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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? 

Getting around Singha Park? 

What you might experience? 

TIPS?! 

Address:

99 Moo 1, Mae Korn, Amphoe Chiang Rai, Chaing Rai, Thailand 57000

Operating Hours:

Daily 09 00 – 18 00
Entrance Fee:

FOC; but you do need to pay for other activities you would like to engage in

(e.g. zip lining or wall climbing etc.)

Recommended length of visit:

~ half to a full day

(depending on how intense you want to immerse yourself)

I was blown right away by the picturesque sight I got when we first arrived at Singha Park. Singha Park is the largest agricultural tourism destination in Thailand. Located 450 metres above sea level, and with hectares of fertile soil, this park just blooms beautiful flora all year round!

There is so much to do at Singha Park, from just mere strolling and enjoying solace, to having an awesome bike ride through the tea plantations and lakes to even zip lining and wall climb, and of course, good old fashion chilling at a quaint café enjoying a nice cuppa or two!

Singha Park, owned by Boon Rawd Brewery (the company that manufactures Singha Beer), thus the name Singha Park, would disappoint any visitor who thinks that he/she would find breweries after breweries and endless supply of Singha Beer. This park in the countryside is a family-friendly establishment that really has more hectares of land for tea plantation beyond the horizon than beer supply.

Opened to the general public in 2012, Singha Park was previously known as Boon Rawd Farm. The rich fertile soil that sprawled was once used to grow barley for the beer production. Currently, some areas of Singha Park are left for the original barley fields, but most large land are now for orchards and tea plantations.

 

How to get there?

Car

Since we had the rented car, getting there was pretty simple and so straightforward; with the help of Google Maps of course! We stayed at The Imperial River House Resort in Chiang Rai, quite centrally located I would say.

From the resort, it was approximately a 30 minutes’ drive to Singha Park. You know you have arrived when you see the huge iconic landmark of the Singha mascot!

Tuk- Tuk/ Taxis

Not renting a car? Then the tuk-tuk or the taxi are probably the next most convenient alternative! I am sure you can haggle over the price with them too. But I suggest a rented car or even a motorcycle is still imperatively more convenient.

 

Best time to visit?

Singha Park is open all year round, but visiting the park at the end or early start of the year would render you with much more special memories! Here are 2 reasons why!

1. Cool Season

Firstly, the cool season in Chiang Rai is between November and January. With Mother Nature on your side warding off the sultry humidity, it makes every activity you do so much more bearable right?

Minus the heavy downpour during our first visit to the park and had to seek refuge at a restaurant to have lunch and tea whilst waiting for the rain to subside, the weather was really inundatedly perfect on the second visit. Though a little melancholic and drizzly at intervals, it was cool and breezy; just perfect for strolls and explorations!

2. Singha Park’s Organised Events

When we were there, organisers were setting up for Farm Festival On The Hill. Alas, we were scheduled to leave, if not, we would probably jump at the opportunity for an experience! This annual Farm Fest is the largest music fest in the North of Thailand; with leading music artists all across Thailand coming together and jamming.

Yeah sure it’s not Coachella, but hey we can always embark on new experiences at least once right? Sure I would totally not understand Thai lyrics, but I would probably still enjoy the positive ambience flowing!

And not to mention the International Balloon Fiesta? If I could travel during the period Singha Park was organising the event (14 – 18 February 2017), I would totally go for it. This annual event is a hot air balloon festival and international hot air balloon race. It is also a food fest and a concert by Thai artists. It is basically a whole package of joy where we could get to see an array of colourful giant balloons float up to the sky. I can only imagine a picture-perfect moment!

So if you want to have the full experience at Singha Park, I suggest you click here for more updated details on their upcoming events!

 

Getting around Singha Park?

Walk

Your legs can take you far but frankly not far enough. To rely on your legs to walk close to the entire park would be a little insane, right?

But that was apparently what we did. We must be crazy at that point in time. I recalled towards the end of the day, we were quite tired and we were sort of lost. Haha! We were to tempted to just hitch a ride out to the entrance.

Now the reason why we didn’t rent a bicycle at the entrance was because we knew that  we would spend a long time in the park. We also knew that we wanted to chill for lunch and all that jazz. You know, just have a chill lazy day at the park.

And knowing the fact that we had to return the bikes where we rented from and not return it at another rental bike shop inside the park, we weren’t really sure it was a good idea to rent the bike at the entrance. Since we wanted to explore more deeper into the smaller roads and not solely on the bike trials, we decided to just walk.

Well, with hindsight, if I would redo this first/second visit again, I would still walk. Haha! Yes yes I know, my legs would kill me, but I got so much more experience from walking. So why not?

Bicycle

Now I know I’ve said that I would prefer walking, but… …in hindsight, IF I had been to Singha Park many times, then my option of getting around the park would be definitely using a bicycle. Haha!

With the bike, I could cover more grounds, and quicker! Since I would have seen most of the attractions already, visiting the park would be more of a touch and go and less immersing. So it is really up to your personal preference on how you want to enjoy your visit.

The bikes were for rent at 150 Baht/hr for the tandem, 100 Baht/hr for the mountain bike and 50 Baht/hr for the children’s bike. There are various bike trails to choose from the information map which indicates the length of the ride in kilometres and level of difficulty for each trail. Do note that all cyclists are required to register at the bike desk before setting off on any trails in the park.

Tram

The tram ride carries visitors to key highlights of the park. From the entrance, to the orchards, to the blooming flowers, to the petting zoo and also the zip lining and wall climbing area. Tram tickets are sold at the information counter at the entrance. The pricing at 50 Baht for an adult and 25 Baht for a child. On busy periods, like the weekends, the wait time to board the tram may be longer, so do be prepared for that. Trams run at ½ hour intervals between 10 am and 5 pm. This is a definite family-friendly option if you are visiting Singha Park with children.

 

What you might experience?

We covered everything by foot (in roughly this order), minus the petting zoo and the zip lining/ wall climbing- we did not do those. So yeah, it is possible. You could totally do this by walking! Just remember we did have intervals of respite at restaurants etc. We were, after all not visiting Singha Park to torture ourselves. Haha!

1. Golden Singha Mascot (labelled #1 on the Singha Park’s map)

This salient golden Singha mascot kings over the entire open field at the entrance opposite the carpark. Because it would be the first and last icon every visitor would see, naturally it was an obligatory selfie/wefie shot for everyone! Haha! 😀 If you did not have your photo taken with this Singha mascot, then you have not been to Singha Park.

Want a little intimate time with just the Singha mascot and you in the photo? Either you arrive early in the morning or have your photo with it when the park is about to close at 6! Perfecto!

2. Sunflower Patch (labelled #2 on the Singha Park’s map)

This attraction is by far the one I would remember forever. On the official Singha Park’s map, it is close to #2 (near the swan lake).

I have never seen a sunflower field before. And yes, this is not exactly a huge sunflower field that stretches for hectares on end. But hey, I would take it gladly! I remember being so excited for it.

I was literally screaming with excitement and running towards it. It was actually quite hilarious. We spend quite a bit of time snapping photos and just being in awe for these sunflowers. They were just so perfect. The only thing that compelled us to move on was when the drizzle started, if not, we probably would have stayed longer. Haha! 😀

3. Swan Lake (labelled #2 on the Singha Park’s map)

So because the drizzle which started small, soon got a little heavier, we ran up the hill from the sunflower patch towards the swan lake. Unplanned for it all, we took shelter under a tree while we watched the swans oblivious of it all, and just minding their own business.

Wish I could be like them, would life be so must simpler and happier? 😉 There is a tint of peace just watching the swans and being in the drizzle; like your worries were nothing but a phase and they really don’t matter at all.

4. Bhu Bhirom Restaurant & Tea Plantation (labelled #3 on the Singha Park’s map)

We needed to respite for lunch and to take shelter from the heavy drizzle. In the far distance, we espied a building which looked like a place we could fuel up. And unplanned to even have lunch at the Bhu Bhirom Restaurant, we brisk walked our way there anyway!

I reckoned the food was good, because on both days we visited the park, we had our meals at the same restaurant! The first time we were there, we ordered shrimp pad thai, minced meat tofu, fried calamari rings and green tea latte. On the second visit we ordered much more! It was either we were ravenous or we just decided to splurge a little because the ambience was just so prefect and we just wanted to have a nice hearty meal! We had shrimp tom yum soup, fried chicken, beef fried rice, and fried calamari rings (yes, again)!

Since the weather was really lovely on our second visit to Singha Park, we requested to sit at the area with an unimpeded view of the tea plantation sprawled beneath us. With the gentle breeze brushing against our skin all so softy, and the air crisp, it was such an invigorating experience accompanying a picturesque expansive sight of the tea plantation indeed. Such an awesome meal with an amazing view. I really couldn’t ask for more.

Bhu Bhirom Restaurant which opens every day (11 am – 10 pm), not only serves North Thai specialities, they do have Western options. This place is imperatively worth a try!

5. Petting Zoo (labelled #6 on the Singha Park’s map)

This area probably attracts the young kids most. With the chance to get up close and personal with the animals such as the giraffes, cows, and zebras, I am sure it would be such a joy. You could have an opportunity to feed the animals too!

6. Barn House/ Farm Fest Area (labelled #5 on the Singha Park’s map)

This area is officially known as the Sports & Recreation Centre. To us, it is also known as the chillax café area. At the Farm Fest Area, there is a bike rental shed. You could also shop for merchandise and souvenirs. This area is also grounds for any Singha Park’s organised events like the Farm Festival On The Hill or the International Balloon Fiesta mentioned earlier.

Just opposite the shed is a quaint Barn House café! With the quiet ambience, the outdoor benches make chilling with a coffee and a cupcake really perfect! And with the cooling weather (at that time) to add into the mix, all just was in a cosmos! A prefect respite gem!

7. Zip Lining & Wall Climbing (labelled #7 on the Singha Park’s map)

For someone who is more intrigued by adventure, and has the budget for it, then this is the place for you.

Near the Barn House/ Farm Fest Area is the zip lining platform, which would give you the opportunity to have a panoramic view of the park and all its glorious tea planation. Alas, this zip lining experience is at a steep cost of 800 Baht per person. On the other hand, the rock wall climbing stands at 9 levels high which costs 150 Baht per person to have a try at it.

Unless you are into such activities and want to try it at least once, I reckon strolling or biking to immerse into the Singha Park’s ambience is really divine enough. Haha! 😀

 

TIPS?!

Go EARLY!

Because we didn’t know we wanted to spend so much time at the park, the first time we arrived at Singha Park was around lunch time or slightly later, and with the downpour that kept us stranded at Bhu Bhirom Restaurant, we really did not have much time to explore.

In hindsight, it is always nice to go earlier so you could really have a nice chill experience at the park! I am sure you would be kept very busy snapping photos as I did! 😀

Singha Park is a definite MUST-DO when in Chiang Rai. Duly thought through, the park is landscaped with bike trails, romantic lakes and meadows all making this a great attraction for locals and tourists!

So remember to Travel Whenever and have a nice stroll into the great beyond!

Dee