Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand is no doubt one of the most beautiful places the country has to offer. Covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, majestic limestone mountains and breathtaking lakes, Khao Sok is more than a national park. With an area of 739 square km, there are a plethora of things to discover. The beautiful Cheow Lan Lake with its floating raft houses is something we had heard about for years and finally decided to visit a few months ago.
Stunning view of Cheow Lan Lake from up the road leading to the pier.
Situated in the heart of the national park, Cheow Lan Lake is the main attraction, and while many people choose to stay over at one of the floating resorts, we just visited the lake during the day. Located in the province of Surat Thani (home to Koh Samui and Koh Phangan) the park is easily accessible from Krabi, Phuket, and Khao Lak.
A longtail boat cost 1,200 baht no matter how many passengers there are. My wife and I wanted to go ourselves and just had to accept the price. And since this is a national park, I as a foreigner had to pay an entrance fee of 300 baht.
The boat ride offers some fantastic scenery of limestone mountains, tropical trees, and beautiful waters ranging in color from blue to emerald green. The huge 185 square km lake is actually an artificial lake (also known as Rajjaprabha Dam) established in 1987. Our skipper told us that his family was one of several hundred that were resettled during the one-year flooding of this area as a multi-purpose project for power generation, flood control, irrigation, and fishery.
The famous ‘three sisters’ rock formation.
Perhaps the most famous spot in the entire Khao Sok National Park is the ‘three sisters’ rock formation.
Our longtail boat cruising through the limestone mountains.
Many visitors are fascinated by the different color of the waters, and I believe it’s the minerals from all the limestone causing this.
An eagle spotted in Cheow Lan Lake.
When we slowly entered a lagoon-like part, my wife with super eyesight suddenly got excited pointing at a branch telling me an eagle is sitting there. I couldn’t see the damn bird, so I zoomed and clicked the shutter in a hurry. But the eagle, which I think is a grey-headed fish eagle, came out of focus before it flew away.
Where to stay
We passed several floating resorts, and one I would love to stay at is the Panvaree Resort surrounded by amazing colored water.
How to go
Located 3 hours from Phuket, 2 hours from Krabi and a little over an hour from Surat Thani Airport, it’s easy to go to Khao Sok National Park’s Cheow Lan Lake. If you’re not driving yourself as we did, there are airport transfers from all three destinations mentioned above. There are also plenty of tours to choose from, and I recommend that you check out this link.