Friday, December 27, 2013

The Thailand Winter Getaway Series Part 2: Camp @ Farm Chokchai ฟาร์มโชคชัย

My first tent in 20 years.

I was 13 when I slept for my first and only time in a tent. It was in Sentosa (Singapore) during a mid-year school camp. I remember clearly how I fought with some of my classmates over the concept of our Talentime performance (which managed to win the big prize), and also how my first and only sleep in a tent was a muddy flooded one as torrential rain poured over our campsite and we had to move into a huge hall in the middle of the night. It was really a case of 'been there done that' for me.

Camp @ Farm Chokchai!

It took me 20 more years before embarking on my 2nd and definitely not my last camping expedition. Part of me wanted to do something unique with Li Li and Noah, the rest of me gave full trust to what Farm Chokchai is capable of, bearing in mind the excellence of their agro-tour and how much we loved their fresh milk ice-cream, surely they will not charge campers 3500THB per tent per night and give us a disappointing experience right? So here's to share some highlights of our stay as well as give a few pointers to make your stay a better one:

1. A 'real' camping experience

One thing Chokchai did perfectly was to give their campers a 'real' camping experience. We slept in tents pitched close to each other, surrounded by greenery, with no TV and a need to use a communal toilet. Why I emphasised 'real' in inverted commas is because there is enough in the tent to free campers from all worries bar the bitter cold (12degrees Celsius) which the in-tent air-conditioning cannot do anything about.

Bath robe, insect repellant, torch, umbrellas, towels, toiletries, laundry bag, ice box with drinks, even air-conditioning
A bed! Not the most comfortable bed, but still, a bed in the tent!

Writing table, lamp, mirror, tissue. No TV, which is brilliant

Noah playing high-5 with mummy, not caring that he was trapped outside in the cold
Time to wake up!
View of the campsite in the day

How long since we had a couple pic like this?

2. Answering nature's call nature's way

No one will leave Camp@ Farm Chokchai without mentioning their toilets.

I have finally found the toilet.

What the?! Where's the toilet bowl and how can I do my business when the toilet isn't complete?
Ok, it's complete, it's meant for us to answer the call of nature in the nature.
The view while you're sitting on your throne.
Doesn't get much better during your shower as well
Even though we trusted the level of privacy in this open concept, we ultimately did not take our showers, because in temperatures as low as 12 degrees Celsius, it would be freezing cold to bathe under such circumstances.

3. Burgers over steaks, and lay your hands off their pasta

There's breakfast included in the package, but if you are looking for something to eat at other times of the day, I have some advice. Many would be drawn to the famous Chokchai steakhouse, but having eaten there before, I can conclude that their steaks are generally not worth the price. Their pork chops are pretty good value, and please lay your hands off their grossly overcooked pastas.

Instead, there is something that Chokchai does pretty well, their burgers (only available in the day).

Totally loving it
At 150THB for their original steakburger (pork/beef) with full option (cheese, caramelized onion and bacon), this makes the best meal in the entire Farm Chokchai facility, particularly if you wash it down with their excellent dairy drinks.

4. Plan your stay to be before or after Farm Chokchai's agro-tour

I am not going to spend too much time here as I have written a pretty detailed piece on this a few years ago and nothing much has changed since. But it simply means that the award-winning family-friendly tour is still worth going, especially if you have kids with you. This camping experience will work perfectly with the farm tour, besides, what's the point of camping here if you do not know anything about the farm itself?

Noah did not feed the deer himself, but he got very very close to them

5. Immerse your children in the fun!

Noah really enjoyed himself during the trip

Our 2-day-1-night trip to the 2 farms was a huge success, largely thanks to the magnificent weather and the angelic behaviour of Noah, who honestly had the power to totally destroy the trip if he wanted to. I have heard of parents who prefer to leave their little babies and toddlers at home until they are older and are able to remember their vacations. I beg to differ. We have been bringing Noah out since he was 4 months' old and he has enjoyed himself every single time. Of course, there is always an element of risk that a little baby might spoil the mood of a leisure trip (on top of the added amount of packing required), but his exposure to the fresh sights and sounds is better than any lesson we can give him at home.

Dancing with his hat in the tent

So, while the cold winter will still be here for a few days yet, where shall we go next?

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