Everyone knows that going to Thailand means entering the world of food – this is the home of unique cafés and restaurants, with everything from drool-inducing Pad Thai to delicately layered crepe cakes. It’s also the place where the only words we say are “om nom nom” and “take my Baht”!
But, if you think Bangkok and its Tuk-tuks are all there is to Thailand, you clearly haven’t discovered Khao Yai yet. It’s located in Northeast Thailand, and leads into Khao Yai National Park, one of Thailand’s most beloved parks.
More information about travelling to Khao Yai (Tap to expand)
When to travel to Khao Yai?
The best time to travel to Khao Yai would be during the winter season between November to February.
This is when the weather is absolutely perfect, and waterfalls actually have water in them. If you travel down outside of the winter season, the weather can get almost unbearably hot (not kidding at all)!
Getting to Khao Yai from Bangkok?
1. By car:
– We highly recommend renting a car in Bangkok for your time in Khao Yai. Simply load the directions on GPS (or Google Maps on your phone). The journey is relatively straightforward, and will take up to 3 hours. The best part? Having a car will make exploring Khao Yai that much easier! – 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.
2. By bus:
Make your way to Mo Chit Bus Station in Bangkok. There are several buses travelling to Pak Chong every half hour. Bus tickets will cost from USD $5. (Do double check that the bus you take stops at Pak Chong.)
3. By minivan:
The faster alternative, minivans located at Victory Monument travelling directly to Pak Chong leaves every 2 hours and cost from USD $5 per seat. Get to Victory Monument and find minivan companies on the south exit of the BTS skyline station, on the small stretch between Century Plaza and 7-eleven shop.
Resorts can also provide a one-way private minivan to pick you from your hotel in Bangkok for approximately USD $98 for up to 8 people.
4. By train:
The slowest way to get to Khao Yai, take the train from Hua Lampong Train Station in Bangkok Central to Pak Chong. Trains leave Hua Lampong Station for Pak Chong 4 times a day, and will take approximately 4-5 hours to reach. Tickets cost approximately USD $8 (depending on seat class)
While the mountainous scenery won’t fail to make your eyes water with their beauty, today, we’re all about the mouth-watering goodness that Pak Chong (a little town in Khao Yai) has to offer.
Don’t look down on this rural area – it definitely has its fair share of quirky and delicious eating hotspots. After you’ve looked through our list of the most outstanding restaurants in Pak Chong, Khao Yai – we think you’ll be scrambling to change your next holiday destination.
1. Breaking conventions – Dairy Home Farm Shop
This farm shop in Pak Chong is the best shop in the world, we think, if only for the fact that it serves food. We love how rebellious it is: “I’m a shop, not a restaurant!”
The shop also sells organic produce – who says you can’t do marketing and stuff your face at the same time? The sample stalls at Isetan say “yes you can”, and so does the Dairy Home Farm Shop.
This establishment exists in the form of bright red barn buildings and a tree house, which really makes you feel like you’re at a farm.
Although you might question, since when did farm food taste so amazing? The shop is renowned for its homemade ice cream, and its Kurobuta (black pig) steak is also highly raved about.
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2. Visit Neverland in this restaurant by the river – Ban Mai Chay Nam Museum & Restaurant
Do you get called out for a being a big kid all the time? Well, Ban Mai Chay Nam Museum & Restaurant is a prime example of why there’s nothing wrong with being a little nostalgic.
This unique restaurant is filled with all the stuff of our childhood dreams, and they go from new-age hottie Captain America to goofball Inspector Gadget (how long ago was that?). In any case, it’s clear that this restaurant is one for kids of all ages and sizes.
It helps, too, that the food is probably some of the best that you can get at Nakhon Ratchasima. The restaurant is famed for its authentic Thai taste, so you’ll definitely have to get your hands on the papaya salad, fried fish cake and green curry.
Play like a child and eat like an adult – here’s where you can get the best of both worlds.
Ban Mai Chay Nam Museum & Restaurant
Price:~150 Baht (~SG$5.76) Address: 21 Moo 11, in front of Ban Mai Chai Num Resort, Mittraphab Rd, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130 Contact: 044312134, 044314236, 0816602826 Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
So somewhere in this list, you might’ve seen all that talk about Game of Thrones that has gotten you thirsty for some flesh – we mean, hungry for some meat.
Why not grab a steak at Buffalo Bill’s Texas Saloon Steak House? He’s got to know his way around cows if he’s a buffalo.
Just kidding, but we’re not kidding about how you shouldn’t miss out on the dishes available in this cow-boy themed establishment. Other than a variety of the juiciest steaks ever, Buffalo Bill also serves Thai food.
But eating may not be the only thing you want to do here – after all, with the head of a moose sticking out from the wall, you can be sure that this is one place you won’t want to leave without taking a few glory shots.
We think this is why the staff are all dressed up as cowboys… we don’t think they’ll mind meeting a fellow cowboy or two!
There are plenty of animal cafes out in the world – dogs, cats, owls, llamas… you name it, they have it. But who really wants to eat with a llama sticking its face into their food?
Here’s where Bunny Coffee comes in, offering you sweet animal company with no fear that your furry buddy is going to topple over your dish or attempt to share your straw with you.
The bunnies at Bunny Coffee are kept in an enclosed pen, so you can watch them and coo over their cuteness while still maintaining a high level of hygiene in the cafe. The cafe itself is filled with tons of rabbit stuff, including stuffed toys and murals, so even if you don’t like moving rabbits, surely you can’t hate the ones who just stare cutely at you?
Bunny Coffee doesn’t really have a very extensive menu, but it does offer simple American breakfast dishes such as garlic bread, ham salad, toast and side dishes like nuggets. So while it won’t do much to soothe your stomach, it’s always good to get some animal therapy after a long and tiring day.
The Mew Cafe is unique for none other than the fact that this cafe’s interior design knocks many of its competitors out of the park.
The minimalist and modern cafe is clad in grey tones, clean lines and pleasing wooden furniture. This really is the first time we’ve wished that our house looked like a cafe.
But The Mew Cafe get props for not stopping at the decor – just as much effort has been put into their dishes, and everything from the salad to dessert is exquisitely arranged.
Going to this cafe isn’t just a feast for your stomach, but a feast for your eyes as well. Don’t forget to try out their amazing breakfast menu; the Eggs Benedict and basically any dessert are simply unforgettable.
The Mew Cafe
Address: Rd. Thanarat km 12th district Chong, Amphoe Pak Chong 30130. Contact: +66 98 382 5433 Opening hours: Friday, 11am to 8pm / Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 8pm
7. Exquisite Thai-French fusion in a gorgeous garden restaurant – Lookkai Khao Yai
This stately garden restaurant in Khao Yai features two distinctly different types of dishes – French and Thai. We don’t know about you, but we sure haven’t heard about something like that.
If your tastebuds’ preferences lean towards “upper class” food, you’re gonna love this place, because it both tastes good and looks good. Yes, you get to enjoy fine dining and show off on Instagram afterwards.
Thai food lovers will dig fried rice with seafood soup, while French cuisine connoisseurs will enjoy the juicy angus beef steak. For the rest of us, there’s always dessert – don’t forget to order one of those savoury crepe cakes at the end of your meal!
Hipsters gotta be hipsters, even when they are overseas, right?
Get in touch with your hippie side at the 382 Space Coffee & Bakery. The cafe is a hipster in its own right – a quaint little wooden hut situated away from the rest of the world, nestled among calming greenery.
Here, you’re bound to look cool in every single shot that you take, but don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s the environment (okay, maybe a little bit of you too).
This cafe sells a selection of tasty caffeine treats, along with mini pastries, such as matcha cupcakes and and brownies, from its “mum-made” bakery – giving every hipster the taste of home.
382 Space Coffee & Bakery
Price:45 – 85 Baht (SG$1.73 – 3.27) Address: 382, Thao Sura Soi 3, Muang district, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand Contact: +66 95 609 3082 Opening hours: 9.30am to 5pm (Closed on Sunday and Monday)
10. Fairytale comes alive – Coffee House @ Khao Yai
If you believe in romance and still wait for the tooth fairy to come claim that tooth that fell out when you were eight – you’re going to love the fantastical energy that pulses around the Coffee House @ Khao Yai.
We don’t know if it’s the garden gnomes or the sheer beauty of the landscape that surrounds it, but stepping into the place sure feels like stepping into a fairytale.
Some days, sitting down and enjoying a relaxed time with a friend or two and a cup of coffee in a place that seems out of this world feels like a tempting prospect.
It helps that you won’t be bored here – not when there are so many desserts to try out! Sweet rolls, crepe cakes with strawberry sauce, and of course the titular coffee selections are all available.
Even if you hate coffee, there are other addictive concoctions such as the high-concentration green tea. Just be prepared to open your heart and your wallet!
Coffee House @ Khao Yai
Price:100 – 200 Baht (SG$3.80 – 7.60) Address: 99/8 Moo. 8 Rd. Thanarat in. Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima. 30130. Contact: 0878769922 Opening hours:9qm to 5pm (Closed on Mondays)
Always wanted to travel the world with your significant other? At Te Amo, you can do something like that – although instead of your bodies, your tastebuds will be the ones travelling instead.
Just one meal at Te Amo will allow you to explore cuisines from China, Thailand and Italy. Better yet, you’ll be enjoying the food in the soft, romantic atmosphere of within the European-styled establishment – definitely a bonus for you in your partner’s eyes!
Don’t forget to try out the restaurant’s iconic dishes just because you’re too busy miming hearts at each other.
Some of the popular dishes at Te Amo are the smoked and boiled duck breast meat and spicy fish stew. Keep in mind that good food is the way to anyone’s heart!
Price:105 – 250 Baht (USD $3 – 7.2) Address: Km.20 Thanarat road, Musi KhaoYai-Pak chong Amphoe Pak Chong Contact: 044-297579, 089-9489977 Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
12. Trip back in time – Lan + Lee + Lar Restaurant
Lan + Lee + Lar Restaurant is a small, vintage restaurant located in Khao Yai. Decorated in a retro theme, the restaurant’s olden interior takes you back in time, and is perfect for vintage lovers.
In line with its traditional theme, the food served here are also the best of traditional Thai food, including mouth-watering treats like fried mushrooms and fish, as well as curry shrimp.
What you definitely don’t want to miss out on are the waffles, which are famed for their crispy exterior and soft, chewy interior.
Take yourself out of the bustling timeline of the present, sit back and chill at a place away from time at the Lan + Lee + Lar restaurant. Trust us, with the feast ahead of you, you definitely won’t regret it.
Lan + Lee + Lar Restaurant
Price:100 – 300 Baht (SG$3.84 – 11.53) Address: 199/9 Moo. Thanarat (km 9), Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130. Contact: 08-1902-2109, 08-1801-4759 Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm (Closed on Tuesdays) / Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 10pm
Midwinter Green is a breathtaking restaurant in Pak Chong that looks straight out of a Game of Thrones episode. We don’t know about you, but that feels really epic for us.
The white-washed buildings are built in the medieval style and kind of look like the remnants of a half-destroyed stronghold.
That doesn’t mean it looks run down, because it doesn’t – this restaurant is majestic, and being there will probably make you feel like you could sit on the Iron Throne.
Sadly, Midwinter Green doesn’t have Innards of My Enemies or Dragon Blood on its menu; what it does have is a delicious offering of international and Thai cuisine, including some really cheesy pizza, gourmet sandwiches, and barbeque. That should be enough to build up your strength for the next great war.
Price:~200 Baht (SG$7.8) Address: 88/88 Moo 10, Thanarach Road, Nong Nam Daeng, Pak Chong Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand Contact: +66 44 365 288 Opening hours: 10am to 11pm
14. (Cafe) pageant queen – The Birder’s Lodge Cafe+grill
The Birder’s Lodge is a relatively new resort in Khao Yai with open concept wooden huts situated high up in the mountains – a dream destination for nature lovers (and hermit crabs).
The resort has been lauded for its beautiful architecture and to-die-for scenery, and its on-site cafe can’t escape the fate of being too pretty either.
The cafe+grill at the lodge features a modern design with a wood theme, and serves some yummy fried fish and green curry with roti.
Barbeque services are also available on Fridays and Saturdays, so if grill is your thing, be sure to pick out the date of your visit carefully!
The Birder’s Lodge Cafe+grill
Address: 282 Moo 10, Tumbol Musi Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand Contact: +66 44 300 185 Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday, 8.30am to 6pm / Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, 8.30am to 10pm / For barbeque every Friday, Saturday and holidays, 5pm to 10pm
15. Special mention: Reconnect with nature – 22°C Cafe
This cafe, located a short 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Pak Chong, truly lives up to its name: it’s the perfect place to sit and chill on a hot day, which is, well, (almost) everyday in Thailand.
22°C Cafe has a green theme – not only is it surrounded by nature and greenery, the interior of the cafe is also filled with plants, creating a soothing atmosphere and seamless connection between the cafe and the nature around it.
What’s better than sitting inside when the sun is determined to kill you with heatstroke? You don’t even miss anything, since the view you get outside, is what you get inside.
Win win, we say. Besides, you also get to taste some really crispy fried chicken and sweet desserts – all in the comfort of an air-conditioned room. That should spite the sun’s nose off (if it had one).
Price:101 – 250 Baht (SG$3.88 – 9.61) Address: Wang Nam Khiao, Wang Nam Khiao District, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand Contact: +66 89 807 0077 Opening hours: Wednesday – Friday, 7.30am to 5pm / Saturday and Sunday, 7.30am to 8pm
Now that we’ve divulged all the yummy secrets that Khao Yai is hiding, all that’s left to do is…
1) Pack your bags
2) Exchange more than enough cash
3) Knock yourself out with the cafe hopping!
Let us know below if we’ve missed any great cafes or restaurants in Khao Yai out, and do say hi if you see us there!
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