"I will be in Khao Yai this weekend" is fast becoming the new "I will be in Hua Hin this weekend" for Thais from all over the country.
In the past, thinking of a trip to 'Khao Yai' evoked images of bushwalking in the mountains, camping, bird watching, and all things nature - all of which I have never done. In more recent times, small vineyards started to pop up and Khao Yai started to also become famous for its wineries, horse-riding and farms.
Fast-forward to now, and according to HVS, there are 19 hotels in Khao Yai, most of them having their own 'theme', ranging from European castles, to Spanish Fortresses, Italian replica towns, and one in particular has done a remarkable job in recreating the quaint English countryside.
Khao Yai's Potential
A decade ago, accommodations in Khao Yai were unanimously local brands. Now, we are seeing the entry of several international brands, as well as Thai brands with international standards such as The Thames Valley.
The Thames Valley Khaoyai is a resort inspired by the architecture of the British countryside, modeled on villages along the Thames. The resort has paid meticulous attention to crafting and maintaining their flawless post-card landscapes, and the masonry of each individual and unique villa. The build quality is remarkable.
"We are setting a benchmark for Khao Yai hotels as a non-chain brand. What we offer at the Thames Valley Khaoyai is what we would offer to guests if it were in Bangkok. The linen is 400 thread count, the pastry chef is from Rosewood Bangkok, and the Executive Chef is has 25 years of experience working at the renowned Mandarin Bangkok. We also have our butler service with butlers trained to the highest international standards; quality exudes from every inch of the property - from the building structures right down to the amenities and food." said, Paul Siriroj, Managing Director -- Hotel Group for Rende which owns Rosewood Bangkok, The Thames Valley, and SC Park.
Thinking of taking a vacation in Khao Yai no longer means that you'll have to compromise on service and food quality. The whole area is now seeing restaurants and cafés pop up that won't make you miss Bangkok too much.
Are We There Yet? - Getting There
The new motorway is scheduled to open in 2022 and it will shorten the travel time from 2.5 to about an hour from Bangkok, which means the drive to Khao Yai will be much less arduous.
Another transport possibility is to take the train which include a high-speed rail option. When the entire line is complete, it will connect Thailand to Laos which will potentially direct even more numbers to Khao Yai as a destination.
Given Khao Yai's potential, land prices and real estate prices are still attractive for investors. A second hand house in Khao Yai in a gated community costs somewhere in the vicinity of 2 - 20 Million Thai Baht. Land prices start from around 500,000 THB per rai (1,600sqm), making Khao Yai a perfect destination investment for family holidays.
Hotels with long stay offerings also have the potential to attract specific demographics of clients. Thames Valley has one villa named 'The Mansion' which has 4bedrooms, private swimming pool, large living room, kitchen, and a garage, and has shown that the demand for long-stay options is growing.
"Khao Yai has now become a real family getaway, especially now with the sporadic city lockdowns in Bangkok. People need some fresh air, and space which is exactly what we have a lot of. We have welcomed many families to our mansion - which is suitable for the entire family. Another unique feature is our butler service which has become popular among families as well. When you travel with different age group members, the head of the family ends up managing everything and doesn't really have an opportunity to relax. Our butler service helps lighten that burden and helps ensure that everyone gets the chance to relax equally" said, Paul.
So what are you doing this weekend? Go and check out Khao Yai and let us know what you think