The junta has taken over Thailand. There will be nation-wide curfew from 10 pm to 4 am.
With a countdown of less than 10 days before our 5-days Drive and Golf adventure to the Land of Smiles, the news was a spoiler. Logically, we knew we should cancel our trip, since such situations are unpredictable and have the potential to escalate any moment. Yet we knew that through all the disturbing reports, a big part of Thailand was still safe and life goes on as normal. We were in Bangkok in February 2014, right in the heat of all the ongoing protests and eventual election. We witnessed the closing of a busy section of Sukhumvit Road by the protesters. We also witnessed how the closed-off section was alive with night markets, parties, and rock concerts. So we knew that this time, the military rule and curfew will not make us change course too.
Though we’ve traveled through a few parts of Thailand, this was our first attempt at driving in the country. Traffic in Bangkok is crazy. Handling directions was easy, since we’ve got the handy GPS. Maneuvering through the traffic was another matter. Inching through the jams patiently was yet another. After the successful management of the traffic in Thailand, it makes one wonder:
What are traffic rules for? During rush hours, the shoulder of the road may be taken as a lane. A four-lane highway can become a six-lane highway to accommodate more. Signaling is not to give ample notice that you have the intention to change lanes; signaling is to tell people ‘Hey, I’m changing lanes RIGHT NOW’. Rules… are meant to be broken.
Who would have known that smack in the middle of Thailand’s forest landscape, an Italy-themed village, Palio, existed? Furnished with red-bricks, cobbled stones, fresh creeping ivy, the terracotta-toned facade was a refreshing sight to the many dreary factories and provision stores along the way.
Muthi Maya Pool Villa and Golf
Driving on dirt roads through the vegetation of Khao Yai, we emerged and arrived at this peaceful sanctuary. For three days, we rejuvenated by playing 2 rounds of slow-paced golf games, splashing around and floating in our private pool, sun bathing on our private sun lounges, enjoying a relaxing Thai massage, and just lazing around in the villa. It was time well spent to recharge and regain our sanity. With the many local restaurants and eateries along Thanarat Road, which is the main road that leads to the villa, there were plenty of options for meals.
Khao Yai and the Wang Nam Keow regions are famous for their vineyards and locally produced wines. The Granmonte Estate is accessible from Muthi Maya, a mere 20 minutes drive away. In such a serene environment, it was only appropriate for us to enjoy the silence with a glass of wine and enjoy the scenery.
Located along Mitraparp Road, Farm Chokchai with its distinctive blue factory buildings, red shop fronts and farm houses is impossible to miss. With its hundreds of acres of land space, the farm is a local leader in leading the ‘Live the Green Trend’. The three hours long farm tour which included learning about the history of the farm and its development, the farm’s dairy cattle breeds and milking process, tour of the farm grounds on a tractor, a cowboys show, an animal show and visit to the animal petting zoo, was time well spent with some agriculture and innovation knowledge. Under the intense Thai heat and temperature, Umm!…Milk’s ice-cream that is produced by the farm was heavenly delicious. Ummmm…
Read more about our full Bangkok & Khao Yai 6-days itinerary here.