Nothing says family bonding more than a roadtrip. To the young ones, it’ll be an adventure. Look at it from their point of view: every time the car stops, it’s an exciting new place! And for you? Quality time with the kids and partner (when the kids inevitably fall asleep).
Instead of going for hours on end trying to reach your destination, you’ll be stopping frequently at attractions along the way. We want you to really enjoy the journey.
Khao Kho is an up and coming holiday destination for travellers looking for something different, and yet still supremely affordable.
The best part? Khao Kho offers nice chilly weather, especially if you travel during the winter season (between Nov-Feb). Of course, it’s good to go throughout the year too!
With stunning valley views, flower fields, and quaint mountain experiences awaiting, you won’t be able to believe that you haven’t heard of Khao Kho till now.
So if you’re ready… Scroll to see the best of Khao Kho that’s in store for you.
Where is Khao Kho?
Khao Kho is 5 and a half hour’s drive from Bangkok. We drove ourselves without a driver and split up the drive. Drove from Bangkok to Lopburi – then staying one night in Nakhon Sawan and exploring the area, before reaching Khao Kho!
The best way to get to Khao Kho is via car.
1. Book a private chartered car with driver: Highly recommended. We’ve rented cars and driven on road trips ourselves, and have also tried hiring private chartered cars with driver (most convenient!).
You won’t have to worry about taking turns to drive or getting lost, when there’s a local who’ll handle these. All you’ll need to do is focus on your family/friends and enjoy the trip to the fullest! Klook offers very competitive rates from USD $545 per car. Check out their customisable Khao Kho Itinerary with Driver!
2. Rent a car: Not recommended for inexperienced drivers, especially with the mountainous roads you’ll experience travelling to Khao Kho. If you’re confident on foreign roads, then you can simply load the directions on GPS (or Google Maps on your phone).
When renting a car, make sure to check your rental car thoroughly – from ensuring that everything is working fine, to when it was last serviced. (Europcar Thailand, from USD $35 / approx. 1091 Baht per day)
Our tip: If you plan to drive up mountainous roads like we did to reach Khao Kho, we recommend renting an SUV with higher power to go up the mountain. We got a 1.6L Sylvia and almost stalled the car, and 2 of us ended up having to get out and walk up while our friend drove up!
TripCanvas Tip: Khao Kho Travel Essential!
You’ll need a local SIM card/WiFi device for your Khao Kho travel. We highly recommend AIS telco (from USD $5.60 / approx. 179 Baht). True story, we got lost in the middle of the night while on the road to our Khao Kho stay – and had no reception with the local Sim cards we had.
We then had to drive around hoping to find someone to help us. The local that we met shared that AIS was the best telco to use in the mountains.
Reenact Sound of Music through a field of sunflowers and visit a traditional shopping village
We’re going to assume that you arrive in Don Mueang airport in the morning and will be ready to go by 12AM.
Make sure you grab some snacks from the convenience store before leaving, just in case you feel hungry along the way. (Also if you might need snacks at night in your hotel.) You can make the day extra special by letting your kids pick whatever they want!
Now, for the first stop: get a hot meal in all of you.
18 mins away by car, you’ll come across this restaurant in a garden setting that serves pretty decent Thai meals. The manager speaks English well enough, but it’s the earnest reception and service that will set you in a great mood.
With far off mountains in the backdrop, Saraburi Sunflower fields really seems like that floral landscape from our dreams.Take all the photos you want.
It’s free too! And you might be able to get some local honey for 120 Baht if you come during the end of the year from November to January.
Photo Via TripCanvas
Special Mention: If Saraburi Sunflower is closed when you’re visiting from Feb-Oct, we recommend visiting Phra Prang Sam Yod (Monkey Temple) instead!
You’ll be surprised along this shopping market filled with vintage Thai architecture that looks brand new.
Constructed in late 2017, this newly built market holds vintage treasures such as traditional food, snacks, and interestingly local sights.
Photo Via TripCanvas
Right opposite the market, you can settle in for an early dinner.
Past visitors had nothing but kind words for the place, praising the staff, food and ambience. They will do their best to accommodate even the fussiest of eaters.
Photo Via Edt
Special Mention: It’s a royal dinner with the guest of honor: Alaskan King Crab – 9 Pints The Gastro House
If you’d like a grander family dinner, consider heading to this gastro house! They have craft beers for the adults and a kids’ menu for the young ones. Top that off with their famous Alaskan king crab, and you’ve got a winner.
It’s only a 12 minute walk from Chateau de Bear too, so you don’t even have to drive.
Not only is it a truly charming stay, it’s also perfect for roadtrippers because there’s a parking space right outside your room.
The grounds are absolutely gorgeous and a great place to relax at after a long day.
PS: There’s free WiFi at this place!
Photo Via Tripcanvas
Day 1 Route
It’s a foodie’s dream and even the kids will be impressed
Get everyone ready to set out by 9AM because it’s going to be a long day ahead. I’m talking great food and amazing views, especially if you’re travelling between Dec to Jan.
Fishball so Thai you might not be able to stop at one bowl! – ร้านนายตี๋ ลูกชิ้นปลากราย 3 รส Nai Tee Fishball (1hr)
A short 12 min drive away will have you at one of the best places to have a bowl of Thai noodles.
They are famous for their fish balls but you can also get spring rolls and other delicious food here. Always something for everyone.
And probably the husband too. I have this theory that secretly, dudes love them sweet things. Even if he denies it, well, there’s a menu for savoury meals too 😉
It’s two hours from the last stop so it’s a good place to stretch your legs and take a breather.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the shop itself looks like it popped out of a cartoon. Perfect for that fun family shot.
Photo Via Nrpbenz
The views here are nothing short of amazing, and you’ll want to come back again and you will. But for now, it’s time for some proper food.
Their red curry should not be missed and neither should their super fresh, super sweet cabbage dishes (that they plant themselves)!
Note: If you/the kids can’t take spicy food, be sure to let the staff know.
Photo Via TripCanvas
It’s a fan, it’s a pinwheel? No! It’s – Khao Kho Windmill Fields @ Khao Kho Windfarm (ทุ่งกังหันลมเขาค้อ) (1hr 30mins)
Not only is it home to 24 windmills (very Teletubby-like), there’s also a huge swing and a retro tram-like carriage to take you around. If you see strawberries for sale, make sure to get them! They are the sweetest strawberries ever (similar to the ones you can get in Korea).
Photo Via Ghietonghie
This temple features some of the most unique looking temple architecture ever, and I’m talking colourful mosaics. The view is just as breathtaking, and it’s also one of the places the clouds touch.
Photo Via Newbuffhill Chanken
A local delight that serves all the yummy basics – Boranniyom Khao Kho Restaurant ร้านโบราณนิยม เขาค้อ (1hr)
Before you head back for an early night and quality time with the family, you need to fuel up first. And what better place to do it than at this homey open-air restaurant.
Have yourself some Thai-style comfort food with the peaceful mountain atmosphere and friendly service. They play good music here too, according to past visitors!
Be excited for bed because of what’s waiting tomorrow… – Viewpoint Khaokoh Hotel โรงแรมวิวพอยท์ เขาค้อ
Everyone’s probably tired by now, so we recommend retiring earlier. You’ll also get to wake up earlier to the magical sea of clouds. Yes! If you’re lucky, you’ll see this waiting for you in the morning.
Kids below 8 years old that don’t need additional bedding get to stay for free.
Note: This night would be a great time for some family bonding. If your family enjoys a good time involving boardgames and such, try to prepare something for the night. 🙂
Photo Via Aum_haworthia
Make sure to turn in early as you’ll have an early day tomorrow to catch the sea of clouds! (only available before 8am)
Day 2 Route
Be wowed by the sights you’ll see today, from a sea of clouds to freshwater jellyfish!
Today’s going to be an eyeopener for the kids. They’ll surely have an unforgettable time marveling at the beauties of nature. (To catch the sea of clouds, you have to leave the hotel by 6am in order to make it to Phu Thap Boek by 7.30am. Make sure you have snacks in the car for the drive to Phu Thap Boek!)
Catch the cherry blossoms, stunning views and chilly weather – Phu Thap Boek Mountain ภูทับเบิก (1hr 30mins)
Depending on when you are visiting, if it’s in the colder months of Dec to Jan, you will be able to see the cherry blossoms and an incredible sea of clouds moving before you. It’s a picturesque drive from here on.
If not… Well, there’s nothing better than some fresh mountain air and a good brisk walk for health, anyway! Also, did we mention the views?
P.S: If you’re an adventurous family, you might want to look into camping here, which we mentioned in another post.
Photo Via Betweenstarsandsnow
Pino Latte does them really well. They do loads of Western breakfast and their coffee is said to be pretty amazing too.
Photo Via ausma_peung, jah_sohot
By waterfairies, I mean freshwater jellyfishes. They aren’t venomous nor are they known to sting, but you should refrain from touching them all the same.
Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs, right? 🙂 It’s a good thing to instill in kids when they are still young too.
Photo Via Racketop, Pjackiee
Special Mention: If you’re travelling from June-Sep when Bang Rachan Islet is closed, we recommend replacing this activity with rafting at Khek River!
Aside from their exotic fruits such as avocado, lychees and persimmons, you can also try their homemade ice cream (lychee is recommended!). Definitely a treat for the whole family.
However, do bear in mind that the fruits change along with the season. What may be available in May might not be available in Dec.
Photo Via Muay_masarat, Iam_fahsuay, Maknaemilk_jsp
Expect bright lights and a penchant for wandering around, because there’s so much to be found. Street food and arts await at every stall.
You could get a matching set of tees for you and your family too!
Photo Via Brick_runner
Head back to Viewpoint Khao Kho Hotel to get a good rest!
Special Mention: A local delight that serves all the yummy basics – Boranniyom Khao Kho Restaurant ร้านโบราณนิยม เขาค้อ (1hr)
If you get hungry after heading back from Lom Sak Street, feel free to head to this restaurant. Have yourself some Thai-style comfort food with a nice atmosphere and friendly service. They play good music here too, according to past visitors!
Day 3 Route
Let’s visit a quaint little shopping village & do more shopping in BKK!
Look at how picture perfect this place is. It feels like a completely different place, or even, dimension – it definitely deserves 2 visits!
It’s magical and chilly, so you might want to bundle up the younger ones and put on extra layers yourself.
Once you’re done marveling at the beauty (and posing for the camera), head inside for some breakfast before you go on your way!
Photo Via Eeveningevee
Here it’s the buildings and decor that warrant a stop. Pastel coloured shops and huts that look like they were pulled out of a children’s storybook.
The environment is just right for a nice stroll and an impromptu family portrait session.
You’ll also be able to find vintage goods and handcrafted items here.And if you’re hungry, there’s a cafe or two that serves coffees, scones and more.
Photo Via TripCanvas
Where you see a bunkbed, children will see a jungle gym. The place is tastefully decorated to stimulate a cosy home.
Plus, it’s surrounded by family-friendly places that your kids will love. The most notable ones will be listed in tomorrow’s itinerary.
Photo Via Connor_martyn, Sarah_travels92
When you’re all rested up and ready to have some dinner, we’ve got just the thing.
Aside from their famous porridge, they also do Thai favourites like stir fried pork or scrumptious fried rice.
Photo Via Pearris, Pued_partyboyz
Ready your shopping bags for a night of splurge – Terminal 21, The Emporium, Talad Neon Night Market
Here’s a list of popular shopping destinations which aren’t too far away, that you can hit up before turning in.
But if you just want to rest up for tomorrow, be sure to stop by a 7-11 and get some goodies first. For a list of what can’t be missed, check out our guide.
Day 4 Route
It’s time for you to freestyle up this joint and personalise your day
Today really depends on what time you’re scheduled to fly off. You can leave your luggage with the reception/concierge, if you want to check out early and still go for a last hurrah in Bangkok.
If your flight is scheduled at night, and you have the whole afternoon to spend till 6pm, you can choose to do several things and make this trip truly unforgettable for the kids!
a. Shopping (check out our shopping guide)
b. Recommended kid friendly cafes
c. Recommended unique cafes
d. Recommended family activities
But be sure to check the routes/distances and timing needed, so you can mix and match wherever you want to go – according to the time you have!
PS: Enjoy the convenience of sending your luggage to the airport, instead of having to come back to your hotel to pick them up after shopping/before your flight! (Klook’s Luggage Services from USD$2.20)
Best time to visit
Khao Kho is generally good to visit most of the year.
Avoid Khao Kho from April to June (hottest season). Other than that, you’re good to go!
If you’re looking for spectacular sea of clouds views, the sea of clouds are most dense during the rainy season from July to September.
And if you’d love cold wintry temperatures, visit from November to February!