Looking for a weekender away from the capital city? Are you bored of the usual beaches and coastlines? This weekend’s getaway takes us to the northeastern parts of Bangkok to Khao Yai and Korat. Travel through the mountainous terrain and into the gateways of Isaan. We visit some of the must-go-to places that should be on anyone’s itinerary – from vineyards, temples and monuments to the delightful foods.
Wine Harvest at PB Valley Khao Yai Winery
Every year from the end of January to the middle of March, is the wine harvesting period and the annual Harvest Festival at PB Valley. This picture-perfect place is a destination perfect for the family with something for both the young and old.
The vineyard and winery tour including wine tasting of PB’s finest wines for the adults, and for the kids the grape juice is no exception either with its deliciously fresh taste!
Get up close and personal and experience fun activities for all with grape picking and stomping competitions.
As the beautiful sunset drops behind the vineyard, settling down to enjoy the magnificent BBQ buffet at the Great Hornbill Grill was just mouthwatering. From PB Valley’s signature pizza to the tenderized steaks, our taste buds were definitely satisfied, especially ending with their very own homemade grape ice-cream. Just wonderful!
Farm Chokchai – Best Burgers and Ice Cream East of Bangkok
If you haven’t heard of Farm Chokchai yet, then you’re missing out. Besides all the variety of activities offered, what many people come here for is the Steakhouse! This is the place to come to taste Thailand’s premium quality beef, which you won’t find anywhere else.
As a burger fanatic, my eyes were on the Chokchai Steak Burger, pretty much the main reason for this stopover. The verdict, all worth it! The beef patty was juicy and succulent, the cheese was sharp, the caramelized onions were sweet, the bacon cooked to perfection, overall it was just a darn tasty burger – you can really taste the quality and freshness!
Besides the burgers, you’ll find the steaks here to be very tender and appetizing.
Set yourself back and take it all in while dining in a farmhouse style atmosphere. After all, you’re on a farm! Don’t forget to taste their dairy products at Umm!.… Milk, especially their ice creams. Nothing but quality fresh milk are used, which compliments to the tastiness!
Thao Suranari Garden
Stop by the Thao Suranari Garden for an extravagant scenic view, a perfect rest over spot before continuing to Korat city. The garden overlooks the Lumtakong Dam and you’ll get that panoramic view of the open lake. Here, we also pay respects to Lady Mo Monument or also known as Ya Mo who was a hero in Korat’s history.
Thao Suranaree Monument
This memorial to Ya Mo was built in 1934, it is located in the old moated city centre, and shows her holding a sword of the defeated Lao. When in 1826 Lao invaders ransacked Korat rounding up people to take back as slaves to Vientiane, Ya Mo apparently rallied villagers in the area to help fight the invaders and they were successful.
This is a very busy monument where Thai people flock to pray. Situated in a buzzing area of Korat, there is plenty of eating, shopping and people watching places close by.
Fabulous Wat Non Kum Temple
A must for everyone! This temple is an architectural masterpiece that will wow your eyes open. This stunningly beautiful temple itself is spectacular. Outside surrounding by a pond, white and black swans and beautiful gardens.
The Wat Non Kum Temple was built as an act of merit by the Thai film star Sorapong Charchate. The entire complex is dedicated to the memory of Phra Somdit. It is estimated over a million visitors go there each month to make merit.
Take the time to visit and explore the surroundings of the temple as it is well worth it. Be mindful and respectful of the Buddhist culture and traditions while visiting! Don’t forget about the free Lad Na (Thai-style wide noodles in thick gravy sauce) offered as well. It’ll be a good idea to fill up your palate before exploring the temple grounds.
Khorat’s Best Restaurant: Kanom Jeen Kru Yawd (ขนมจีนครูยอด)
Highly recognized as one of the most famous eating spots in Korat, Kanom Jeen Kru Yawd should be your number one choice for dining. Be advised though, this place tends to get crowded during lunchtime. The restaurant serves their infamous kanom jeen rice noodles with four types of curries.
Other Isaan food classics are great too. The salty deep fried chicken wings are fried to crispy perfection. The som tum here was delightful with its garden-fresh taste. You won’t find a large menu here but because of the limited of options, they perfect their dishes that send your jaw dropping!
Text by Tony Poowananon