March 07, 2018

Khao Yai captivated my holiday as I walk around, feel and experience every bit of the destination
through its natural beauty.

Tourism Authority of Thailand organized a mega FAM Trip for 300 travel agents and media across the world in association with Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways and EVA Airways from 13-17 November 2017. The trip highlighted on destinations like Khao Yai and Bangkok.

Although Khao Yai is considered to be a small region there is a lot to explore in terms of its marvelous greenery and flowery areas .Bangkok being a bustling city most of the time but there are some hidden treasures that you might miss to discover on each of your visit. You need to travel to Khao Yai at least for a week and more. Khao Yai can also be a destination for weekend getaways or for a long holiday of a month as you will be mesmerized with the culture and variety of Thai dishes in the North East region. You can also get to visit Bangkok to experience its nightlife; shopping and of course relishing the street food can be done through a short trip.

Our journey started on a drive to Khao Yai from Bangkok which took about two hours. We started our tour with PB Valley Khao Yai Winery located in Pak Chong district, Nakhon Ratchasima province on the North East of Bangkok as we entered the beautiful Winery we noticed The Great Hornbill Grill Restaurant that is amidst the vineyard, a country styled restaurant that serves Western, Thai Cuisine along with some fusion dishes that blends well with the different wines.

While the interiors and exteriors of the restaurant are marvelously done. The first thing that struck my mind are the two oak barrels in black stripes placed on the sides of the bar counter set up that had the wine glasses hanging in upside down row and right on top you can see the wine tasting menu on the
black board. Besides this, you get to see a pile of upside down bottles arranged over the heap of small wooden logs with a small Hornbill bird fixed on top of a small oak barrel this is one of the attractive spots in the restaurant where you should not miss to click a nice photograph .The exterior part of the restaurant was also attractive with its ceiling decorated with hanging artificial red and green grapes along with the tiny leaves and the two oak barrels in black stripes placed at the corner.Some of the dishes we got to taste at the restaurant is Cream of Mushroom Soup, Salmon Steak with Lobster Sauce, Pan Fried Sea Bass with Greek Salad. The restaurant also offers cooking classes to enjoy your own cooked dish during your visit to Khao Yai.

We then head on a guided tour into the vineyard I was enthralled with the view of the green and red grapes hanging in the vineyard where people can take photographs with grapes hanging around them, the tour took about 75 minutes and you can always opt for a private tour. On our route to the winery we halted to take some photographs at the flower garden area surrounding yellow flowers, after that we get to see the green plains that had a structure made of iron where you could climb on for an excellent view of the Khao Yai National Park and
to capture a perfect photograph of the park .You should not miss The PB Valley Khao Yai Winery Arch area surrounding the yellow snap dragon flowers that looked amazing it was as though i was walking around in the joy of adoring the whole backdrop of flowers and getting as many clicks for myself.

We got to visit the wine processing area, generally wine processing starts with harvesting and crushing of grapes. The wines are stored in stainless steel tanks and large oak vats for 12 to 21 months depending on the type of wines.Followed by the wine tasting session we sampled wines like PB KhaoYai Rose that can be matched with
Massaman Beef or the Chicken curry, a Sawasdee Shiraz that goes with a pizza or some pasta, PB KhaoYai Reserve Shiraz can match with steak and PB KhaoYai Reserve Chenin Blanc is good with a pork chop and Phad Thai a famous Thai noodle dish. Some of the other wines that are under development are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Durif.

The vineyard area was very exciting for all of us as you could see the ripening of red and green grapes, the seasonal flower gardens and other fruit orchards like dragon fruit, passion fruit and Japanese Melons as it is the most enticing space for photography. PB Valley Khao Yai Winery is one of the well-known winery in Thailand and South East Asia.

Our next expedition was to the Bloom by TVPOOL located in Pak Chong district a magnificent garden set in different shapes and sizes, a great place to unwind your mind in the garden of 30 species of flowers and also offers you with a splendid backdrop for all kinds of photographs.The Bloom is impeccable with the variety of
gems here. The Ivy Tunnel in the most dazzling decoration in light violet flowers throughout the tunnel remains as the prime attraction for tourists not only during the day light but also in the night as the experience of walking through the longest tunnel is unforgettable for me.The Bloom by TVPOOL is also known as the largest flower garden in Khao Yai surrounded by mountains .The Bloom by TVPOOL is an all-time seasonal area meant
for people who love nature and for you to try the different backdrops of flowers as your portfolio.

The trip gets interesting with our tour to Primo Piazza with the eye catching scenery that has an array of restaurants and cafes where you can feed the merino, alpacas, and donkeys. As I walked in I was astonished by the green bush passage with a fountain in the middle of the entrance along with the green bushes and a garden area as well, the façade of the building was also covered by greenery along with a number of trees and green bushes.

The buildings were all in light shades at the entrance while inside you can get to see the buildings are a mix of
terracotta and grey shades. The well inside with colourful flowers hanging there along the line of the terracotta
building is a prime attraction for a great click. We then get into the garden area where you could see the green plains and colourful flowers hanging at every corner as you will be tempted to take more photographs. It is quite a splendid view for one to walk around the area that has the sunflowers hanging in glass bottles with light blue leaves fixed on a dark brown wooden plank again for amazing photographs. As we walked further you get to see
the sheep and alpacas we ended up feeding the alpacas .I came across another spot with a white cycle and red flowers in a pot placed at each side of the cycle and the white lanterns hanging on the sides for a lovely photograph. Besides the Primo Café, I noticed the tranquility of this place and the amazing Italian architecture, a souvenir area and the ice cream corner. Something that surprised me is the small windmill area that was surrounded with red flowers , this place looked like one of the destinations of Europe specially for a lovely photograph of mini Italy in Khao Yai. The Primo Piazza is a perfect place for a romantic getaway, family escapes and for a pre and post wedding shoots .The Primo Piazzo is a paradise for photographs that every photographer would end up visiting this place again and again. Everything in this place reminded me of my childhood days playing jigsaw puzzle of a beautiful destination. The Tuscany of Khao Yai with its astonishing and stunning
views remains as a special memory in my heart.

We were overjoyed with our drive into the Khao Yai National Park into the lush ever green forests that has 300 species of birds, gibbons, bears.The National Park is located at Phenom Dong Pak Mountain Range and also known for butterfly and bird watching. We ventured into our night safaris first on a half open jeep and then on an open
jeep to spot wild elephants and some other wild animals. During our second drive our guide had a torch
light to spot the wild animals. We sighted slow loris, wild cat, wild fox,porcupine and the deer’s gazing the
grass plains. This area is also known for trekking and marathon events.We then checked into the Greenery
resort by Scenical World for an overnight. The Greenery Resort offers 256 guest rooms, categorized as greenery rooms, greenery room plus, greenery premier, greenery executive, dewdrops, sunshine suite, green valley suite. The hotel is also known for organizing MICE and wedding events.

Our visit to the Farm Chokchai the agricultural innovation in Thailand was a very different experience from all the other attractions as we first move into the cow station to see how the milking of cows are done through machines, we also got to try milking cows and tasting the Ummi Ice creams, you can also get to make your own ice creams here. After a while we then go to the farm area on a special buggy to the farm which had an arch of the Farm Chokchai it was like a playground for me to walk around and to enjoy the scenery .

We then head to watch the cowboy show where the cowboys were dressed in costumes of a Mexican cowboy, American cowboy and Latino cowboy who were performing for few minutes. We stepped into the Chokchai Steak House for a lovely lunch as we get in I observed the ceiling which was so gracefully done that had a number of brown wheels attached to the ceiling while each wheel had the traditional lanterns fixed to it along with the branches of leaves from trees structured in the building.A European restaurant that serves some of the famous delicacies like Chokchai Roast Beef,Chokchai Preminum Tenderloin, Chokchai Premium t- bone Streak.The
restaurant is highly recommended for families and children.

Our voyage transpires into passing through the greenery and the flower beds of Khao Yai to Bangkok. The excitement of the trip goes on with a much awaited experience through a helicopter tour by The Advance Aviation Company Limited across Bangkok for about 39 minutes, a helicopter tour agency in Thailand with network in Phuket and Chiang Mai. The agency also has the option for private jets where people can rent jets for a holiday. During our flight we got an overview of the Rama VIII Bridge, the Chao Phraya River, the Royal Grand Palace, Wat Pra Krew, Wat Arun and the skyscrapers of Bangkok. The vibrant city looked breathtaking with the number of tall buildings like MahaNakhon , Baiyoke Tower II ,The River Tower, State Tower , Centara Grand at
CentralWorld and the Empire Tower.After the helicopter tour we entered the Siam Kempinski Hotel a luxury
hotel located close to BTS Skytrain, Siam Paragon Shopping Center for a hotel visit. The hotel offers 401
luxurious rooms and suites. The rooms are categorized as Cabana room, Superior Room, Deluxe Room,
Premier room, Executive Room. The suites are categorized as Pent House,The Presidential Suite,The
Terrace Suite, The Terrace Suite, Three Bedroom Family Suite, Deluxe Suite, Duplex Cabana and Two
Bedroom Family Suite. The hotel has a variety of restaurants like Hanuman Bar,Rotunda ,Brasserie
Europa , Sra Bua By Kiin Kiin and Niche . The hotel has 10 meeting rooms for MICE, Weddings and the
outdoor area facing the garden and the pool are also used for events like Yoga, Muay Thai, Thai Cooking Class
and outdoor wedding ceremony.This hotel is catered to the business and leisure travelers.

During the evening, we got to visit Asiatique The Riverfront is one of Bangkok’s popular shopping centers
for souvenirs, handicrafts, jewellery. The night life is something relevant in this place with the number of
pubs and loud party tracks played throughout the night .It is considered to be quite an active place with a lot of shopping and partying here, you can also relish the Thai cuisine at Baan Khanitha . This spot is also a good place for photographs with the view of the Chao Phraya River and the Ferris Wheel.

For our stay in Bangkok, we checked into the Metropolitan Bangkok part of Como Hotels & Resorts located
on the South Sathorn Road that offers 160 rooms and 9 suites including 28 city rooms , 7 studio rooms,121 metropolitan rooms ,4 terrace rooms , 4 executive suites, 4 penthouse suites, 1 Como suite, urban escape wellness center, outdoor pool, gym, hydro pools, steam rooms, state of art gym, yoga studio, three meeting rooms ivory and ivory ii with the capacity of 100 people and the boardroom can accommodate 11 people that can
be used for MICE and weddings. The interiors are designed elegantly. For dining options the Met Bar, Nahm
restaurant specializes in world class Thai cuisine and the restaurant Glow serves organic and healthy juices.

Our sojourn ends up interesting with our visit to Rajadamnern Singha Muay Thai Academy that presently has 5 locations in Bangkok where you can learn the basic martial arts. We were trained by Kru Champ along with few other trainers. The most important part of the class is to get your boxing postures perfectly. I would say it is considered to be one of the best experiences that I have ever had I never thought I could get the basics easily and it is something that everyone should try when you are in Thailand.

We then head to the most famous authentic Thai restaurant The Blue Elephant Cooking School & Restaurant where we got to taste various dishes like rose spring rolls made of crispy rose shaped spring rolls stuffed with minced free range chicken, glass noodles and shiitake mushrooms with sweet sour chili dipping sauce, Tom Yam Kai Soup is made of spicy and sour soup with chicken and straw mushrooms. Some of the main delicacies we
got to taste are three flavored sea bass made of crispy sea bass fillet topped with three flavor sauce and garnished with holy basil, Phuket cashew chicken, Thai green curry, crab curry and dessert pumpkin and butterfly pea flower ice-cream. The Blue Elephant Cooking School & Restaurant is one of the oldest
restaurants in Thailand , the restaurant is decorated in Thai handicrafts and art works. The restaurant also has a blue bar serving classics like Emerald Flake and cosmopolitan to lemon grass martini and mango passion. The
Blue Elephant cooking school & restaurant can also organize various events like theme parties, wedding

One another place for a lovely dinner is the Vertigo Roof Top Restaurant at Banyan Tree Bangkok where you can enjoy a romantic dinner and a drink at the Moon Bar which is a lifetime experience that overlooks the glittering cityscape of Bangkok as you can try the different seafood and streaks. Few of the historical places we got to visit are Jim Thompson House & Museum that houses the rare antiques of Thai art and Thai silk. We got to see a Thai dance performed by few dancers during our visit to the museum which was incredible I felt as though I already
got the few steps of the dancers. The Wat Traimit – Temple of Golden Buddha is an attractive location that
attracts tourists and locals for the temple and largest Buddha made of pure gold in 12 feet and 5 inches,
we also got to visit the museum on the same building that talks about the past and present of Chinese migrants from South China and the exhibition portion looked wonderful.

Besides that the SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World is something that you will love by taking a stroll through the various sea creatures like the Stingray , Jelly fish, Jellyfish Crescent and Lion-fish will definitely relax your mind and is also considered to be stress relieving as well.

Khao Yai is an attractive destination on its whole for photography, delicious food and of course the hospitable people is something that is beyond words for me and Bangkok has been one of my favorite destinations right from my first visit to this country so visits to this lovely country is ongoing for more unique experiences and in discovering the unseen treasures.

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