Khao Yai is a popular place for a weekend trip or a short trip, only 2.5h drive away from Bangkok. In our previous article, we covered accommodation and boutique hotels in Khao Yai. Now, we will cover Khao Yai restaurant, cafés and dining experiences that you can have while in the area.
Table of Contents
Just like every part of Thailand, you can expect to find great local shops and eateries. However, Pak Chong being part of Nakhon Ratchasima province, you can expect great “Isan” or north eastern Thai cuisine in Khao Yai. Such cuisine includes dishes like Som Tum, spicy & sour soup/salad, Thai BBQ, sticky rice, Jim Jum hotpot etc. There are also local markets where you can find local food. However, if you are looking for something more modern/chic then the Mew Hill Market which open on Friday and weekend might be right for you.
Khao Yai restaurant
There are many restaurants in Khao Yai that serve a mix or fusion between Thai and western food. You will find common Thai dishes in the restaurants, such as kra pao, som tum, tom yum, etc. on the menu. Moreover, most upscale restaurants will also offer western dishes like pizza, pasta and various grills on the menu as well. If you are looking for a more unique dining experience, you will find many large establishments that offer both good food, view and ambience. Such example is Midwinter restaurant.
Another kind of dining experience that you can enjoy while in Khao Yai is the outdoor dining. The cooler temperature and fresher air in Khao Yai makes the outdoor dining experience appealing to many. A lot of eateries and restaurants have outdoor seating, including the Midwinter restaurant that we mentioned earlier. While we stayed in one of the hotels in Khao Yai, Muthi Maya, we got to enjoy an outdoor Mookhata experience at the hotel’s outdoor installation, Secret Garden.
Khao Yai farm, vineyard and steakhouse
Khaoyai is home to many farms and vineyards. This is because of its location that’s near the mountain and therefore the cooler temperature. The relatively cooler weather makes it possible to grow some fruits like grape that are harder to grow in warmer areas. Vineyard here also offers tour along with F&B experience. One that we visited recently in our visit to Khao Yai was the PB Valley vineyard. You can pay extra to do vineyard tour that includes tour in the wine factory as well as wine tasting. You can end the trip by eating at their restaurant and perhaps enjoy a sip or two of their wine.
Other than vineyards, you can also visit farms and enjoy fresh produce. Chokchai farm is among the most well established farms that offers tour and F&B experience. Its steakhouse, Chokchai Steakhouse, is famous in Khao Yai and even in Bangkok (they have branches in Bangkok).
Another famous farm near Khao Yai is Suwan Farm. Suwan Farm is a well-known household name in Bangkok. Bangkok people who travel to and fro Khao Yai would stop at this farm to enjoy its farm produce. Suwan Farm is most famous for its corn, and you can buy boiled corn and corn milk. On the weekends, this farm is usually very packed with people and there would be long queues for its corn and corn milk. Pro tip: if you want to buy its famous corn milk, arrive there around 1pm. They only start selling corn milk 1pm onwards and the supply runs fast. You can buy 15 bottles of their highly coveted corn milk in a box at THB 425 (including ice box). We tried the corn milk and we understand why it’s popular!
Khao Yai cafes
There are a lot of places to chill and enjoy your coffee in Khao Yai. The options for cafes are endless – you can find some really chic cafes or some that expose you to greenery and nature. We tried a few while we were in Khao Yai for almost a week.
Mother Say No
The first one was Mother Say No. This cafe/restaurant is affiliated or owned by a group that also has a farm. We are not sure if the ingredients are directly sourced from the farm but there is a possibility for that. The space is really huge, perfect for a family with kids as well. There are some playgrounds for kids to play around. They have indoor and also outdoor seating. The indoor seating has a high ceiling, which makes it very airy.
This cafe is owned by the same group that also owns a Western restaurant located just right next to it. We went there for a coffee but ended up sitting at the restaurant side. We did try the coffee from this cafe though, and it did not disappoint. The cafe itself has a very chic interior but they do not have outdoor seating, whereas the restaurant has outdoor tables.
Other than chic, modern-looking cafes, there are cafes that give you more rural, rustic vibes as well. One of the examples is Chonnabot, which is located very near to Intent Cafe. We did not manage to go there unfortunately. Smaller cafes like this normally do not operate during the weekdays, whereas bigger ones remain open during the weekdays.
Primo Piazza offers a “Little Italy” experience. The vibe that you get once you enter the compound is the European vibe (sans the super hot weather). The buildings look like Italian small town architecture. In the compound they have a cafe selling beverages and some desserts. Also if you go in further, there are Alpaca and sheep farms where you can feed the animals too. The farm experience makes this cafe more unique compared to other cafes. Also, many people go there to take picturesque photos.
How's the experience with Khao Yai restaurant and other eateries?
We had amazing time exploring Khao Yai restaurant, the vineyards, and stuffing ourselves with good food and coffees. Keep in mind though, that if you go to a proper restaurant, they tend to have more fusion food than local Thai food. We had some difficulty to find truly local Thai food during our time there.
Also, Khao Yai is popular for weekend trips among Bangkok people. We did extend our trip into weekdays and there were some places, especially smaller establishments, that were closed. And the Google map information may not indicate so. We are not certain if they don’t operate during weekday because of lower number of tourists during the pandemic, or that’s their normal operations. So if you are staying in Khao Yai during the weekdays as well, prepare properly and check if the places you are planning to visit do open during the weekdays.
Check out our other posts about Thailand here:
- Khao Yai National Park: how to get there, and activities
- Thai green mango: types and how to enjoy this sour mango
- Transportation in Thailand: understand different options
- Thailand Pass review and Thailand travel for the vaccinated
- Kanom jeen: soft and tender rice noodle in Thailand
- Thailand Glamping Experience in Te Mata 360, Khao Yai