A TRIP to Europe too expensive for you? No problem, you can have something close enough at Palio at Khai Yai, home of Thailand's Little Italy village mall.
Khao Yai, located two hours away from Bangkok, has a lazy countryside feel to it. The green and brown mountains were covered in mist from after the rain, people chilling outside their huts or walking their elephants by the side of the road. It certainly was a one-of-a-kind experience!
What caught my attention about Khao Yai besides its stunning countryside scenery, was its Little Tuscany themed-mall, Palio, which has a yellow-and-orange European architectural style to it, lined with narrow streets.
Palio attracts tourists and locals alike, who regularly pay a visit to Khao Yai for weekend getaways, a local friend told me. Right at the entrance of the village mall, visitors were greeted by a large sign, saying "Visit Europe every weekend at Khao Yai".
The sign kept its every word. I was not disappointed one bit when I walked through the walkway and into the Palio Khao Yai.
The small village mall was filled with shops offering a range of services such as bakeries, restaurants, beauty parlours and an art gallery with strong European influence to the architecture and goods sold. Best of all, it is THE place to find great vintage collections of clothes and accessories. There were even shops offering a variety of rare collections of the British royal family memorabilia, porcelain ornaments as well as popular superhero collectibles.
The first store I visited was packed with pictures of the British royal family, paintings, tea sets and trays, decorative items and trinkets...complete with an elderly lady sewing in a rocking chair, which conjured the image of a cottage in the English countryside.
One of my favourite stores is one that sold a collection of different cameras, films and camera gears...down right to the really old cameras from the 1950s. It looks almost like a mini camera museum.
The Piazza Palio has a few fancy restaurants where customers can take a break after a long shopping trip. I loved the chill ambience outside the restaurants where customers can sit down and enjoy their drinks while sitting in the beanbags outside. If you're a hardcore shopper and love to be on-the-go, there are small shops all around the main shopping area offering food and drinks for visitors, who opt for convenience.
Palio isn't just a shopping heaven for shopaholics it's an wonderful place for photo opportunities. Visitors come in groups or families just to capture shots of them posing at one of the narrow streets in front of the shops, or with European-inspired statues and fountains to bring home as memories.
The small village mall caters to everyone's interests fine diners, foodies, collectors, fashion enthusiasts and even photographers. It's no wonder the place is always filled with people from all walks of life.
Travelling isn't about buying as many goods as possible because you can't find back home, but rather it's to create memories that you can treasure for a lifetime. Although I was all for the vintage goods found everywhere, it was the charming atmosphere of Palio and the people I was travelling with that gave me such a great impression of the tiny village-mall.
Palio Khao Yai presented such an scrupulous reproduction of an Italian village in every way from the buildings to the statues to the ambience. At one point, I had even forgotten that I was in Thailand!
The Brunei Times
Sunday, January 29, 2012
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