Thailand is abundant with so many natural wonders I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite.
From Italian villages to sunflower fields and a glass of wine, Khao Yai certainly lives up to its name of “Europe in Asia”
Located a mere 3-hour drive away from Bangkok, the picturesque town of Khao Yai can't be more different from Thailand's bustling capital. Apart from quirky European villages, sprawling sunflower fields, and some of the most bizarre accommodation options, Khao Yai is also home to Thailand’s largest national park where wild elephants roam free.
Khao Yai is a picturesque town located just 3 hours from Bangkok – making it the perfect destination to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can plan a day trip here, or spend a few days exploring the amazing sights this pretty place has to offer from lovely Italian villages to sprawling sunflower fields.
Things to Do
The first stop in Khao Yai is Primo Piazza, a picturesque “Tuscan Village” affectionately known as the Little Italy of Thailand. The beautiful terracotta-toned buildings in Primo Piazza will easily win your heart over with stunning sceneries at every corner and its architecture. Looking like a scene right out of the Italian countryside, Full of places and corners to take your perfect pic, this is heaven for photographers & those looking to take beautiful shots! The space is also dotted with little cafes, cozy restaurants, souvenir shops, and gelato stalls.
Toscana Piazza Explore the vast hotel grounds of Toscana Valley, which includes three properties: Hotel La Casetta, a sanctuary of Tuscan-style cottages; Town Square Suites, a cluster of low-rises around a quaint, village center; and Toscana Piazza, modeled after the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Grab a Coffee on the square of Cafe Portofino
Sample wine produced entirely in Khao Yai at PB Valley Estate If you thought wine is only produced in cold European countries, think again! PB Valley Estate is the largest vineyard in Khao Yai and the birthplace of the Khao Yai wine region. While you're here, you can learn about the process of wine-making with a wine tour that will take you through the delicate steps of producing locally-brewed wine. Our favorite was the rose, but even if you’re not a fan of wine, you can try a glass of pure Shiraz grape juice!
Bask in endless flower fields You don’t have to travel all the way to Provence to frolic in lavender fields when you have one right here in Khao Yai! Hokkaido Flower Parks is home to a multitude of different flora and fauna that bloom throughout the year so you won’t have to worry about when you arrive in Khao Yai.
Haew Suwat Waterfall This waterfall was made famous in The Beach and is definitely worth seeing (though unfortunately, you won’t be able to mimic Leo’s classic jump, as swimming isn’t allowed at the waterfall).
Pha Diao Dai Up over 1100m, this is the most impressive of Khao Yai National Park's viewpoints. And it's rarely crowded. It's part of an easy 500m boardwalk nature trail starting 14km from the visitors center.
Haew Narok Waterfall This waterfall translates to “Sunken Hole of Hell” which is a very foreboding name for a gorgeous waterfall! It got its name from poachers who apparently heard the noise of its water crashing long before they saw the water and assumed the crashing rumble was the gates of hell opening.
Elephants (and other wild animals) – Best found at sunrise or sunset, there are actually hundreds of elephants located in the park. You can find them near some of the salt licks around the park, though you have to be patient (and lucky!). The best way to see them (and other animals) is to go on a night safari, as many animals prefer to be active during the cool night hours. Tours are organized by the park and cost 1,600-5,400 THB per person depending on the number of people on the tour.
How to Get to Khao Yai National Park
If you want to visit the park, you’ll need to head to Pak Chong it’s the closest town. Buses leave frequently from Bangkok’s Mo Chit Bus Station and the journey takes 3.5 hours. Expect to pay around 280 THB for the bus. You can easily book online with 12Go
You can also take the train from Bangkok. Expect to pay at least 140 THB for the train (which takes just under 3 hours), however, tickets can cost upwards of 900 THB.
All guesthouses will pick you up from the bus or train station if you let them know when you’re arriving. They can also arrange a tour of the park (full-day, half-day, or multi-day). Prices begin at 500 THB for a half-day tour and 1,600 THB per person for a full-day tour. Admission to the park itself is 400 THB for international visitors (plus 30 THB if you have a motorcycle).
You can hike many of the shorter trails yourself as well as camp in the park too. Regular Songthaew service runs from Pak Chong to the park entrance, though from there it is still 10 kilometers (6 miles) to get into the park. The ride from Pak Chong takes around 40 minutes and costs 150 THB. There are limited spots so book in advance. I wouldn’t hike the longer trails without a guide.
Another great way to explore the park is by motorcycle. You can rent motorcycles nearby for 300-600 THB per day, which includes two helmets. Car rentals are also available for around 1,500 THB per day.
When to visit
The weather in Khao Yai is generally a few degrees cooler than in Bangkok, making it a perfect escape from the hot city. Do note though that while the charming region is full of fun things to do all year round, some seasonal attractions such as the Saraburi Sunflower Fields, Jim Thompson Farm, and strawberry picking are only open in the cooler months.
The best time to visit Khao Yai is between November to April, when you'll be able to enjoy clear skies, cool weather, and little rain. We'd recommend avoiding the wet season (May - October) if you'd like to make the most out of your trip without getting your plans dampened by rain.
Use Klook to find the best deals for trips, somehow they are most of the time 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency. We visit a temple in Pattaya The Sanctuary of truth and on Klook you pay 360 Bath and at the temple itself 500 Bath. Klook is a world-leading travel activity and services booking platform with more than 60,000 activities across 250 major destinations.
Use Trivago to find the best prices for your hotels Trivago is a world-leading metasearch platform allowing users to compare accommodation prices from the best service suppliers. Travelers can find the best offers for hotels, apartments, houses, and even luxury villas.
Use 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.12Go has already helped more than 3,500,000 travelers from around the world get from point A to point B trouble-free and with a high-quality service guarantee. Over the years, the service has received more than 166,000 customer reviews.
Find Cheap rental cars with Discover Cars, somehow they always find the best deals for you. Many other websites hide fees and extra costs from you. Discover Cars includes all mandatory fees, taxes, and extras in the quoted price so there won't be any surprises when you arrive at the rental desk.
Find Cheap Flights here WayAway is the first flight aggregator to offer a membership plan that gives hard cash cashback rewards on any type of booking. So, in effect, WayAway offers two services: an innovative search that is available for free and a paid cashback program that helps travelers save even more on travel.
Use VisitorsCoverage to find the best Travel Insurance worldwide suitable for all types of travelers, including digital nomads, couples, and families regardless of budget VisitorsCoverage is one of the largest online travel insurance platforms offered in 175+ countries (with their primary market being United States). This insurance company was one of the first to offer travel insurance to travelers worldwide in 2006. Now, they offer several customizable plans, from classic insurance to cover medical expenses to extended insurance to cover flight delays, missing baggage, and other emergencies.