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Overnight Lake Tour in Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park, Koh Lipe, and Bangkok in 9 Days – Day 3

Khao Sok National Park is one of my favorite national parks in Thailand. It is a great place to go for vacation. Jungle trekking on foot, river canoeing, river tubing, boating on the lake, overnight lake tour, etc. are all possible activities that will give you the experience of a lifetime. Cheow Lan Lake or Ratchaprapha Dam is one of the most interesting areas in Khao Sok. Boat tours to the lake can be done in a day. You would be taken to Cheow Lan Lake by aircon minivan. Later, a boat will take you around the lake and to your accommodation on the lake. The tour includes trekking, exploring cave, and spotting different flora and fauna of the rainforest, and return to the national park in the evening. But it is highly recommended to do spend a night in floating raft houses or luxury tents on the lake.

Highlights of the Day

  • Transfer to the Dam
  • Boat Tour
  • Overnight Stay in Floating Lake House

Transfer to the Pier

Breakfast was included with our stay. We enjoyed the meal in their restaurant.

We stayed in signature view tents in Khao Sok Boutique Camps. It is one of the best places to stay in Khao Sok National Park. The view from the private balcony is amazing. The  morning was blessed with cold weather and misty surroundings.

Morning view

In the morning, the view was serene and it seemed that I could almost touch the surrounding mountains through the morning mist

We had booked our boat tour with overnight stay in the lake with Khao Sok Smiley Bungalow and Lake House. The tour includes pick-up from your accommodation in Khao Sok. Moreover, it also includes boat tours in the evening and next day morning. Plus, there is overnight stay in floating house. Also, lunch and dinner on the first day and breakfast and lunch on the second day are included. Furthermore, you would be also dropped to the pier. You can also do the tour independently if you are on budget. However, organized tours are highly recommended if you are on time constraint like us.

We were picked up from our accommodation at around 8 AM by aiconditioned minivan. First, we were taken to Ta Khun city, which is 40 km away from the boutique camps. There was a 20-min stop in front of 7/11, a convenient store. You can purchase anything you need for the 2-day tour. Note you may need sunscreen cream, bugspray, snacks, or anything. Later, the minivan drove for another 20 min to reach the pier of Ratchaprapha Dam.

Pier at Ratchaprapha Dam

We reached the pier at around 9.30 AM

Overnight Lake Tour

We purchased the entrance ticket of Khao Sok National Park for 350 ฿ per person. We boarded the boat at around 10 AM, which took an hour to reach the floating lake houses.

Towering limestone cliffs emerging out of the lake

Cheow Lan Lake is a spectacular man-made lake, famous for its towering limestone cliffs and stunning views

On the way to the floating lake house

The lake was created in 1982 by an enormous shale-clay dam called Ratchaprapha – it was formed by the damming and flooding of a valley of dense rainforest

More pictures of the lake

The lake covers an area of 185 sq.km. and is between 40-90 m deep

Smiley lake houses on the lake

The boat took around an hour to reach the floating lake houses

At Smiley Lake House

The staff at Smiley Lake House were warm and welcoming – they asked us to join for lunch after getting fresh in an hour

We reached the lake house at around 11 AM. There are different types of lake houses – we got three basic floating houses with big beds inside, enough for 6 of us.

Inside the floating lake house

The room inside the floating lake house was wooden, spacious, and comfortable

Private bathroom inside the lake house

While many floating houses have a common bathroom to use, Smiley Lake House has an added advantage of providing private bathrooms inside each lake house

Kayaks for free with each floating lake house

Each lake house has a kayak for guests to use for free

We got fresh in an hour. Lunch was ready, so we hogged in nicely. We also had a great kayaking time post lunch.

Lunch served at the lake house

Buffet lunch was arranged at 12 PM – if you are a vegan like me, you need to mention your food choice prior via email while booking

Vegan food served at the lake house

For vegan options, there was rice, two types of delicious Thai curries, and fruits as well

Free kayaking in the lake

Unlimited free usage of kayaking was the best part of the stay – we kayaked for hours

Kayak in the lake

We got the chance to kayak as much as we wanted before we were called for the evening boat safari

At 5 PM, we were asked to join the evening boat safari. Few of my friends joined the tour, while the others chose to relax by the lake after kayaking for hours.

Beautiful surroundings of the lake

Boating on it offers impressive landscape, with jungle covered mountains and towering limestone emerging from the turquoise waters

The rainforest is partly tropical evergreen forest and partly tropical rainforest. It houses different types of flora and fauna.

There are approximately 200 different floral species found here per hectare, making it one of the most bio-diverse areas. Buttress roots, rafflesia, pitcher plant, coconut palm, banana, and bamboo are among the most common species of flora seen here. Khao Sok National Park is home to many assiduous, beautiful and truly amazing animals. The animal kingdom is more diverse with around 50 mammal species like majestic wild elephants, swinging gibbons, etc., more than 300 different species of birds including hornbill, kingfisher, etc., more than 30 species of bats and countless reptiles and insects, which also includes the Jewel Beetles.

Sunset in Cheow Lan Lake

We came across few different species of gibbons and birds, but the most beautiful part of the evening safari was the sunset.

It was a beautiful day. After we were back, we got some free time before dinner was served at 7 PM. Post-dinner, we relaxed by the lake, played games among ourselves, and chatted for hours.

Khao Sok National Park, Koh Lipe, and Bangkok in 9 Days – Day 4

Khao Sok National Park and the surrounding parks offer quite a few different trekking possibilities for people of all ages and abilities. However, jungle trekking on foot and exploring caves in the tropical rainforest with a knowledgeable local guide are highly recommended activities in Khao Sok National Park. You can choose a day-long jungle trekking or do it as a part of the overnight lake tour like we did. Our lake tour included trek to the Nam Talu Cave – one of the most beautiful caves of the area made of stalactites and stalagmites.

Highlights of the Day

  • Trek to Nam Talu Cave
  • Transfer to Pak Bara

Trekking to Nam Talu Cave

There was a morning boat safari at around 6.30 AM which all of us missed as we slept off late, and preferred to sleep late.

Sunrise in the lake

I did not miss waking up for a while to catch this beautiful sunrise scene by the lake

Breakfast was served at 8 AM, which included vegetarian pad thai – Thai noodles, and also bread, jam, and fruits. We had to check-out from our respective floating rooms and keep all our luggage in a separate room. At 9 AM, we boarded the longtail boat that would take us to the trekking area.

Floating bamboo huts on the lake

We crossed a line of floating bamboo huts – accommodation like this is basic and cheap, with shared toilet facility

Halt at ranger station for 5 min

Our boat stopped at Klong Pae Ranger Station for a while to do few formalities before taking us to the trekking area

On the way to trekking zone

Huge vegetation can be seen in the sides of the lake while we kept approaching to the trekking area

Treks leave from various places throughout the area and along the length of the parks, including but not restricted to the National Park Headquarters. The longtail boat was anchored at a corner of the rainforest where we got down to explore the wondrous jungle. We had two local guides accompanying us to the trek.

Map for trekking in the rainforest

The trek to Nam Talu Cave from where we were dropped was 2.5 km away and the round-trip would take not less than 2 h

Trekking in the rainforest

An easy walk took us through the rainforest to a wide swimming hole with a small waterfall above it

Posing in front of buttress roots

Many trees in the rainforest adapt themselves so their roots grow near the ground surface in order to get the nutrients it needs to grow – this leads to the formation of buttress roots – a common sight in rainforest

Near the entrance of the Nam Talu Cave

Nam Talu Cave is the most beautiful yet a little dangerous cave as it has water flowing inside all year around along with the beautiful formation of stalactite and stalagmite rocks – so it is to be explored only under the guidance of a local guide

Posing in front of the Nam Talu Cave

We were asked not to bring any valuables in the trek, for those who carried mobile phones, they submitted all of them to our guides who kept them safe inside his dry bag before we got inside the cave

We were provided head torches though it is recommended to bring your own. Also make sure you wear proper anti-slippery trek-friendly shoes.

It was not an easy trek inside the cave. We had to walk very carefully inside the cave while following the footsteps of the guide, as the rocks were slippery because of continuous water flowing. We had another guide at the back of the crowd making sure every one is following the guide at the front and no one is lost inside the cave.

The stalactite and stalagmite formations inside the cave was marvelous. However, I could not click photos. This is because our cameras and mobile phones were inside the dry bag with the guides. At certain places inside the cave, there was water almost as deep as 1.5-2 m, which seemed difficult for those who did not know how to swim, but guides were very kind to help them so they could take support of the shoulders of the guide and others who know swimming and cross the water-filled areas. It was very adventurous and exciting. As we got out, we found a natural swimming pool where we played for a while before getting ready to trek back the way to the boat.

On the way back from the cave

We spotted few flying gibbons and wild flora on the way back to the boat

We arrived at the lake house at around 1 PM. Without wasting any time, we freshened up quickly in the room where we were asked to keep luggage before leaving for the trekking tour. We joined others for buffet lunch. Our boat departed at around 2.30 PM from the lake house to reach the pier of the dam.

Transfer to Pak Bara

The next leg of our trip includes stay at Koh Lipe, which is located in Satun province in the deep south of Thailand. It is accessible from Pak Bara pier, which is around 360 km away from the pier of Ratchaprapha Dam or Cheow Lan Lake. We had booked a private minivan transfer with the same company – Khao Sok Smiley Bungalow and Lake House – from Khao Sok pier to Pak Bara pier. It took almost 6 hours to reach the hotel at Pak Bara.

Dinner on the way to Pak Bara

Our van made a dinner stop somewhere close to Pak Bara, where we enjoyed lovely Malaysian noodles and clear vegetable soup, and also posed with the humble owner of the restaurant who took care of our vegan food choices

At around 10 PM, the van dropped us at Farmsuk Residence and Resort. The hotel is only 15-min ride away from the pier. We had booked online three double-bed rooms in the hotel. It is just for a night stay so we can get to the pier to catch our ferry to Koh Lipe the next day.

Interior of bedroom

The bedroom was well-equipped with comortable bed, refrigerator, air-condition, and water-heater, and free WiFi

Attached private bathroom

There was a clean private bathroom attached to each of our rooms

Me and kitty

Wherever I go, I find a cat to pose with!

We had a comfortable stay there. The owner was more than friendly. He was up for us even when we checked in so late. He led us to our rooms and helped with our luggage too. We had a short yet beautiful in that warm and cozy resort at Pak Bara. I highly recommend this place for a night-stay before you take your onward journey to Koh Lipe.

NET EXPENSE FOR 1 PERSON (IN THB)

Let us have a look at the expenses of Days 3-4 in Thailand – Khao Sok National Park.

  • Overnight lake tour (1 night): 4500
  • Entrance fee of Khao Sok National Park: 350
  • Khao Sok to Pak Bara: 1500
  • Hotel in Pak Bara for twin sharing (1 night): 500
  • Food: 100

Total expense (roughly): 6950 THB

For an overall idea of itinerary and expense of the trip, whether for solo or couple or group of any number of people, feel free to contact me on Contact Us page. You can also have a look at Khao Sok National Park, Koh Lipe, and Bangkok in 9 Days – Itinerary and Expenses.

If you are planning for a much-organized, tastefully-curated, stress-free yet exciting vacation, consider booking your holidays at Travel Love Repeat. It is going to be a treat for sure!