Have you ever imagined that in Thailand, we can find many places decorated with European themes? This time, we are going to share about this beautiful place we found in Khao Yai area called Thames Valley. A little introduction first, Khao Yai itself is an area famous as National Park, which is located in Nakhon Ratchashima province of Thailand. Khao Yai is a beautiful place with lots of mountains, greens, and most importantly, fresh air. Thailand is currently in rainy season right now, luckily the weather was pretty nice during our visit because it was quite windy but not too strong, although it was actually hotter than what I expected from mountain area.
It took us about almost 4 hours to reach Thames Valley with car from Bangkok. Yes, it is a long journey but once you arrive in Khao Yai, you’ll feel that it is worth every kilometer. 😉 It was actually my first time visiting Khao Yai and I was very impressed with the smooth the roads are in Thailand. Even you go further away from Bangkok, the roads to outskirts are always very good and the journey become much easier and convenient.
So, back to Thames Valley. Located in Pak Chong district, this building caught our attention when we were driving towards our destination, another attraction in the neighborhood (will post that in another blog post soon, so stay tuned!). Thames Valley is actually a hotel, with a touch of English village elements decorating the complex. From outside, the monochrome European style building stands out so much and it is difficult not to turn our heads (and car, literally) to stop by.
Since Thames Valley has hotel and restaurant area, the entrance to these two areas are separated. When we entered the complex, the security staff asked the purpose of our visit first then lead us the way to parking spot in front of the restaurant area. The hotel entrance area is surrounded by beautiful garden, complete with a small maze, it can be fun for kids but the pathway is simply too narrow for adults.
From the outside, this tall gray stone building was the first thing that caught our attentions. After we parked our car near the restaurant entrance area, we had to climb some stairs to enter the restaurant area. The Castle Restaurant & Tearoom is the main restaurant in Thames Valley, opens for the hotel guests as well as public from 7AM to 10.30PM everyday.
The Castle is divided into many rooms, the first area is the restaurant, a spacious room with high ceiling, stone walls, large glass windows, and beautiful European-style furniture that made me forgetting where I was that time. Everything inside the room screams Europe and I just couldn’t believe that I was *actually* somewhere in South East Asia. The décor is simply wonderful and every spot looks like the best spot for taking pictures!
There were nobody in that restaurant during our visit because apparently, they only use this area for dinner. Other than dinner time, guests are referred to the Tearoom, which is located downstairs.
Not only the glass windows make the room looks even more sophisticated and elegant, the view we can enjoy through those windows are just DIVINE! The garden area in the center successfully represents what we can see in English village or countryside, surrounded by the hotel and villa buildings, complete with a small bridge over water that I believe is meant to resemble River Thames in Southern England.
While the restaurant area has this casual fine dining style, the Tearoom is definitely a place where I choose to spend longer time at. It’s pretty, it’s chic, and it’s super comfortable. Honestly, taking pictures there is almost effortless because the place itself is already a great prop and background, not to mention the generous exposure of natural lights, heaven!
You know, I don’t even want to write anything long here on this post because I believe pictures speak thousand words and this place is so beautiful you better enjoy it with your eyes. Hopefully our photos can convey the message perfectly that this place is such a beauty you can’t even describe in words!
Since it was past lunch time already and we just had ours somewhere before coming here, we only ordered few desserts and tea there. The Castle uses TWG tea for their menu, and also collaborated with them to create their own signature blends. We opted for Thames Garden Set (THB 250), which includes their signature cake and Thames Garden Tea.
Thames Garden Set THB 250
For the cake, it is basically a stack of biscuit puff filled with custard cream and slices of fresh fruits like strawberries and blueberries. I personally like the cake for its presentation, but honestly it also tasted quite good especially because everything was fresh. Accompanying the cake, there was also a green macaron filled with thick cream and tasted like something pistachio.
Included in the set is Thames Garden Tea, which is the most recommended tea selection if you wanna try their signature blend which you can only find here in Thames Valley. The tea has a faint yellow color, quite fragrant but I don’t really like the dominant lipstick taste in it.
Crispy Toast Cha Thai Sauce THB 120
When in Thailand, I always take the opportunity to order anything Thai Tea whenever I see something related to it in the menu. Crispy toast might not be something new, but if it’s drenched in Thai Tea sauce, that’s a different story for me. Turned out that this was one of the best decisions ever, because the toast was so good! Toasted with butter, the bread was fragrant and crispy in the outside, while still maintaining its softness in the center. The sauce was intriguing, although not so sweet like usual Thai Milk Tea drink, but this was absolutely delicious.
Rose Boudoir Tea THB 200
A tea that I can recommend is this one, with a super fragrant, rosy aroma that blows your mind away, the taste really came out beautifully too. It makes 3 of my 5 senses (eyes, nose, tongue) happy!
Although initially we thought that the F&B price here would be so expensive because of the place (hotel’s restaurant), in fact the prices are so affordable and are much cheaper than typical restaurants like this in Jakarta. For example, the prices for the food menu (mains and desserts) range from THB 120 to 300 only, which means about IDR 36,000 to 120,000 only. Most restaurants with beautiful décor in Jakarta have higher prices than this, and the food are rarely good. XD
I wish I knew about this place earlier so I could stay for a night or two there, but there is always a next time. Thames Valley seems like an ideal place to relax and enjoy our holiday, not to mention that every inch of the complex is so beautiful and can be a great spot for taking photos. We experienced only good things here, from good surroundings, friendly and caring staffs, and good food. If you happen to visit Khao Yai area, don’t forget to stop by. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates from Thailand! <333
Currency Rate: THB 1 = +/- IDR 400 = +/- USD 0.028
** This review is written based on our visit on 12 July 2016.