If you have less than 24 hours for a day trip from Bangkok, consider Khao Yai.
Sometime early last November, we fuelled up at Breakfast Story, one of the brunch joints we frequent in Bangkok, before setting off on our long drive. We always rent an SUV with a large car boot to drive around Bangkok for comfort, ease of driving up mountainous ranges, and to stash our shopping loot. Surprisingly, the weekend morning jam was manageable. Within 2 hours and 45 minutes, we arrived at Granmonte Vineyard and Winery in Khao Yai.
I never knew Thais produced their own wines! I’m no connoisseur, since the wines served their purpose in giving us a high, that’s good enough for me. Granmonte’s cellar is open to walk-ins, tours and group reservations., and besides wines, they produced their own fruit jams and various sauces for sampling. At no charge, we tasted all of their open wine bottles, and packed home a few, including a carton of grape juice plus a box of fresh grapes, before we lunched at their family-style VinCotto restaurant where both indoor and alfresco dining were available.
Wined and dined, our group set off for our second winery with thrilled bellies and a car filled with grape produce. PB Valley Khao Yai Winery wasn’t as exciting as the first, largely because wine-sampling wasn’t FOC, and because we had our fill at Granmonte. The size of PB Valley was no less spectacular, and the range of wines were just as impressive.
Our third stop was Primo Piazza, famed for its alpaca feeding and petting facilities. Those who’ve been to Australia, Taiwan or any other alpaca petting zoo, this one would disappoint you. The sheep and alpacas were old, tired, dirty, and looked rather unhealthy. Probably not the best climate for rearing alpacas, but it’s certainly a good weekend destination for families staying in Bangkok. I enjoyed wandering around the Primo Piazza’s cobbled streets and admiring the Italian architecture.
By then, it was almost 4pm so we started our drive back to Bangkok, as we had a dinner reservation at Khao in Ekkamai.
We didn’t have time to explore the many other European-themed getaway spots in Khao Yai such as the Thames Valley, and a French-countryside themed resort called U Khao Yai.
Would I go back? Yes! To complete so many other things like visit the Khao Yai Art Museum, take photos at the Saraburi Sunflower field, and buy fresh produce from the many organic farms by the Khao Yai mountainside.
As Khao Yai is situated on a higher altitude, weather was way cooler than the city, with a stronger breeze.
Unfortunately, I had a case of pollen allergies and had to mask on for the entire day trip. Somehow I took badly to the Khao Yai air, and pollen allergy was something I developed after pregnancy. So probably something to note if you’re bringing the kids.
For my next trip out here, I’m definitely spending the night in one of Khao Yai’s beautiful mountainside resorts.
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