The fun doesn’t stop at Coco Kart & Bar with Motor Tracks as we drove two hours out of Bangkok to Khao Yai the next day for a day of adventure!
They asked me what I wanted to do in Thailand – sightseeing, temple visiting, shopping etc. They were pretty happy to take me anywhere! But I said I wanted adventure, so I left it to them to plan and surprise me.
Motor Tracks made their way to Khao Yai first, while Max and his family (wife and cute son) came to get me. I was editing a huge article that morning and ended up running an hour late!
Khao Yai is not your typical tourist place like Phuket or Pattaya, but it is more of a nature land and people go there for various outdoor activities ranging from education, camping, trekking, wildlife watching, bird watching, mountain biking and even river rafting. When I searched for Khao Yai on Google, I realised it’s referred to as a national park – isn’t that interesting? A whole huge town and it’s called a national park?
Anyway, somewhere inside Khao Yai is this artificially man-made Italian village called Palio Khao Yai Village Mall – that was the first place they took me to.
This isn’t the first Italian-themed attempt by the Thais as prior to Palio there was Primo Posto, an Italian-themed restaurant development that’s also located in Nakhon Ratchasima province (Khorat).
Primo Posto became an instant hit so the people behind Primo Posto decided to build an entire Italian-style village instead, teaming up with Juladis Khao Yai Resort & Spa. Basically the whole point about this is giving the people in Thailand a chance to experience Italian/European culture without having to fly hours out of the country.
Having travelled to Europe before (I did a 10-country tour of Europe in 15 days), I thought Palio was a genuinely good effort at imitating the Italian culture.. even the flooring looks right!
Because I was late, the Motor Tracks crew was waiting at a pub having a beer while waiting for me. Oops!
It’s a cosy bar with 101 types of beers from all over the world!
It’s the type of place I think I can laze around in all day…
Too bad I don’t drink alcohol at all so beer’s not my kind of thing either!
Here are more photos of Palio:
Ok not a very clear comparison, unless I pull out photos from that Europe trip, but you get the idea about the walls and floors. Man, recalling this particular Europe trip is a bittersweet memory – beautiful because I loved the places I visited, but painful because the person I went with on that trip has long exited my life.
There were some interesting shops there too…
The shop was closed but I peeped in and saw many condom-like chocolates and sweets. Too bad it was closed or I would have brought back some for you guys!
This Singha shop is cute too – it’s not so much a bar but rather, it sells all kinds of Singha merchandise!
There are notebooks, golf sets, toiletries, luggage bags and more. How interesting… We simply kept walking around browsing the shops and looking at the different types of shops. There’s even a 4D-MAX theatre screening some horror flick.
Then we came across this shop that sells interesting notebooks…
And look what I found at this shop:
Ok I don’t think I should be posting such things on my website and I’m sorry if it offends anyone or if anyone unauthorised is viewing this right now.
Moving on, there’s an inn with 10 bedrooms if you would like to stay a night or two.
After about two hours there, it was time to head for our next destination for the real adventure! A 10-minute drive away is The Greenery Resort
which is your typical resort and spa kind of place, but it also has something else – Life Park
, an adventure theme park.
There’s so much to do at Life Park – Kiddie rides like bumper boats, nano racing, everslide, blowing and archery; then for teenagers and adults there’s go-karting, BugXster Rally, ATVs, LaZer Combat and more.
Of course Motor Tracks wasn’t gonna put me on a kiddie ride… The plot for this segment of the show was to have Mai (remember him? one of the three hosts who interviewed me the day before) and me try 3 different challenges at Life Park.
The first thing they put us on was the GX-Swing. It’s similar to the GX-5 Swing at Clarke Quay where they take you upwards to about 60 metres, 90 degrees to the ground, before swinging you down at 120kph. It’s not the same as the reverse bungee that reaches 60 metres into the air and have you vertically up and down at over 200kph with G force 5.
I’ve never tried anything like this before and I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t even know I was gonna be taken up so high!
There we are sitting innocently, Mai with a Go Pro camera in his hand so he could record the entire thing of us up in the air.
The scariest part was when you kept being pulled upwards perpendicular to the ground and you have no idea when it was gonna stop. I was already leaning forward in my seat staring right at the ground 60 metres above, being held only by the soft belts.
After SLOWLY and TORTUROUSLY moving us up, we paused for a while and the suspense built up along with the fear. With no clue what was going to happen, suddenly we were launched forward and you should have heard me scream for my mother. (Sometimes I think if my parents know exactly what I do – like putting myself right at a rear clipping point at Formula Drift USA to get photos – they will ban me from motorsports.)
We were swung like a bloody pendulum and I just kept screaming. The fear ended after the first swing though; like I said, the scariest part was the part when we were bring brought up and the sudden launch.
The next challenge for Mai and I was this Zorb ball thing. Basically two of us got strapped into this giant inflatable ball and was pushed down a hill. I’ve seen it on TV but it looks nothing like what it is on TV man.
The challenge for this was to see who could stand up straight after being rolled down the hill. First we had to walk ourselves up the hill and Mai was complaining along the way about how he is a driver and not supposed to be subjected to such physical torture. LAZY!
Once inside the ball, I felt like I was in a sauna! Both of us were strapped within, facing each other and the moment the ball was pushed off the hill I burst into uncontrollable laughter.
There were times when Mai was ‘on top’ of me and times when I was ‘on top’ and he was groaning away when his body hit the ground. He was holding a Go Pro camera so he could film us inside and I can’t wait to see the footage; I bet it’s HILARIOUS.
Funnily enough, you actually get breathless from simply rolling down the hill! Or maybe because I was laughing too hard… I took quite a knock on my neck at one instance though; forgot to keep my neck tight.
I was still laughing even after the ball came to a stop; it was quite crazy!
I pretended to be all wobbly when I came out of the Zorb but actually I was fine, just a little breathless from that adrenalin rush. Mai on the other hand was genuinely exhausted and had to sit down.. so I win!
The third and last challenge was this 12-station three-storey obstacle course that demands some physical strength. We realised we should have made this the firs station – when we were still fresh and full of energy – instead of the last, but it didn’t really matter to me! I was game for anything! Come on! Mai was grumbling away again about how he is a driver and shouldn’t be doing all this funny exercises. LOL!
The helmet is really ugly! Wish I had my pretty helmet with me..
We couldn’t compete parallel to each other but had to go one after another, so the challenge was simply who took a shorter time to complete the obstacles.
Motor Tracks was asking me how I’m so fit and I attributed it to Bikram Yoga! They gave me skeptical looks when I told them that… It’s true. Go Google Bikram Yoga and you will see for yourself. I did it for 16 days consecutively and my body reaped so much benefits from it.. I will elaborate on Bikram Yoga some time soon ok?
That was the end of the filming for the day and also means the end of my Motor Tracks experience.
Bee wanted to buy us dinner so he took us all to Umm!.. Milk, this cattle ranch that serves milk so fresh you go “Ummm…” when you drink it. Lame? Haha! I didn’t try the milk but I tried the ice cream made from the milk and yes it was that good.
I took the Motor Tracks van to the dinner place so I could spend some time with them and they played their issue of the 2009 Formula Drift Singapore DVD, where Bee noticed me for the first time and secretly filmed me there. *blushes*
We had dinner there but no we couldn’t choose the cow that we wanted and watch it get slaughtered on the spot. Their menu had this chart to tell you which part of the cow to order:
Look at all the food we ordered:
Steak overload man! Guess which one I had? No, not the salad!! I had the sausages… Max was saying to me, “You come to a steakhouse and you order sausages?!” Well, the sausages were made from other parts of the cow that didn’t go into the steak right?
So… we hung around a bit more after dinner but as night fell we had to make our way back to Bangkok which was a 2-hour drive away. I was missing them already!
They gave me all the issues that had me in it – all the times I was secretly filmed – and we exchanged our goodbyes in the car park.
They are like a big family and I enjoyed my time with them. I look forward to meeting them again when I visit Thailand next…
Before I end off this post, I would like to give some attention to a special little one called Nong Vin!
He’s Max’s son and he’s just so adorable! Gonna be a real heartbreaker when he grows up man…
This little one was with us the entire day, watching me take on one challenge after another, patiently (at times impatiently) waiting for me to get on with the day. He can’t talk yet and just started walking only recently… The newest thing he learnt was to pucker up!
Both Max and Note have no idea where he picked it up from but he kept puckering up, as if he was about to kiss someone.
See? He keeps doing this – so cute! Max didn’t bring out a pram for him, but brought out Vin’s car instead. Yes he has a toddler-sized remote-controlled car that he can sit in so his parents can steer him along.
The car even has an in-built MP3 player which can blast out quite a loud tune on the move. Cool eh? He got it for his first birthday about a month back. So, I just wanna say thank you Vinny for being such a good sport and sorry if it got a bit boring watching this auntie here climb all over the place.
I’m missing my Thai ‘family’ a lot now and thank you so much for the great time! Now I can’t wait for Motor Tracks Intrend 77!!
Palio Khao Yai
Opens daily from 10 am to 10 pm
Tel: +66 (0)44 294 731
– From Bangkok, take Highway 2 (Mittraphap Road) to Pak Chong in Saraburi province. When you reach a major intersection where Highway 2 links up with route 2090 (Thanarat Road), keep left to get on to a bridge that will bear left, taking you on to route 2090. Continue along the road for about two kilometers and you’ll see Palio Khao Yai on your left.
Route 2 – From Bangkok, take Highway 2 (Mittraphap Road) to Pak Chong in Saraburi province. Make a u-turn at kilometre marker 144 and enter a small road near a store called Daily Home. This road passes many attractions along the way, including Primo Posto. After about 3.5 km, turn left and drive for another 500 meters. You’ll see Palio Khao Yai to your right.
Life Park Khao Yai
188/1 Thanarat Rd., Moo See, Pakchong, Nakornratchasima 30130, Thailand
Tel: +66 4429 7668
Fax: +66 4429 7226