were not many visitors. The evening air was cooling and crisp! There was not much I could ask for. Everyone could find their own little spot around the big vast field to have plentiful of beautiful pictures with the sunflowers and not be obstructed. The distant sunset as the backdrop added an awesome texture to the whole peripheral vision I must say!

You will not be stopped by anyone when you step onto and between the rows of sunflowers on the planting field. Just make sure you are gracious enough to do not pluck, destroy or stomp on any sunflowers in the process! 😀

As there are not much shady areas to hide from the sultry afternoon sun, I suggest visiting the field in the morning or evening! I would prefer the evening.

This sunflower field is a must visit place when in Khao Yai. You have to make sure you do not miss it!

Day 1 Highlights: Midwinter Green Khao Yai (Restaurant)

Operating Hours:10 00 – 22 00 daily
Personal Breakdown Rating: (out of 5)Ambience 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Service 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Food Quality 🙂 🙂
Overall Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂
Total Damage (per pax):~ 1150 Baht

(This also depends on what exactly you are order. We had 2 mains and 2 sides.)

The WOW factor of course came from the ambience. I have to say it is probably one of the most romantic dinner spots I have seen, especially the outdoor seating – which by the way, has people queuing for. We decided to take the indoor seating as it was a pretty cold night and I was already freezing my arse off just walking from the parking lot all the way to the restaurant.

Outside Midwinter Green restaurant.

The outdoor seating took my breath away with its dim lightings and candles on each table. There was also a stage outside with a live band. I would say it would make a perfect date night! However, being me, I could not appreciate it that much as I wonder how long would anyone’s bowl of cream of mushroom soup remain hot out in the cold? 15 seconds or less? Haha! 😀

The restaurant’s property is amazingly lit. Alas, food wise… … I would say for the price I paid for, it was definitely going to the ambience. I could get better food with such a price point elsewhere I reckon, but of course that is just my opinion.

Unless you just want to splurge and have a chill expensive dinner night out, I would think you can just give this restaurant a miss.

Khao Yai National Park (Important Information)

Address:There are 2 entrances into Khao Yai National Park.

Khao Yai National Park Southern Fee Entrance Station
Noen Hom, Mueang Prachinburi District, Prachin Buri 25230, Thailand

Khao Yai National Park Northern Fee Entrance Station
Lam Takhong Mu Si, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130, Thailand

I would reckon most of us would be coming in from the Northern entrance as most accommodations are located there.
Operating Hours of  Khao Yai National Park:06 00 – 18 00 daily
Entrance Fee: (one-time payment into the park will allow you to see all the sights within the park)Adult Foreigner: 400 Baht / pax

Child Foreigner: 200 Baht / pax

Local Adult: 40 Baht / pax

Local Child: 20 Baht / pax

NOTE: Entrance ticket is only valid for 1 day. If you are setting up camp or staying in some bungalows in the National Park, then the ticket is valid for 3 days!
Recommended length of visit:~ 6 – 8 hours
Overall Personal Rating of National Park: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 (a brush of fresh air in the outskirts)

Day 2 Highlights: Haew Suwat Waterfall (in Khao Yai National Park)

Operating Hours:follow that of Khao Yai National Park
Recommended length of visit:~ 1 hour
Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

We were there at about 09 00 and there were already quite a handful of people. From the parking lot, we had to walk 200 m on uneven ground and down a series of flight of stairs. Definitely wearing firm gripping shoes is much needed.

You need to navigate through loose rocks underfoot and boulders before having the waterfall directly right in front of you.

To get a more artistic angle of the waterfall, venture further towards a mini cave-like indent on the right. Not much people would manoeuvre their way there, so you have quite a bit of personal space to enjoy the waterfall!

This sight was definitely a nice way to start the cold morning!

Day 2 Highlights: Haew Narok Waterfall (in Khao Yai National Park)

Operating Hours:follow that of Khao Yai National Park
Recommended length of visit:~ 1 hour
Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂

We were there at about noon,  and oh boy the crowd was man insane. By this time, the weather was not very forgiving. The humidity, together with the mosquitoes, were starting to get to our skin.

We started with a gentle descend on concrete ground for about 10 minutes followed by crossing a wooden bridge. There was a rest point and a viewing area of the river before a flight of steps up.

View from the wooden bridge.

Thereafter, we had to make our way down a series of incredibly narrow steep steps to the viewing deck of the waterfall. Good thing there were handle bars on each side for people to have an additional grip, as it can be proven a challenge for some visitors.

There is no rush, so just take your time to make your way there!

Comparing Haew Suwat Waterfall and this waterfall, I would prefer the earlier. I guess the part of manoeuvring through the boulders and getting into the little cave-like indent still gets to me instead of just mere viewing the waterfall from the top deck down.

On a side note, not related to this waterfall… …We settled for a simple lunch at Noen Homme Café (just outside Khao Yai National Park, exiting the Khao Yai National Park Southern Fee Entrance Station), about 15 minutes’ drive from the waterfall.

Oh I have to say, their sliced cake was so so good. I am not sure if it was because I was so hungry, but it was really good. Haha! 😀

Day 2 Highlights: Khao Yai 30km. View Point (in Khao Yai National Park)

Mountainous vista from view point.
Operating Hours:follow that of Khao Yai National Park
Recommended length of visit:~ 20 minutes
Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂

After speaking with Noen Homme Café owner, we took a longer respite and decided to forgo the other attractions that was planned. She recommended that we headed back as the sun was setting and the drive to the Khao Yai National Park Northern Fee Entrance Station was a distance away. She mentioned that wild animals tend to start roaming at dusk and can be a little dangerous.

Hence, we decided to just take our time to drive back to our accommodation up North now that we had quite a bit of time to spare having forgo an attraction or two!

This viewing point was unplanned. There were many cars parked on the side, and that caught our attention. We decided to follow suit and did not regret it! The view was amazingly calming! You can see the distant hills and the valley just below. It was evening and the cool breeze now envelopes the surroundings. A nice way to end of a day trip in Khao Yai National Park!

Day 2 Highlights: Dinner at ครัวหญ้าคาเขาใหญ่ (Thai Restaurant)

Address:101/3 หมู่5 ตำบลหมูสี ปากช่อง Nakhon Ratchasima 30130, Thailand
Operating Hours:10 00 – 20 00 daily
Personal Breakdown Rating: (out of 5)Ambience 🙂 🙂 🙂
Service 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Food Quality 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Overall Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Total Damage (per pax):~ 425 Baht (this also depends on what exactly you are order)
For only 2 girls, we sure did order a hell load!

It was a random Google searched restaurant just 5 minutes’ drive from our accommodation. We wanted to eat something local. For the price range and quality of Thai dishes, I would imperatively say I would go back again. Really not a bad Thai restaurant! Yum yum! Ah how I miss Thai food!

Day 3 Highlights: Palio Khao Yai

Operating Hours:Sunday – Thursday (08 30 – 21 00)
Saturday & Public Holiday (08 30 – 22 00)
Recommended length of visit:~ 1.5 – 2 hour
Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂

We started the day by ambling through a shopping complex that is Tuscan village-themed. I would say there are probably only 3 reasons for you to decide on heading to Palio Khao Yai.

Uno: You are into little handmade trinkets and quirky-looking items for gifts and souvenirs.

Dos: You want a nice place to relax and have a cuppa; soaking up the chill Sunday vibes.

Tres: You want to have an Instagram-worthy shot or shots.

If you want none of the above, I would say just give this a miss. You are not really missing out. Haha! I would not go back to this place again. Not because it is not nice, but I guess themed places maybe isn’t my cuppa, if you know what I mean. Of course, if you are referring to themed parks then that’s totally different! 😀

But I must say this place would definitely score you some insta-worthy shots! That’s for sure!

Day 3 Highlights: The Chocolate Factory Khao Yai

Operating Hours:09 30 – 21 30 daily
Overall Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂
Total Damage (per pax):Approx. typical pricing in a café.

Aye… … I do not know how to put this gently, so just ‘no’ would suffice. That is basically all I can say. Unless you want to buy chocolates home as gifts or even just for yourself, I would not come here. I do not know if the chocolates are nice, because they do not give out samples, but J did bought like a couple back.

Her review and direct quote? ‘It’s not a must buy. Just buy for fun… …to show your support and presence there (Khao Yai).’

Well… ok my darlings, if you want to show your support for local products, then I guess, go right ahead.

We did not dine at the restaurant, just at the café, and had ordered 2 items off their menu. I suggested ordering a third item afterward, not because they were good, but because I wanted to wash down the previously 2 items ordered. It was just not to our taste.

I would say if you love After You Dessert Café in Bangkok, then just stick with that. You can skip this.

Day 3 Highlights: PB Valley Khao Yai Winery

Operating Hours:Sunday – Thursday (08 00 – 20 00)
Friday & Saturday (08 00 – 22 00)
Recommended length of visit:~ 1.5 – 2 hour

(if you are dining at the restaurant, then of course it would be longer)
Personal Rating: (out of 5)🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Other than the sunflower field which I was excited for, visit to this winery was also one of the top things I was looking forward to! I have never been on a vineyard, so I guess new experiences are always refreshing!

PB Valley Estate is the largest vineyard in Khao Yai. The Estate has wine tasting tours that includes a professional guided tour around the vineyard and the explanation about the various wines and grapes.

Guided tours are conducted 6 times daily, and it is about 70 minutes. For more details and booking, click here.

J and I on a working tractor, mind you. Haha!

We took the latest tour slot. I would suggest for that as it is much cooling in the evening and fewer people as well. You could also end off your tour with dinner at the restaurant!

TIPS?!

1If you want to visit the sunflower field, then December is the golden month for you. We went during the first week of December. The flowers bloomed perfectly and plentiful! As we were driving around Khao Yai, we saw many other smaller sunflower patches, so it was not only at Rai Maneesorn.
2We did not fully explore Khao Yai National Park, as it is pretty huge. However, there is one sight I thought it would be nice if we had gone to. Khao Chiew Viewpoint (Pha Diew Dai Cliff). Maybe you can check that out and see it for yourself! 😀

IGTV

I would say this mini road trip to Khao Yai was quite an all rounded one; covering some waterfall attractions, a sunflower field and a vineyard. If you are looking for a sweet escape from Bangkok’s city buzz, then Khao Yai is definitely a scene for you!

So let’s believe that there’s just so much more out there in this world. Believe that there’s so much beauty in this world and Travel Whenever!

For now, let’s just stay home until it is safe.

Dee

How to get there?

Best time to visit?

Entry fee needed?

Woodcroft Cafe + Visitor Centre (a.k.a Gift Store)

Mini self-guided tour

My virgin trip to this French lavender field was invigorating. Never have I seen that much purple hue sprawled before me; it was purple heaven! The calming effect from the purple was just so worth the drive from Launceston city centre. Imperatively enthralling.

I have never been to any plantation whatsoever, so probably I cannot compare this experience with anything else. But I reckon any plantation, field, or vista filled with orderly arrays of flowers, fruits or plants have a way of making people speechless- in a good way, don’t you think so?

 

How to get there?

Address/ Telephone

Operating Hours

296 Gillespies Rd, Nabowla, Tasmania Australia 7260

+61 3 6352 8182

09 00 h – 17 00 h

(Summer; Daily)

(Winter; Mon – Fri)

Closed on Christmas and Good Friday

There are a few modes of transportation.

1. Public bus – Definitely NOT recommended

Departing from Launceston Transit Centre, the North East Bus Service operates a once daily passenger service to Bridestowe Estate. An adult one way ticket is AUS $13.

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Transit Centre to Bridestowe Estate

08 00 h

08 45 h

Bridestowe Estate to Transit Centre 15 45 h

16 30 h

So basically, you will have approximately 7 hours to explore the lavender estate. Hhhhmmm… … Do you really need that many hours?

2. Tour companies – Still a viable option

If you prefer not to drive, then going on tours is your next best alternative. Trusted by Bridestowe Lavender Estate, tour companies include: Prestige Leisure Tours and Beyond Urban Tours.

Cost/ pax (AUS $)

Highlights

Duration

Prestige Leisure Tours

110

  • Scenic drive through the village of Lilydale
  • Visit/Tour the Bridestowe Lavender Farm (includes entry fee)
  • Cheese tasting at Meander Valley Dairy and/or visit the Hillwood Berry Farm or Old Mac’s Farm and Fishery

10 30 h – 15 00 h

(4.5 hours)

Beyond Urban Tours

110

(Nov – Mar)

98

(Apr – Oct)

  • Scenic drive through beautiful forests and farmland
  • Visit the Bridestowe Lavender Farm for 1.5 hr

3.5 hours

I would probably go for the tour package provided by Prestige Leisure Tours; given the fact that at least I could still do some cheese tasting and explore other farms in the process?

Beyond Urban Tours does offer other tour packages that combine the lavender estate with other farms (berry/ vineyard) at different prices. So do check them out on their website and weigh your options. It really depends on what you want out of your tour.

3. Rent a car – Definitely the best choice

This mode of transportation is definitely my top choice.

The drive isn’t that long. And really, it’s definitely worth the drive there. Just a 50- minute(ish) drive on East Tamar Highway onto Lilydale Road, soon you will be on Gillespies Road, and VOILÀ!

Freedom is definitely the deciding factor here. The freedom of being able to control when you arrive and when you leave the place. I mean, unless you have loads of time to spare in Launceston, which allows you to spend almost a full day at the lavender estate, then maybe taking the public transportation or tour could be your viable option.

But honestly, you do not need to spend a full day at the estate. There’s really not that much one can do there. So yeah, that’s my little personal TIP! 🙂

 

Best time to visit?

December to January is the time you want to visit the estate. The flowers are in full blossom during this period, giving a purple picturesque landscape of beauty. Definitely an instagram- worthy place. No words can really describe the marvellous sight that sprawled across acres of open field.

I would say going in (early) January would be the most ideal, though the time I went was in December. December is all good and all, but I suppose early January would be the best.

Reason?

It is the time when the lavender is being harvested, and the distillery would be operating. So not only will you get to see the lavender in full bloom spread across the field, you get to have a chance to see the harvesting of the lavenders and probably a tour of the distillery; seeing how they process the lavender and extract out the oil to make perfumes and other stuffs.

I think that’s going to be informative and cool. At least you will get a nice little commentary of the behind-the-scenes at Bridestowe Lavender Estate; which I feel makes the entire trip much more wholesome.

Another TIP? Though this may sound like an understatement but… …Try not to go to the estate close to the end of January. I assume most of the lavenders would have already been harvested, so what you will see is a barren field? Not very instagram-worthy? Haha…!

 

Entry fee needed?

During the period of lavender blooming (1st Dec – 31st Jan), an entry fee of AUS $7.50/ pax is required.

There will be a someone at the drive-in booth for you to pay before you can enter into the parking area. Get your cash ready, so as to not hog the line. 😀

 

Woodcroft Cafe + Visitor Centre (a.k.a Gift Store)

We decided to have our breakfast at the cafe, as J stumbled across the food raves online. Food items like the lavender and blueberry ripple ice cream and pancakes with lavender honey were amongst the most mentioned.

Woodcroft Cafe: Scones

We got there pretty early, hence the menu for the pancakes wasn’t available. So while waiting for the lunch menu to open up, we ordered scones as appetizer.

I was the one who initiated the ordering of the scones. J isn’t really a fan of them, she said and I quote, “There’s nothing fanciful about scones, really.”

But I have never tried scones before, and hence, insisted we should try the ones at the cafe. I mean the scones have lavender infused in them right? Shouldn’t they be more aromatic, and thus, enhance the taste?

With my high expectations of scones coming from people giving me the impression of how awesome they were, I was pretty much thrilled for those little things.

The scones came with jam and cream on the side. I don’t know about you, but cream and I, well… do not sync in any way. Cream has no taste at all, come on, it’s not even sweet to begin with. But hey, if you are a fan of it, then no offense. To each his own, I guess.

Excited me, took the first bit into the plain scone to get the original taste. Verdict?

Hhhhmm… Not as fanciful as it was raved by most people? Yup, J could say, “I told you so.”

I couldn’t smell the lavender in the scones, and well if I would to describe the texture and overall taste, it would basically be ‘slightly hard bread’?

I’m sorry, but the scones at this cafe ain’t that fantastic. The disappointment came especially when there isn’t even a tint of lavender in those little things that I can actually taste or smell. What a bummer.

Woodcroft Cafe: Pancakes and Brownie with ice cream

Next up were the pancakes with ice cream, and the brownie with ice cream. Verdict?

Let’s just say the brownie dish was the star of the entire breakfast. I love how the rich chocolate taste and the blueberry sauce on top of it are in a cosmos. And having it with some ice cream was just perfecto!

I am definitely a sweet-toother. Yup, I totally just made a title for myself. Haha… No judgement please. 😀 So unless you are team sweet-toother, don’t take my opinions too seriously. Do try the dishes at the cafe, you might actually love it!

Everyone has different taste. One man’s poison is another man’s bacon right?

Visitor Centre (a.k.a Gift Store)

After breakfast, we popped by the Visitor Centre. And what caught J’s eyes was Bobbie. No, not her long-lost lover! Bobbie- The Bridestowe Bear. This purple bear is probably the mascot for Bridestowe. Really adorable fluffy thing that J couldn’t resist a quick photo with.

The store sells everything lavender. Soap, tea leaves, pillow, perfume, essential oil, etc. Loads of merchandise to be bought as a little gifts for family and friends.

 

Mini self-guided tour

Since it was December, the distillery was not in operation. It was pretty quiet at the wooden shed. We saw some equipments, tools and apparatus displayed at the front counter, other than that, there was pretty much it.

If time permits, you could spend some time sauntering the back gardens of the estate.

We were pretty much zealous to ramble through the lavender rows and snap pictures to go exploring the back gardens. Haha! Typical girls huh?

It was such a glorious day, with perfect lighting from the sun. Once there, you will definitely see most ladies cower into the lavenders and smiling brilliantly into the camera; a mandatory pose for all.

I love the fact that the field has a not- so- salient backdrop of the distant mountains. The distant mountains together with the purple hue of the lavender is just enrapturing; it is mind-blowing.

It is just galvanising to be able to see such a vivid sight through my eyes. No video or photo could really describe the memories that are intact in my mind.

If you are ever in Launceston, I definitely recommend a short stop over at Bridestowe Lavender Estate between December and January.

Hope you will be as ensorcelled by the beauty of the purple vista as I was.

Remember to Travel Whenever!

Dee