I started planning my trip to Khao Yai months ago after a good friend sent me an article on ’14 Unique Hotels in Magical Khao Yai- 3 Hours Drive from Bangkok’. There were many charming and interesting hotels featured, but only three that caught my eye and had excellent ratings, namely Thames Valley Khao Yai, Lala Mukha Tented Resort and Hotel La Casetta by Toscana Valley.
However, even as I was booking the hotel months ahead, Thames Valley and Lala Mukha Tented Resort were already fully booked! And so, I was left with Hotel La Casetta. I booked Hotel La Casetta though my trusty hotel booking website, Booking.com. It had a rating of 8.4/10 and positive reviews.
Finally, after months of planning and anticipation, I finally got to fly there!
The best way to get to Khao Yai is to fly to Bangkok and arrange for a private car to take you there. The drive took us a full three hours, with a short toilet break for the driver. Prior to flying, I did quite a bit of price comparison and the most reasonable rate was by Thai National Parks. They offered a spacious station wagon and a round trip from Khao Yai to Bangkok at 4,600 Baht. Furthermore, they were extremely helpful and prompt in their replies.
Since the journey was going to be long, my friends and I headed to the second floor of the airport to buy some food to tide us over till we got there. We were stuck at the customs for more than an hour, so we only left the airport around 3pm. The sun had set when we pulled into our hotel. But, even though it was dark, we could still bask in the beautiful setting of Toscana Valley.
We took almost an hour to check in because the staff only knew minimal English. It was so bad that they thought 2000hrs was 2pm. We were trying to arrange for a night safari, which Khao Yai is famous for, as well as transport around Khao Yai during the day. However, they did not work with any tour operators or even taxi companies. After getting nowhere with the night safari and a taxi driver who did not know English, we went to our rooms.
We had reserved a Casetta Loft, which came with one queen and two twin beds. The bathroom was quite huge, with a shower stall and a bathtub. From the window, you get a view of the mountains and the swimming pool. With nothing much left to do after unpacking, we decided to head to the Town Square for dinner.
It is a five minutes’ drive from Hotel La Casetta to the Town Square. The hotel provides free shuttle back and forth. It is indeed hard to believe that you are in Thailand when the ambience is remarkably like that of Italy. From the singer serenading along the streets to the architecture, lights and alfresco dining, it is easy to lose yourself in the sheer appeal of the place.
We opted to sit outdoors at Caffe Del Museo, which coincidentally was also the place we were to have breakfast the next day.
Capellini with chilli, garlic, roasted cherry tomatoes, black olives and Tuscan sausage with shaved Parmesan cheese (32o Baht).
Spaghetti with Italian pork balls, served in spicy Napoli sauce and shaved Parmesan (320 Baht).
Tiramisu Tuscan trifle with Illy coffee and marscapone cheese (240 Baht).
We enjoyed our pasta dishes, which were presented nicely and tasted delicious. However, the tiramisu could do with some improvement. It was then back to the hotel room to catch up on our sleep.
The next morning, I woke up bright and early as I was eager to explore the area.
Following that, we headed back to the Town Square for breakfast, which was included in our room rate. It felt different during the day, but was still as picturesque as I remembered.
After our breakfast, we walked around Town Square Suites by Toscana Valley, which had a playground and an infinity pool.
I wished I could have stayed at Hotel La Casetta a bit longer. It was hard to say goodbye!