Meet the Bangkok high-flyer who found her ideal retreat in Khao Yai

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Prestige and outstanding natural beauty combined

Thomthong Tantikijrungruang
Thomthong Tantikijrungruang

Perfection is difficult to attain in any circumstance, and that’s especially true when it comes to finding a dream home. And for high-flying Bangkok businesswomen and socialite Thomthong Tantikijrungruang the acceptance of something that fell short of her exacting requirements was never in question when she set about expanding her property portfolio near Khao Yai National Park, an idyllic expanse of forest and grassland northeast of Thailand’s capital Bangkok.

“I was in no particular rush,” recalls Thomthong, who is the president of Vatana Phaisal Engineering. “Khao Yai had appealed to me for many years for a variety of reasons, so I knew that I was going to either construct or purchase a property. However, when I first started looking at the existing developments up there, nothing satisfied my requirements. Either the projects were too big or there were too many units crammed too close together, or the architecture and interiors weren’t quite right or the location of the property didn’t have the right atmosphere.”

Creston Hills
Creston Hills

With existing developments at the cool, airy jungle retreat — located around 2.5hours from Bangkok — not quite tickling her fancy, Thomthong was in the process of scouting out suitable plots on which to construct when serendipity pointed her in the direction of The Creston Hills, one of the newest and most luxurious real estate projects in Khao Yai.

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“I was at an event and the son of one of my friends approached me. He had heard that I was looking to do something up in Khao Yai and he urged me to take a look at Creston Hills. For me, construction of an entirely new place was not an ideal option. There’s the headache of overseeing plans and I’d also be up and down the highway between Bangkok and Khao Yai on a regular basis doing site inspections. I’m a busy women, both with my work and with my leisure time so when I saw what was on offer at Creston Hills, I knew that it was right for me.”

Located in a prime spot at the entrance to Khao Yai National Park, a vast wilderness of rugged peaks, roaring waterfalls and beautiful forest harbouring a healthy population of exotic wildlife, Creston Hills is staking its claim as the most prestigious address in the area.

Creston Hills is surrounded by spectacular natural beauty
Creston Hills is surrounded by spectacular natural beauty

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The brainchild of rookie developer Jinin “Lek” Trakansubkun, whose company Phupobfa is behind the endeavour, the project has positioned itself at the very pinnacle of the real estate market in the area. It consists of a total land area of 199 rai (79 acres) surrounded by lush forested hills. With a vision of creating a compact and warm community for families, over 99 rai (39 acres) of the total land area has been divided into 57 residential plots while a large central lake fed by natural spring water from the river commands 31 rai (12 acres).

Key features of the development include the American-style architecture – a major contrast with the Europhile tendencies on show at other projects in Khao Yai – and the attention to detail displayed in the sumptuous interiors of the units and their thoughtful and luxurious trimmings. Units come with private swimming pools, smart-home technology and powder rooms. Owners, meanwhile, can count on round-the-clock security and CCTV, ensuring the ultimate in privacy and safety.

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A uniquely Thai touch of the development is the presence in every unit of a meditation room. Thomthong, however, has alternative plans for this space. “I’ve been looking at ways in which to turn it into my wine cellar,” she laughs. “I’m a very social person and I love to throw parties and my place at Creston Hills is perfect for that.

The property has fantastic public areas both indoors and outdoors and there’s a cool breeze from the mountains even on the hottest of summer nights. My friends love coming here to visit and I really enjoy hosting.”

Plenty of space for entertaining guests
Plenty of space for entertaining guests

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Of course, her new home’s suitability for social occasions was far from the only thing that drew Thomthong to Creston Hills. A long time visitor to Khao Yai, she waxes poetic on the area’s combination of natural beauty and contemporary conveniences such as top-class restaurants and shopping. Another major attraction for the avid golfer is the area’s excellent selection of courses, which include some of the most acclaimed layouts in Thailand.

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“In many ways Khao Yai has it all,” she tells us. “And what is so great about it is that it will continue to get better and better. It is already very convenient to access from Bangkok, but the planned new motorway will make it even easier to travel there and back to.

“I see Creston Hills as a fantastic investment. I know that it is at the higher end of the price range, but Khao Yai will continue to be a hugely desirable area and I’ve managed to secure a property that showcases the very best of the location. I could not be happier.”

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is a Bangkok-based writer who has spent the past six years living and working in Southeast Asia. He regularly contributes to a variety of online and print publications including BBC, Esquire and Travel + Leisure