6 Euro weekend escapes close to Bangkok

Bored of Bangkok? Here are 6 Euro themed attractions within a few hours’ drive that will transport you far, far away.

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The Santorini Park, Cha-am

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Offering entertainments for the whole family, Santorini Park (www.santoriniparkchaam.com) is an amusement park with architecture inspired by Greece’s Santorini Island. Not only does it offer many rides, it also has a shopping area with premium brands, numerous restaurants and The Water Fantasy Park next door, which offers a host of different slides, pools and waterways. While you are at the water park, try the Ares’s King Cobra a huge slide that lets two people race on tubes through the twists and turns of the snake’s back, hitting speeds of up to 50kph before appearing to be swallowed into the snake’s mouth. Entry is B50 per person. For the water park, tickets are B700 for adults and B400 for children. Open Mon-Fri 10am-9pm, Fri-Sun 9am-9pm.

 

Swiss Sheep Farm, Cha-am

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The farm is home to numerous fluffy sheep that you can play with. Set opposite the Greek-themed Satorini Park, Swiss Sheep Farm (www.swisssheepfarm.com, 032-772-495) is operated by the owner of Swiss Valley Resort, in Suan Phueng. The story goes that the sheep-loving owner wanted to make his ovine friends available to a wider audience. So if you want to cozy up to wooly sheep, the Cha-Am location allows you to pet, feed and pose with the creatures for B50. A Christmas-themed shop, windmill and activities like archery are also available on-site. Open Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm.

 

Primo Piazza, Khao Yai

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After a massive revamp what was formerly called Primo Pasto, Primo Piazza (www.primopiazza.com) opened in December last year in Khao Yai, a popular country getaway a couple of hours north of Bangkok. The spacious complex features classic Italian architecture and is set in a tranquil spot amid copious greenery. Here you’ll find Western and Thai fusion cuisine, a wine bar, café, souvenir shop and an Australian-inspired barn housing numerous fluffy sheep. While you are there, have a drink or a meal outdoors to take in the fresh cool air. Open daily 9am-10pm, closed on Tue-Wed. Admission fees before 6pm are B100 for adults and B50 for children. Only the restaurants, wine bar and souvenir shop are open after 6pm.

 

Palio, Khao Yai

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Still popular among Bangkokians who visit Khao Yai, the Tuscan-village themed walking street and shopping complex has a good selection of fashion boutiques, restaurants and bars. Palio also has the boutique resort Palio Inn (www.palio-khaoyai.com), which offers 12 boutique rooms with Italian countryside architecture. In the evenings, sit on the second floor and watch the busy shopping streets below. The room’s terrace is a perfect spot for a cozy breakfast or a chill glass of pre-bedtime wine. Open daily 10am-1pm.

 

The Venezia, Hua Hin

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Inspired by the Italian river city of Venice, The Venezia Hua Hin (www.theveneziahuahin.com) features replicas of Venice’s landmarks like St. Mark’s Square and Bell Tower at the main entrance and, of course, human-made canals running throughout. Covering a total 20,000 sq meters with more than 361 retail outlets, the complex features a spacious shopping area, pubs and restaurants, spas and bookstores, an arts and décor zone and a kids zone with mini zoo. Each zone has a different color of buildings, decorated with Venice-style art pieces, flowers and fountains. Open Mon-Fri 11am-8pm , Sat-Sun 10am-9pm.

 

Thames Valley, Khao Yai

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Inspired by country homes along the River Thames which flows through southern England, this new resort offers a chance to pretend you’re staying at your weekend retreat in the British countryside. Consisting of 58 rooms offering seven different room types, the resort is set on Thanarat Road five minutes from Khao Yai National Park which means you get plenty of nature and some great mountain views. To complete the picture, the resort is home to the Castle Restaurant, offering homemade English favourites like fish & chips and pork chops in an old English manor house setting, which is decorated with dark woods, high ceilings and lots of bare stone walls. Maenwhile, the Clotted Cream Tea Room offers a good selection of TWG Tea, pastries and sandwiches and, of course, the chance to order an  English High Tea. Rates start from B6,000 for a 40-sq-meter deluxe room and it’s B22,000 for a 185-sq-meter duplex pool villa. For more information, visit www.thamesvalleykhaoyai.com.

 

Source – http://bk.asia-city.com/travel/news/6-weekend-escapes-you-wont-believe-are-in-thailand

6 island escapes close to Bangkok

Who says you need to take a lot of days off for a trip to an island? To welcome the summer, here are 6 islands close to Bangkok that you can travel to easily over the weekend.

Koh Larn, Pattaya

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Perhaps the most popular island near Bangkok, Koh Larn is only 30 minutes by boat from Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier. The ferry service runs every 1.5 hours to two hours starting from 7am to 6.30pm daily and the fare is B30 per person. A speedboat service is also available at about B1,500-B2,000 per trip. The island is not only popular because it’s convenient to get to, though, but is also home to a few nice long stretches of beaches with clean white sand and clear seas. Among the island’s most beautiful beaches are Ta Waen and Samae. Here, you can also partake in para sailing, banana boat riding, jet skiing or you can just explore the island on a motorbike. As there are a number of resorts on the island, you can spend a night here or just enjoy a day out and take the last ferry which leaves at 6pm back to Pattaya.

 

Koh Si Chang, Chonburi

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Just a little further from Sriracha, there’s Koh Loy Pier from which you can take a ferry cross to Koh Si Chang, 12km away. The ferry runs daily from 6am-7pm and the journey to the island takes about 50 minutes. The island has nice beaches, but the main attractions are its rich history and the charm of its fishermen’s village. The island was home to King Chulalongkorn’s Judha Dhut Palace, which in 1912 was relocated and restored in Bangkok’s Dusit District, today known as Viman Mek Mansion, the world’s largest golden teak wood mansion. Other attractions are the Chinese temple called Saan Chao Pho Khao Yai and Wat Tham Yai Prik. You can also enjoy activities like swimming, kayaking, hiking, biking or simply enjoy fresh seafood on the beach or by the hill looking over the gulf of Thailand. There are many resorts on the island. Check out Malee Blue resort (www.maleeblue.com), which offers Moroccan-inspired rooms at rates starting from B1,200 per night.

 

Koh Kred, Nonthaburi

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This must be the nearest island to Bangkok. Different from what you might have imagined an island should be, Koh Kred is neither near the sea nor does it have beaches. In fact, it’s a tiny island in the Chao Phraya River. The island is accessible by boat from Pakkred Pier in Nonthaburi or you can take a ferry straight from Sathorn Pier near BTS Saphan Taksin. Here, you can enjoy a slower pace of life as there are no roads for cars to travel on. There are quite a few temples and museums on the island for you to explore. We recommend a visit to Wat Poramaiyikawat, which has Mon architecture and a reclining pagoda near the pier. The temple has a museum next door which displays items like votive tablets, crystal ware and porcelain. There is another museum on the island called Kwan Aman Pottery Museum, which exhibits a number of ancient Mon-designed ceramics. Another highlight is the local market which has stalls selling pottery, handmade decorative items, local products and a variety of food including local dishes like tod mun nor kala and Mon-style khao chae. Get a drink here and it’ll be served in pottery that you can take home with you.

 

Koh Kham, Chonburi

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Located further from Pattaya, south of Sattahip, Koh Kham is a 61-rai H-shape island set 9km from the shore and it takes about 20 minutes by boat to get there. Under the management of the Royal Thai Navy (tinyurl.com/kr5fmzh, 038-422-170), the serene island is well preserved and only open for ecotourism from November to April, 9am-4pm on Sat-Sun and public holidays. Visitors are not allowed to stay on the island so you can only spend a day out there and catch the boat back at either 1pm or 4pm. Though it’s close to Pattaya, Koh Kham has nice white sandy beaches, clear sea water, abundant coral reefs and a number of species of underwater creatures. With its unspoiled nature, the island was announced a marine national park in 1993. Activities you can do here include snorkeling, coral reef viewing from a glass-bottom boat, swimming in the sea off the island’s northern beach and exploring the island’s rich nature. Note that the island is limited to 300 visitors per day and there are rules you have to follow like no touching or walking on coral reefs and you are not allowed to take anything from the island. There’s no restaurant so you have to bring your own food, and make sure to take all rubbish back with you.

 

Wat Niwet Thammaprawat on an island in Chao Phraya River, Ayutthaya

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Set on an island in Chao Phraya River, Wat Niwet Thammaprawat is very unique in its architecture and the way you get there. After your visit to the nearby Bang Pa-In Palace, you can get to the temple on a cabin-sala ride across the river. Yes, it’s not a typical cabin car. You have to ring the bell so a few monks on the other side can pull your cabin, which is in fact a Thai pavilion, flying you across the river to the temple. The excitement doesn’t end there. Once you get to the temple, you’ll be greeted by architecture which was built in the reign of King Rama V with the aim to replica European cathedral architecture and design. Drawing inspiration from gothic art, the temple features decorative glass in many bright colours. A peaceful trip that’s also rich in history.

 

Koh Singto, Hua Hin

Hua Hin-lovers must have seen this island before. Set 800 meters off Khao Takiab Beach and Suanson Pathipat, Koh Singto (literally translated as Lion Island) has a shape that from a distance looks like a crouching lion. You can get to the island by hiring a fishing boat at the fishermen’s village in Khao Takiab. The journey should take about 40 minutes and the activities you can do there include fishing, snorkeling and swimming. The island has a very small beach for you to chill out on, but there is no accommodation so you can’t spend a night there. The sea water is not always clear so it’s best to ask the local fishermen about condistions when you get there. But if you like fishing and snorkeling and are looking to have a small adventure near Hua Hin, it makes for an easy option.

 

Source – http://bk.asia-city.com/travel/news/six-islands-close-bangkok

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