Seeing that we had time constraints on our side as our stay at Khao Yai was limited to two nights, there was not a lot of places we could hit there. Travelling alone to Khao Yai took almost the afternoon, we had only one full day left before we headed back to Bangkok.
There are many interesting things to do in Khao Yai, namely night safari at the national park, feeding alpacas at Primo Piazza and many others. However, due to communication breakdown, we did not manage to go for either of those (they told us that Primo Piazza was closed). Hence, we narrowed down our itinerary to The Bloom, The Chocolate Factory and Farm Chokchai and got a driver for the whole day for 3,500Baht.
After checking out of Hotel La Casetta by Toscana Valley before lunch time, we headed first for The Bloom by TV Pool. It is the largest flower garden in the vicinity, with over 100 acres of flower fields and more than 30 specifies of flowers. The garden is opened year round and admission is free.
We did not stay long to appreciate the flowers as it was scorching! A good time to visit would be in the early morning or later in the evening.
The Bloom by TV Pool
357 Moo 5 Tambon Prayayen Amphur Pakchong, Khao Yai National Park, Khao Yai, Thailand 30320
Tel: 044-756336 ext. 0, 087-799-9555
Opens daily from 0700-2000hrs
Following that, we headed to The Chocolate Factory for some lunch and dessert. The place is not as big as it sounds. The restaurant is housed in a separate building off the side of the factory, while the cafe, merchandise and chocolate demonstration area is in the main building.
The food at the restaurant was pretty good and I especially enjoyed my Spaghetti Kee Mao Chicken(280 Baht). The Pad Thai with Prawns (220 Baht) was also delicious without being too oily.
The factory proper is divided into two main areas: Chocolate Workshop and Chocolate Factory Cafe. The first section is a large glass room, where you can see the Chocolatier creating different types of premium chocolates.
The second area is where you get to either take home some of the products with you or dine in and savour the various desserts and drinks they have available.
It was difficult to decide what to have since there were many choices available. We ordered (from left) Choco Banana (85 Baht), I Love Chocolate (95 Baht) and Red Velvet Cream Cheese (80 Baht). While the I Love Chocolate is a signature item there, we preferred the other two.
The Chocolate Factory
352 Moo 2 Thanarat Rd. T. Musee Pakchong Nakhon Ratchasima 30130
Tel: 092 443 8881
Opens daily from 0930-2130hrs
The last location for the day before continuing to our hotel is Farm Chokchai. I think among all three places, this has got to be the most interesting one. The farm has over 3,000 head of exclusively bred dairy cattle, which is a cross between Holstein-Friesian and a native Thai species. They also have their very own brand of dairy products called Umm!.. Milk.
At the Super Gene station, we got a very precise explanation and detailed visual demonstration of artificial insemination (via video). While we felt it was not very appropriate for children, the many Thai parents there seem quite blase about it.
We probably saw as many pigeons there as cows.
We stopped at the Cowboy Station for about 4o minutes, where we got to experience a cowboy performance with horses, roping and whips. Then, we spent the rest of the time walking around.
Farm Tour Schedule
- Tuesday to Friday: Fixed times at 1000hrs and 1400hrs. If these tours are full, tours will be opened every 20 minutes.
- Saturday, Sunday and PH: 1000/ 1020/ 1040/ 1100/ 1120/ 1140/ 1300/ 1320/ 1340/ 1400/ 1420/ 1440hrs
- No tours on Monday, except if it is a PH.
According to their website, you are supposed to reserve seven days in advance (can be done via email at firstname.lastname@example.org) and the tour is conducted in Thai. However, we purchased our tickets on the spot and the guide spoke both in Thai and English. The tour costs 300Baht and took 1.5 hours.