If you are looking for something truly unique in terms of adventure, sightseeing and food while on your way to the Khaoyai area, the Baan Mai Chay Nam restaurant, resort and museum is worth a stop.
Located mid-way between Bangkok city and Khaoyai, getting there is a little tricky as there are not many road signs in English and the turn is quite obscured and easily missed. However, if you do manage to find the place, the food of typical Thai cuisine is average but the view and museum is stunning.
The restaurant is located next to the riverside with a view of a small waterfall a little further down and the entire restaurant, resort and museum is constructed out of teakwood. You have to walk a few flights of stairs down to the restaurant but even on the hottest day it is shady and a cooling respite from the heat.
Unfortunately the food quality is not so consistent but reasonably priced. Typical Thai cuisine includes duck curry, fried fish with herbs and sauce, Tom Yum soup dishes and off course typical Isaan somtum are offered. To get the best in food and service quality is to go during off-peak times, so that means avoiding it during the holiday and weekend times.
I have not had the opportunity to check on the resort offerings but in truth, the highlight of Baan Mai Chay Nam is the private museum of collectibles by the owner of the place. One can see that there is a great fascination for all things antique and unusual in this museum and of no particular theme.
Figurines seems to be a personal favorite and from the collection of everything from old Disney toy figures to the new Marvel superheroes can be found here including some very prized Betty Boop figures.
A life-sized Lara Croft figure from Tomb Raider the movie greets you at the entrance alongside some of the larger Betty Boop, Superman and Spiderman figurines.
In the shelves are also some rare battery-operated tin toys that are at least fifty years old. There are also old Hornby trains and Dinky cars which most of those born in the 50s to 70s will remember. Vintage signboards are also on display along with the odd brick-bat collectibles. You could spend a good hour just looking at all these items but they are not for sale and the collection grows steadily over time with more items acquired as the owner finds them on his trips.
Baan Mai Chay Nam is a great off-road adventure tour in Thailand on the drive towards Khaoyai in Nakhon Ratchasima and offers a unique stopover to rest and relax before you continue on your journey. It also makes a wonderful distraction if you are traveling with kids or you have a fascination for Betty Boop collections!