The big trip

Trip of the week: an idyllic escape from Bangkok

This escape to the lush fringes of the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand offers an array of bohemian delights

For all the cultural and culinary treats the city offers, a few days in Bangkok is liable to leave you feeling frazzled. So it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the more peaceful destinations that lie nearby, says Lee Cobaj in National Geographic Traveller.

The city’s beau monde escape to the lush fringes of the Khao Yai National Park, 50 miles away, and it now offers an array of bohemian delights to cater to their tastes. “Spliced” between the rice paddies and fruit farms, you will find art galleries, organic cafés, boutique hotels and more.

Stay if you can at Roukh Kiri Khao Yai, where the 12 villas have “pared-back” cream-and-teak interiors and private pools. Visit the excellent 129 Art Museum, and the GranMonte Vineyard, one of a handful of wineries defying the area’s intense tropical climate; and venture into the rainforest of Khao Yai itself, where rangers will help you spot a host of rare creatures, including wild Asian elephants, flying lorises, and oriental pied hornbills, with their enormous banana-like beaks.

On the way back to Bangkok, make a detour to Ayutthaya, one of Asia’s most spectacular archaeological sites. The capital of Siam between the 14th and 18th centuries, it was home to a million people at its height, and its “resplendent” ruins – including palaces, temples (above) and gargantuan statues – stretch across a square mile around the Chao Phraya River.

Nearby is the 19th century palace of King Rama V, a “fairytale” sight. Stay at Sala Bang Pa-In, a pleasant riverside hotel, and eat out in the town around the ruins; its restaurants were showered with more Bib Gourmand awards than Bangkok in the 2022 Michelin Guide

InsideAsia (insideasiatours.com) has a seven-night trip from £1,272pp, incl. flights.

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