Khao Yai is a large national park in Thailand just a 3-hour drive from Bangkok. Spread across the Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachinburi provinces, Khao Yai is the third-largest national park in Thailand and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Popular with daytrippers from Bangkok on the weekends, the idyllic Khao Yai has been drawing a demographic of travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of busy city life into nature. Along with the surge of tourists both local and from abroad, designer hotels and hip cafes have sprung up in the past 4 years.
One such hotel is the Nhapha Kao Yai Resort, designed to blend in with the former marble quarry it’s situated within. This luxury hotel offers four room types: a 40 sqm standard Villa (from about $243), the hilltop 90sqm Grand Villa with mountain views (from about $331) and the 150sqm Gallery Villa with garden view (from about $640) and a 100sqm Pool Villa integrated with marble stone walls (from about $410). All villas are equipped a flat-screen TV, ensuite bathroom, WiFi, along with Japanese-style minimalist furniture with wood accents and calming neutral tones, designed to look like they’re straight out of a Muji catalogue. The floor-to-ceiling windows in the villas offer a spectacular view of the craggy surroundings.
Owned by Thavorn Ko-Udomvit, a renowned lecturer at Silpakorn University and the founder of Ardel Gallery of Modern Art, the hotel is adorned with modern sculptures and works of art from ceramicist Nino Sarabutra and sculptor/photographer Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch, as well as Japanese printmakers Tetsuya Noda and Kansuke Morioka. For more art, you can participate in printmaking and ceramic workshops on-site or head to the nearby Khao Yai Art Museum, which is just a five-minute drive away.
Surrounded by misty mountains with fertile valleys, thundering waterfalls and rich biodiversity, Khao Yai offers plenty of options for sightseeing. The national park is best-experienced post-monsoon or during the winter season between November to February or the dry-hot season from March to April. Soak up the natural wonders of the south and east and take a dip in the pool of the forest-clad Haew Suwat Waterfall with its 20-metre cascade. For a taste of local wine made from homegrown grapes, go on a wine trail to PB Valley Khao Yai Winery and GranMonte Vineyard and Winery, which produce Thailand’s award-winning labels, such as Pirom Khao Yai Reserve and Sawasdee Chenin Blanc.
If you’re coveting a leather bag, shoes or fashion accessories while in Khao Yai, head to the Outlet Village for your retail therapy. Offering branded goods up to 70% discount on select items daily, the 127 shops here carry a diverse range of local and imported brands, including Bossini, Lacoste, Esprit, and G2000, to name a few.
Not to be missed, Palio Khao Yai is a Tuscan-themed attraction built to recreate the feel of a rustic Tuscan town with its gorgeous vine-covered, amber-coloured buildings and manicured gardens. Featuring about 120 shops offering a diverse range of goods, including home déco, books, secondhand items, wine cellars, bakeries, Italian restaurants, IT gadgets and more, there’s no lack of shopping and dining options here.
From a Tuscan-themed attraction to scenic vineyards and Khao Yai National Park’s boundless tapestry of green, Khao Yai is a utopian escape from the ordinary everyday life of fast-paced Singapore. To fully experience Khao Yai’s diversity and natural beauty, combine your stay inside the Nhapha Kao Yai Resort with explorations of the national park’s flourishing landscape and scenic waterfalls on foot while enjoying close encounters with wildlife and rare tropical birds along the way.
Address: Mu Si, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130, Thailand
Hours: Open today·Open 24 hours
Phone: +66 93 636 9999