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A New Destination in Thailand’s Evergreen Mountains



In the rolling emerald hills spilling out of Thailand’s first national park, InterContinental Khao Yai Resort has newly opened its doors to the world. It was a long voyage to fruition, but we now welcome guests from around the world to share in an inviting journey into this splendid natural sanctuary.

We are proudly a gateway to discovery, and Khao Yai remains one of Thailand’s hidden gems – a landscape of evergreen mountains, fresh and verdant valleys, tropical waterfalls and fertile hillsides and fields. It is some of the most beautiful natural terrain in Southeast Asia, and we are excited to help you connect with the many splendid treasures in the region we call home.

intercontinental khao yai resort train station reception area

InterContinental Khao Yai Resort opened its doors in September 2022.

khao yai forest landscape with blue mountain backdrop

The Khao Yai landscape has inspired visitors for centuries.

InterContinental Khao Yai Resort rests amidst a lush tropical landscape of numerous lakes and abundant trees. The grounds are also home to rare native wildlife – like exotic hornbills – as well as an enormous botanical garden.

Our chief architect, the award-winning American designer Bill Bensley, is also a noted conservationist, and he was careful not to damage any trees during construction. Better still, his team imported and planted several massive 100-year-old trees on our grounds.

The Botanical Gardens are a world unto themselves, and can be toured with InterContinental Khao Yai Resort’s head gardener. They are a horticulturist’s dream, with more than 30 species of trees, hundreds of types of plants, and resident wildlife like white squirrels, koi and trademark swans.

The greatest gem, of course, lies just beyond our outer gates – Khao Yai National Park, and its staggering 2,100 sq km of evergreen grasslands and mountainous rainforests.

It is one of Southern Asia’s largest national parks, and in 2005, it was also added to a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Compex, which includes more than 1.5 million continuous acres.

heo suwat waterfall in khao yai thailand

Khao Yai National Park is also part of a UNESCO world heritage site.

swan lake at intercontinental khao yai resort

Our botanical gardens have more than 30 species of trees.

The InterContinental brand’s unrivalled heritage of cultivation continues in the surrounding region. The resort offers tour experiences in the nearby national park, as well as excursions and day trips to small adjacent communities, historic sites and cultural attractions.

These authentic opportunities to explore include wine tasting and cycling, tours of farms, orchards and traditional herb producers, visits to mountain top temples and historic train stations, tours built around local legends and customs, and multiple guided excursions into the vibrant wilderness.

Local Farms

The Khao Yai corridor is one of the most fertile and verdant regions in Southeast Asia. It is a land of rolling hills, shade-swept orchards, lush fields and long roads backed by misty mountain horizons.

Among the local treasures found here are world-class grapes and wine, 100% pure natural honey, and rare yellow dragon fruit. All these natural products combine the best of farming and agriculture techniques, with landscapes rich in fertile soil, pure spring water and abundant sunshine.

The Khao Yai region is awash in tropical flowers – on trees, bushes, shrubs, vines and in colorful groves – and the Asiatic honey bee is one of the healthiest species native to Khao Yai National Park. Thus, some of the purest and most flavorful honey in Thailand can be found in the region.

Perhaps the rarest local treasure is yellow dragon fruit. Most species are red or pink, but Khao Yai is one of the few regions where the golden variety grows. InterContinental Khao Yai Resort’s own organic farm has orchards of cactus trees blossoming with these special fruit. 

Grapes are another local delicacy in Khao Yai. The lush rolling hillsides, cool mountain temperatures and abundant sun make the region ideally-suited for vineyards. Khao Yai is one of only two regions in Thailand capable of growing multiple varieties of world-class grapes. A dedicated wine tasting trail is already growing here to match demand.

yellow dragon fruit on a wooden tray

Khao Yai is home to a rare species of yellow dragon fruit.

black opal grapes in a vineyard in khao yai thailand

Many vineyards call the region home.

Local People

Local culture and life are incredibly deep-rooted in Khao Yai. Traditional livelihoods here stretch back thousands of years, and the connection to nature today remains as strong as ever.

Incredibly, descendants of Khao Yai’s original native inhabitants still reside in the area. The indigenous Tha Maprang community continues to live now as then; keeping its relationship to its ancestors strong.

Tha Maprang is the perfect place to learn about local stories and ancient cultural legends in the Khao Yai region. The people are courteous and friendly, and proud of their way of life – even as they develop new ways to live harmoniously with their natural inheritance. Today, the community’s connection to the land has grown from gardens and orchards to organic farms and sustainable agriculture projects. 

Merit making is yet another way to experience a deep and meaningful connection to the timeless history in Khao Yai. Tha Maprang is home to an ancient shrine beloved by the local community, and the local region has a wealth of beautiful temples.

Buddhism is a core tenet of life in Thailand, and one of the most famous local landmarks in Khao Yai is Wat Thep Phithak Punnaram. The temple is located on a scenic mountaintop; providing brilliant panoramic views of the countryside in a peaceful pastoral setting.

Food is another important pillar of local culture, and it takes on an array of forms in Khao Yai – from farm fields and streams, to dinner tables and fresh markets.

Ban Tha Chang is an exemplary Khao Yai community in this regard. It is a food lover’s dream, and locally renowned for its many small-scale community enterprises. A variety of culinary classics – including snacks, dishes, fruit and desserts – can be taste-tested while walking through the traditional markets of Ban Tha Chang.

For a more modern slice of local life, the Khlong Phai Railway Station is one of the most unique historical structures in the region. The station is now over a century old, and was originally built during the reign of King Rama V, as the endpoint on the Eastern Line. The monarch was the first Siamese ruler to visit Europe, and developed the national rail system – which more than 100 years later became the inspiration for the architecture at InterContinental Khao Yai Resort.

buddha statue at wat thep phitak punnaram thailand

Buddhism is an important element of local life.

two fistfuls of fresh pulled carrots

Organic farming is growing rapidly in Khao Yai.

Local Life

Authentic elements of culture live on in the Khao Yai region today. In addition to communities like Ban Tha Chang and Tha Maprang, traditional sciences, crafts and outdoor sporting activities are still a vital part of local life.

One example is the Thai Herbal House – where, as the name suggests, an array of specialised herbs are grown and cultivated, and then processed into traditional medicines and balms. It is effectively an ancient pharmacy, still alive and thriving today, and it remains a landmark example of the health and wisdom of a traditional and natural way of life.

Aromatics and incense are another type of local product which is still made in Khao Yai using traditional techniques. Making fragrant incense from natural ingredients remains a popular way of life for many in the region. 

Another cornerstone of local life is Khao Yai’s system of waterways. The many rivers and streams flowing down out of the mountains are the lifeblood of much of the traditional culture nearby.

One of the most inspiring vistas in the area is the viewpoint at Lam Takhong dam. The valley’s refreshing open air, abundant green scenery and mountain backdrops make it an ideal place to take a walk or relax – and it remains one of the best spots in Khao Yai to watch a sunset.

Further along the river, smoother stretches of the waterway are perfect for kayaking. The smooth and gently flowing portions meander and drift through scenic orchards, groves and small villages.

One of the most picture-perfect natural gems nearby is the Ban Tha Chang natural spring. The crystal clear spring is cut like an all-natural swimming pool. It glows with a brilliant shade of turquoise, and is beloved by locals and international guests alike.

For an insightful look at 21st century stewardship of the waters and land, conservation-themed tours in and around Khao Yai National Park are quite popular. These educational opportunities explore community efforts and NGO programmes which continue to grow and develop the relationship between local communities and the beautiful natural landscape.

Many conservation tours are led by local professionals who are natives of the region. These guides are walking treasure troves of wildlife viewing points, park history, and hidden scenic spots. 

herbal spra compresses mor massage in thailand

The Thai Herbal House specialises in rare natural products.

windmill panorama with green forest and blue horizon

Lam Takhong dam was built under Thailand's King Rama IX.

Our Recommendations

To get a true taste of the region, InterContinental Khao Yai Resort has a compiled a short list of some of our favorite community-based activities.

(1) Sample a culinary specialty made with local ingredients – One of our favourites is a trademark dessert with yellow dragon fruit from InterContinental’s organic farm, topped with fresh Khao Yai honey from a neighbouring farm.

(2) Khao Yai Life and Legends Tour – Exploring with a guide is a great way to gain insight into the local community. This cultural tour is built around an immersion experience in Tha Maprang. It features a cycling tour of local village farms, chances to sample seasonal fruit, merit making at the Chao Por Khao Yai shrine, and a craft workshop where guests can learn to make fragrant kaffir incense. The tour also includes a trip to Khun Ngaem’s Organic Farm. The sustainable agriculture project is one of the finest in the Khao Yai region, and was inspired by King Rama IX’s sufficiency economy philosophy. 

(3) Join our staff on a morning cycling trip – Our GM leads a regular morning bike trip to Wat Makut Kiri Wan. The mountaintop temple is less than 5 km away, making the excursion roughly 10 km roundtrip – typically between 1-2 hours. The InterContinental Khao Yai Resort crew typically leads the group ride three times per week.