Train Lovers’ Paradise Two & Half Hours From Bangkok!
Story and Photos by Farah Cowan
In January we visited Kha Yai National Park, north of Bangkok and we had a wonderful and relaxing time.
The weather was a comfortable 21°C degrees in the mornings, but cool enough that the staff driving the buggies wore jackets. It was fantastic for us as it was a welcome relief from the ever-present heat & humidity of Singapore where Floyd and I live.
We stayed at the Intercontinental Khao Yai Resort for three nights and four days. What a blissful and refreshing time after the hustle and bustle of work and the Christmas rush! We were familiar with the resort in as much as we had read and seen pictures of refurbished / recycled train carriages Asian Journeys. But we were in for a surprise. The extent of work and the luxurious interiors of each unit was jaw dropping!
The carriages were turned into beautiful villas from old retired and rescued trains by the famed architect Bill Bensley. If you are a train aficionado here is a perfect place to explore your love for trains, old and antique. Every single detail of a bygone train travel era has been painstakingly researched and executed to perfection. The hotel can’t change or move an item without first consulting Bill.
You don’t have to be interested in trains but still enjoy the resort. It took about five years to become what it is now, a lush paradise with trees and lakes and walkways and room to breathe fresh air. It opened a year ago. There are man-made lakes on the property with 80 swans imported from Australia. The GM, an experienced hospitality veteran and Singaporean, Sandy Liw, was on the job from early morning to late into the night overseeing all aspects of the resort that opened just over a year ago.
The restaurants all serve a fantastic variety of fares. For the three nights that we were there, they had enough to keep us fed and had no need for repeats, although I would have the coconut crusted fish many times – at the Poire Restaurant. The staff are all well trained, very friendly, and helpful.
You can select your accommodation from normal rooms overlooking Swan Lake or the refurbished train carriages in different motifs and with private pools. Our villa with the Cambodian interior had three spacious sections. Bigger than a one bedroom apartment including a Nespresso machine and all the luxuries of a five-star resort.
There were many locals, international guests, including Singaporeans, with family and children enjoying the temperate climate at New Years. Kids had a blast with the petting zoo and their own club in a train carriage.
There are day tours arranged by the resort that can take you to the National Park where you can go hiking and trekking. They will arrange trips for shopping, sightseeing and learning about the local culture. There are lavender and sunflower fields at different times of the year that can be picture perfect for your feed on Instagram.
In the area are fabulous Thai restaurants with Michelin stars that offer an array mouthwatering cuisine just a few kilometers away. Coming back to the resort one can enjoy the private spa carriages with very experienced therapists to enjoy their extensive offerings of 90-minute heavenly massages to facials and scrubs.
It was an amazing experience which gave us the opportunity and insight to glimpse a peak at the era of golden age of travel at the resort. Truly marvelous!
Check out: Intercontinental.firstname.lastname@example.org
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