02 Mar Visiting Monsoon Valley Vineyard, Thailand
This was my favourite place amongst all the places to visit in Hua Hin. Hua Hin is still great, with a lot to do, but you don’t get to see a lot of vineyards. In fact, tropical vineyards and tropical wines are a very new concept. Anyway, visiting Monsoon Valley Vineyard was a nice experience for me. And if you are looking for something offbeat to do in Hua Hin, you should check this out.
Travelling to Hua Hin? Check out our blog on the Best Places to visit in Hua Hin, Thailand
Where is Monsoon Valley Vineyard
Monsoon Valley Vineyard is around 36km from Hua Hin towards the west. This will take you out of the city and deep into the countryside.
At some point in time, you may even wonder if it’s the right way. The drive takes up around 45 mins. The roads are not that great at several points so if it’s raining be extra careful.
How to reach Monsoon Valley Vineyard
Self-drive: If you are up for some time on the road, you can easily take this journey by yourself on either motorbike or a car that you can rent in Hua Hin city. The scenery of the countryside is beautiful.
The roads are easy to navigate, some parts are in need of repair. So if you are travelling by motorbike, be a little more careful. Also, get better helmets than what most rental shops give you initially. The drive can be uncomfortable on very hot days so try to start your journey in the cooler hours of the day.
Taxi: Taxis are easily available from Hua Hin city. You can check out any tour operator or your hotel reception for taxi rates and options. The cost for a full-day trip would be around THB 1800 and THB 1200 for a half-day round trip.
On a regular day, I think a half-day should suffice on the vineyard and you can use the rest of the day at other attractions in Hua Hin. But on days with special events like grape picking, stomping etc, the tour may take longer.
Day tour: A lot of day-tour packages in Hua Hin include Monsoon Valley Vineyard in their itinerary. You can either pick theirs or request them for a customized tour. I think a day tour is pretty convenient since it fits in a lot of places in a day and takes care of the transportation. This is a good option if you are tight on time or looking for some company.
The downside is that the time here can feel rushed and you may not be able to spend as much time as you wanted in the area. So try to choose a tour that has this place as the main highlight and does not include several tourist attractions that need a lot of travel.
Ticket Costs and Timings
Monsoon Valley Vineyard Ticket Cost: The regular price per person to enter the vineyard is THB 200. But you get this money in the form of food coupons that you can redeem at the restaurant for food and wine.
There is an additional cost of the vineyard tour of THB 100 per person that you can pay there after you register yourself for the next upcoming tour of the day. If you wish to meet the elephants (inside their premises), you can pay THB 300 and join that particular tour.
Monsoon Valley Vineyard Timings: The vineyard is open from 9 am to 6.30 pm every day of the week.
There are several tours of the vineyard every day that starts at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. The tours at 11 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm also take you to meet the elephants that they shelter.
What to do in Monsoon Valley Vineyard
1. Taste their wine at the restaurant
Let me be blatantly clear to start with. I know NOTHING about wines. I love drinking them, and I can tell which ones I like or not, but I know zilch about this complex world of wines, notes and aroma. But if you do, you will probably get a lot more out of the place than I do.
Unfortunately, when I visited, serving alcohol was still not allowed due to covid restrictions. But in normal times you can order from a wide selection of wines. Instead, we got a HUGE glass of fancy soda water that did look cute. Check it out!
They offer several wines along with food platters of great combinations that would work well if you want to taste several wines at one go. Then, if you like anyone, you can buy it from the counter right next to the cashier. Although, I am not sure if you get any discount on it. I found the food menu to be very elegant too.
If you don’t consume alcohol, there are options with grape juice and mocktails too. Although you do get to taste complimentary grape juice after the tour.
2. Take a Vineyard Tour
Now if you have booked for a tour with them (which you definitely should), you can hop on their cute little bus with an oak barrel on top. One of the stewards from the restaurant accompanied us on the tour. Apparently, they are multi-talented and know a lot about wines too.
The tour takes you across the vineyard and you see how the layout of the whole place is done. The plantations are divided as per grape variety and more details about the grapes are written on a small post just before each plantation.
We visited in February and I think it is one of the best months to be there. The grapes were just getting ripe and you can see a lot of green unripened grapes hanging from the vines. Our guide showed us how they are watered and how the plantations are rotated after a few harvests and left barren for the soil quality to return.
He also told us about the challenges, one of being infested with monkeys who love to steal the grapes. After the tour, you return back to the restaurant for a complimentary serving of grape juice (or wine during regular time, I don’t know really).
3. Ride a Bicycle
If you have been to a few vineyards before or are not so interested in the theory, you can also rent a bike here and explore the vineyard on your own. The bikes are available right at the entrance of the restaurant.
They had recently introduced a scavenge hunt where you can check-in at 5 different check-in points in the vineyard across 3km of trail. If you do so, you can claim a small gift when you are back. I didn’t try it out, but it sounded fun. Although I will still avoid it on a hot day during the noon hours.
The charges for renting a bike are THB 100 for 30 mins and THB 150 for 60 mins.
4. Interact with the elephants
In 2020, the vineyard launched the Ban Khok Chang Elephant Sanctuary inside their premises to protect and shelter elephants. They also take in elephants from the city and give them a sanctuary close to their natural habitat. You can spot the sanctuary on the left side when you enter.
If you wish to spend some time with them, you can join in one of the tours (see timings above). They partnered with an organization that helped them create a safe place for both tourists and elephants and you can enjoy this interaction with your kids too. You get a fruit basket to feed them, while the bathing timings are 11 am, 12 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm.
5. Pick and Stomp Grapes
One of the highlights of the year, you can participate in picking and stomping the grapes during the harvesting season. This will take place in March named the ‘Harvest Festival’, while the exact dates differ each year. You can probably find the upcoming details on their website.
This also includes a wine tour and grape wax making. After the stomping, you can try out different wines yourself and understand the difference in their types and quality if you already don’t know.
If you are visiting during the weekend, there are also a few food stalls (just starters) and live music from 4 pm to 8 pm and you can sit and enjoy it under the open sky.
6. Take part in their special lunches and celebration
Okay, now I have told you about the harvest festival, but there are also some activities that take place all year round. The vineyard also organizes special lunches for occasions like Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Day, Christmas and many more.
I also came across their Argentinian barbeque, bottle painting session, monthly specialities on their food menu and even a jeep safari with 3-course meal. If you would be interested to take part in any of these activities, you can follow their facebook page.
Best time to visit Monsoon Valley Vineyard
I feel that the best time to visit this vineyard would be between January – March when the grapes start to develop fruits in January and the harvesting takes place in March. You can still find some activities and plantations taking place from October onwards. But usually, after the harvesting, there is a lull period and you may be disappointed to see the plantations.
Since January – March is usually hot months in Thailand, try and visit the vineyard either early or in the second half of the day or the heat of the day can spoil the experience. Cloudy days are great for a visit (until it rains).
Places to visit on the way
Now if you are planning for a full day from Hua Hin, you may as well also include a few other stops. I am listing down a few other points that you can stop by on your way or while returning back.
1. Khao Hin Lek Fai
This is a viewpoint, just a little west of Hua Hin that gives a fantastic aerial view of the town. The point is motorable all the way up to the top. The 6 different viewpoints on the top give a glimpse of 6 slightly different views of the city extending to the seashore and the horizon.
2. Wat Huay Mongkol
A popular temple in Thailand, the place is dedicated to a monk named Luang Phor Thua who is renowned all over Thailand for his supernatural powers. A lot of people turn to him to pray for favours, good luck, health, fortune and happiness.
3. Artists Village
It’s a small space on the way to the vineyard that looks like a community for local artists to come together and make a lot of exquisite art. The place also organizes public workshops that everyone can participate in. Or you can just hang around in the several shops and watch the local artists paint their hearts out and buy something you like