First thought in mind is, who would have thought of building a restaurant out in the middle of no where? PB Valley Chiang Rai is full of surprises, much like their sister site in PB Valley Khao Yai that is now a famous location in the province of Nakhon Ratchasima. It looks like PB Valley Chiang Rai is set to follow in the same footsteps. The locatioon of PB Valley Chiang Rai is between Chiang Rai city and Mae Sai running along the Kok River. It is easier for you to follow directions on how to get there rather than depend on your GPS or Siri from your iPad that has a knack for taking you in a roundabout way! What would have taken us only half an hour took us almost 2 hours with Siri!
PB Valley in Chiang Rai is a stunning 5500 rai or the equivalent of 5500 football fields. This property has 7kms of the Kok River flowing through the property as well as the Northern mountain range at the foot of the property. Keep a watch out for PB Valley Chiang Rai which will be developing an exciting eco-tourism concept complete with resort and activities to match in the near future. Above is a dedicated shrine to the property which sits atop a hill overlooking the Kok River.
Meanwhile of interest here at PB Valley Chiang Rai is their famous Kasalong Restaurant which though in the middle of the property seems to be packed with diners during lunch hour. The drive in to the restaurant is pleasant with plenty of fruiting trees, beehives and flowering trees. The restaurant itself affords a splendid view of the Kok River and the hills. A familiar trademark of the PB Valley collection is the Great Hornbill trademark, a statue that proudly announces you have reached PB Valley properties.
The Kasalong Restaurant sits on the top of a slight knob of hill that gives you a clear sweeping view of the valley and is quite a sight during sunsets as I was told. Do not take my word for it but do go and experience it yourself and tell me about it!
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating patio so you can enjoy your meals in which ever setting you prefer. This restaurant also serves the perfect wine accompaniment from PB Valley Khao Yai winery which produces award winning wines of international acclaim. However, PB Valley Chiang Rai is not to be outdone and produces their own range of natural food products such as rice grains, lychee and longan products, mango jams, vegetables and sauce from their own organic fields. Everything here is a perfect symbiotic balance for good food, holistic alternatives and plenty of fresh air.
PB Valley Chiang Rai is open for enthusiastic campers who would like to indulge in camping and trekking activities along the Kok River side. They have a makeshift platform for the campers to have meals and feed the fishes in the river. A camping site is the alternative to a stay over at the facility until their resort is completed towards the end of the year. There are kayaking activities available and most popular times of the year for campers is during the Loy Krathong festival and colder times of the year from November to early January.
The Kasalong Restaurant exudes an air of relaxed and casual dining with natural wood interiors and full length windows to make the best use of the sunlight and sweeping views of the valley. Woven palm frond ceilings provide a village style ambiance, keeping the restaurant cool on hot days.
The wood log bar serves cocktails and PB Valley wines along with other alcoholic beverages and drinks for those who would like to enjoy a drink before dinner or to just ome over for casual meetings and drinks.
Customers flock to the Kasalong Restaurant at PB Valley Chiang Rai for their excellent selection of food. Specialities here are mostly local Northern Thai cuisine with the freshest ingredients from their farms and the local markets. Vegetables and fruits are all organic in origin and they also have a selection of fushion and western cuisine.
Their “Hor Mok” curry is excellent. It is a dish of thick curry like paste served with seafood and enriched with coconut milk, herbs and spices served in a coconut. It is excellent with hot steamed jasmine rice.
The deep fried fresh water fish is a house signature dish. Served with a mango sauce it is a delightful way to enjoy very fresh fish.
Other dishes we tried which is just as good is the slow cooked stewed pork knuckle in spices and the fried “Som Tum” or young papaya salad. These are typical Northern Thai cuisine and some of the more popular dishes here at the Kasalong Restaurant in PB Valley Chiang Rai.
The floating platform by the river affords you a good view of th restaurant and it is quite cooling as well as relaxing to just sit and admire the view or buy a bag of fish food and feed the numerous numbers of fresh water fish in the river.
There are fruit picking activities all year round at PB Valley Chiang Rai. You can have a choice of picking mangoes, longans, lychees, or starfruits at the orchards. For those of you who do not know (like typical city folk such as me) lychees grow on trees much like cherries. These fruits in such abundance here are made into juice, canned or made into liqueur. The ripe fruits have a succulent translucent meaty inside with one large seed. Lychee and longan picking season starts from May and lasts around 4 month before the end of the harvest season.
It is interesting to indulge in a fruit picking activity in Chiang Rai in the PB Valley Chiang Rai orchard as you can eat while picking them fresh from the trees. It is also a good activity for the family and a chance to be in the great outdoors. For me it is a first as I have never seen a lychee tree and thought all the while they grew in bushes but do not be surprised if kids nowadays think that these fruits come in cans not from trees!
I am looking forward to see more of the resort and village style concept that is in the plans for the future as this place would be interesting to visit again with more activities and workshops that one can indulge in as a eco holiday destination, as at the moment it is a day trip eco tour experience in Chiang Rai.