Khao Sok floating bungalows in Khao Sok National Park, Surat Thani province is a fantastic place to visit in Thailand. Once you have marvelled at the temples in Bangkok and sampled the sunny beaches and islands of the south, you need a totally different change of scenery. A lovely boat ride from the main land is just a taster of the wonderful scenery in store for you. Watch as the mist floats across the lake and you peer up at the huge limestone mountains. You may feel like you’re in a Jurassic Park movie! Amazing wildlife and fascinating history make this place so unusual and enchanting.
Khao Sok National Park will take your breath away. It is the largest area of forest in Thailand and has an abundance of wildlife and breath taking nature. In fact it boasts more diversity and longitude than the Amazon rainforest! You will be sure to make many happy memories with your loved ones here. With epic adventures to be had in this tranquil and serene setting, it is an incredible way to recharge your batteries.
Khao Sok floating bungalows
For an authentically Thai experience you must spend a few nights in the Khao Sok floating bungalows. It makes for a simply blissful getaway. Electricity is provided for only a few hours in the evening by generator. Just enough time to enjoy your evening meal and then retire to your lovely but basic bungalow. Remember to bring a torch! You’ll be thankful for it on nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Nothing can be more refreshing than waking up and going for an early morning swim straight out of the door of your cosy bungalow. Kayaking is also highly recommended to catch the stunning sunrise and you might find it fun to bring your own inflatables too. Khao Sok floating bungalows are a great place for families and groups of friends. Read about this blogger’s memorable experience here. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served up by your hosts and consist of delicious yet simple traditional Thai foods. Fresh fish caught from the river, healthy soups and tasty curries will all make up your diet whilst on the trip.
There are no shops close to the bungalows so be sure to take plenty of sun cream, mosquito spray and snacks like cookies and crisps if you can’t live without them! It’s also a good idea to take your own supply of booze if you are planning to have a little tipple whilst there as there is unlikely to be very much on offer when you get there.
The cost of a bungalow will set you back around 700-900 baht per person per night including food. The boat trip there may set you back around 3,500 baht for a round trip but it’s totally worth it of course and can be shared out between your group.
A historical masterpiece
Before Cheow Lan Lake (also known as Rajjaprabha Dam Reservoir) was home to Khao Sok floating bungalows it had a different life altogether. 385 families of The Ban Chiew Lan village were rehoused and settled inland by The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) in 1982. EGAT decided to build the dam as a source of electricity for the south of Thailand which was becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination. They created the 165 square kilometer lake by flooding the area and blocking the Klong Saeng River. It took about one year to completely flood the area and they had to capture thousands of animals. They were moved by boat and helicopter to avoid being drowned or stranded without food on islands.
The area of Khao Sok itself dates back over millions of years, when tectonic plates shifted and reformed the land. Around 250 million years ago, pieces of limestone began to form. This established a coral reef that stretched from Borneo to China. It was thought to have been five times the size of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. When vast amounts of Ice melted at the end of the Ice Age, sea levels rose and the marine ecosystem was buried under more deposits of matter. Consequently resulting in a high pressure environment which forms the dazzling limestone rocks that we can appreciate now.
Walking with nature
Khao Sok is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world with around 200 types of foliage. These include; Rafflesia, fig tree, bamboo, banana and Dipterocarp Tree. The Rafflesia flower (known locally as Bua Phut) is a parasitic plant that produces the largest flower in the world. It can grow up to one meter in diameter. Due to its inability to photosynthesise it lives off the wild grape vine Tetrastigma. Its rotting, meaty smell attracts flies and beetles allowing it to pollinate and has given it the nickname, ‘Corpse Flower’. This gruesome but captivating bloom is rare but can be seen in January and February with a good tour guide.
Gigantochloa balui is a bamboo species usually only found in Borneo. It can be seen here in Khao Sok and is a testament to the ancient history of the region. Bamboo is an important material used in Thailand. It is home to around 40 of the 1200 types that are found in the world.
Khao Sok is home to many magnificent creatures, with around 48 species of mammals alone. There is the aardvark like pangolin, Malayan sun bear and shy mouse deer to name but a few. Gibbons swing freely from the trees in most parts of the forest. You may not be able to see them but you will certainly hear them from the Khao Sok floating bungalows! You may even be lucky enough to wake up to their calls at sunrise. Avid bird watchers will be excited to know that there are over 300 different species of birds in this rainforest. The ashy drongo, the blue-winged pitta and the crimson sun bird have all been spotted here.
Adventures in wonderland
A trek to one of the many beautiful waterfalls in the park is a must for your trip! The Sip Ed Chun waterfall is always fun. Your bungalow hosts will be happy to arrange a tour for you. Remember to take trainers or hiking shoes. There are also many interesting caves just waiting to be discovered such as The Nam Taloo Cave. You will need a qualified guide to take you into the cave but this should be provided as part of your trek experience.
The Khao Sok River is a great place to kayak or try tubing and bamboo rafting too. This is the perfect chance to take in some of the spectacular nature that the park offers, with wild elephants, monkeys, snakes and lizards often seen on the journey. You may also spot a slice of local life, with village folk catching fish, washing clothes and collecting water to drink on the banks of the river.
The nearby elephant sanctuary, Elephant Hills is a fabulous place to stay and meets our requirements for treating elephants with the love and respect they deserve. The rainforest camp boasts 35 luxury tents with real beds and en suite bathrooms all made with natural materials. Thai cooking demonstrations are also available at the resort.
If scuba diving is your thing then Cheow Lan Lake is definitely a place you should go and explore. The history of the lake makes it a superb place to go diving as remnants of the old village can be seen far below the surface. Furthermore, you can discover many wonderful relics such as old trees, colossal caves and sea life that has survived the transition.
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