Khao Yai is one of the most attractive destinations in Thailand. It offers a wide range of of soft adventure activities suitable for explorers, couples, families and golfers.
Most adventure activities are concentrated on the Saraburi-Pakchong route, while the Prachinburi-Wang Nam Kheo side is more about agrotourism. With the success of Chokchai Farm’s cowboy theme park concept, several others have followed suit but none match its scale. Hikers, meanwhile, will feel at home up on Khao Yai National Park where they can immerse themselves in the mountains and wilderness for as long as they wish. And if you have kids, Khao Yai is one of the best places to bring them along.
Here is your chance to interact with local farmers and help sustain their livelihood through your purchase. Farm visits are hands-on, fun and educational. Wang Nam Kheo, with a relatively cool climate all year round, is like one huge farm where winter vegetables and flowers are grown and sourced. You can perhaps get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals simply by visiting organic vegetable farms and fruit orchards in the area. Mushrooms, oranges, grapes, milk jujubs, organic pumpkins, carrots, red oak lettuce and green salads are among those grown here – simply take your pick.
Bird Watching and Stargazing
Home to more than 300 bird species, Khao Yai National Park offers plenty of bird watching opportunities. Most of the time, you don’t have to wander very far from your camping ground to spot them. But if you are an enthusiastic foot explorer and birdwatcher, several hiking trails will bring you right through the bird’s natural habitats, such as the Haew Suwat trail, the km. 30 scenic viewpoint, nature trail behind the tourist centre and around the old golf course area. Stargazers should head to open areas like Mo Singto Watchtower, Pha Kluay Mai camping ground and in front of Suraswadi Youth Camp.
The love for cowboys and the American Wild West runs deep in the Chokchai family, so deep that they decided to bring a huge slice of it to Saraburi’s countryside. It all began in 1957, with a small herd of cows and a piece of land. Today it has become one the most popular tourist attractions in Khao Yai, with exciting cowboy shows, cattle herding, farm tours, horse-drawn cart rides and ATV adventures. An overnight package comes with a campfire dinner and accommodation in its boutique tent – with all modern luxuries thrown in. Call a week ahead to book tours and activities, as the place is booked up fast, especially on weekends.
Before expansive grape hills and adventure theme parks arrived on Khao Yai, golf was already a favourite pastime for holidaymakers from Bangkok. Setting the stage for beautiful golf courses are Khao Yai’s valleys and hills, coupled with a location that is easily reached in less than three hours from Bangkok. Your choice ranges from the Jack Nicklaus designed course at Kirimaya – one of the most luxurious and best-kept – to Toscana Valley’s breathtaking Tuscan-inspired landscapes to standard courses set on a verdant sprawl at the picturesque foothills. Note that course quality varies; some have not been kept to the best conditions.
Hiking and Trekking
If natural beauty is what moves you, why not strap on your boots and set off into Khao Yai’s dense jungle on foot? Here, it’s just you, the sound of rustling leaves and an unfolding drama of the forests. The five scenic routes inside Khao Yai National Park cater to various skills, endurance and available timeframe. Natural trails under one km are the easiest, while hiking can take between one hour to half a day depending on the trail’s length. Overnight treks last from two to four days, under guidance of the park’s ranger.
Life Park at The Greenery Resort
With increased competition from newer and more modern-looking hotels, The Greenery Resort has stepped up a notch by adding a theme park to its name. Now it’s back on the Khao Yai tourist map as a family destination which offers a wide range of fun activities, from rope adventures and an interactive water park to an obstacle course and thrill rides (e.g. ATVs, Go Karts, Nano bikes, hovercrafts). There’s also a giant balloon – Khao Yai’s first – that takes you high up into the sky for 360-degree panoramas of the entire area.
Packed with endless scenic viewpoints and natural attractions, Khao Yai is an ideal playground for mountain bikers of various skills. On the Wang Nam Kheo side, the feel is more adventure than leisure riding, since the trails comprise of dirt roads and undulating terrain characterised by steep slopes and dipping valleys. Another popular route is the highway that runs through Khao Yai National Park itself. Lengthy and rarely flat, this is one route for experienced mountain bikers and those with high physical endurance.
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