3 Days / 2 Nights Khao Sok Adventure
Amidst the heights of the rainy season, 4 American friends and I embarked on an exciting Khao Sok and Private Cheow Lan Lake Tour. The Private Overnight Tour was expected to hold adventure and thrilling wildlife encounters, all within a 3 Day 2 Night program. We decided to participate in the Wildlife Explorer program run by Our Jungle Camp in Khao Sok in late June. Our Jungle Camp, as one of the well-known Eco Resorts in Khao Sok Town, seemed to be aligned with our Sustainability and Eco Requirements and been very responsive via our extensive E-Mail requests and communications.
We arrived in the late afternoon from Phuket Airport to Khao Sok upon arrival, we checked into our Tree House accommodation. And used the time after to explore the vast property and organic farm. On the first night, we decided to join the hotel´s 2.5 hour Night Safari, which takes you from about 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm into the pitch-black Khao Sok National Park. Usually National Park fees are excluded of all tour arrangements, but taking the Night Safari before any Full Day- or Overnight Lake Trip will protect you from paying the entrance fee twice. I wasn´t too excited being on many day hikes before the departure. Still, once we passed the lights of the closeby located town and into the dark of the certainly alive rain forest. All my senses lid up as we caught sleeping Langur Monkeys, various Geckos, Lizard’s and Spiders illuminated from the beam of our flashlights. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable as he explained all the details about the briefly spotted Slow Loris in a clump of river bamboo. We returned overly satisfied, but keep in mind, you need to have dinner before your departure as the kitchen might be closed upon your return to Camp.
We fell asleep to the sound of the river and cicadas and only woke in the morning to see the Macaque Monkey´s playing on the river’s edge. All of us felt very grounded and connected from the close relationship we had already developed with nature. We made it to the raised Jungle Restaurant upon its opening time at 7:30 am, where we had a more than filling vegetarian breakfast and fresh coffee. Afterwards we packed and separated our bags and got ready to embark on the highlight of our Khao Sok trip, the visit of Cheow Lan Lake, and the more profound explorations of Khao Sok National Park.
We met our Guide P´Tim at the Our Jungle Camp reception, where she explained the long history and significance of the vast, yet man-made estuary. We could all sense that she been nearly as excited as ourselves to join us on our Wildlife Explorer Tour to Klong Seang Wildlife Sanctuary. We departed at around 9:00 am by Mini Van to Ban Ta Khun and Cheow Lan Lake Pier, where we arrived after a short local market pit stop to stock up on snacks and supplies. Once we arrived at the pier, we started to comprehend the sheer size of Limestone Karst Mountains, surrounding the vastness of the lake, in awe we boarded our boat at around 10:30 am. Our private guide told us about the “Guilin of Thailand” or “Three Kings” the most famous landmark of Khao Sok Lake. Which we were about to visit en route Klong Seang Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the most remote parts of the lake. The journey took a good 2 hours on the longtail boat and was filled with awestruck cliff and forest views and slight torrential rains, which not really darkened our moods.
We arrived at the Klong Yee Raft House within Klong Seang Wildlife Sanctuary at around noon. Where we got friendly greeted by the Wildlife Sanctuary Rangers, who also helped us with our luggage and guided us to our basic Bamboo rooms. We knew that accommodation can be simple on the lake, but that was not the reason we came to this remote place on earth. On a side note, our guide and Our Jungle Camp mentioned about other more superior and luxurious Raft Houses not too far located. Well prepared to accommodate families and more demanding lake visitors, especially suitable for guests, looking for longer self-guided Canoeing adventures.
But here we have been having lunch out of nowhere in a small wooden shag amongst forest rangers, precisely the experience we have been looking for. The raft house lunch was very well prepared and consisted out of deep-fried fish, stir-fried vegetables, green curry, and a plate of mixed fruit as dessert. After the filling lunch, we all retired into the available hammocks and napped for a good 2 hours with nature sounds around us.
We woke at 4 pm, decided to skip the offered Long Tail Boat Safari to instead embark with the available canoes. Throughout the surrounding narrower channels on the lookout for the in the more refreshing afternoon sun, more active wildlife. And oh boy did we got lucky, only minutes from the Floating Accommodation did we encounter a wild elephant playing on the water’s edge. The male individual not even seemed to be bothered by our group and slowly returned into the forest after posing over 30 minutes for our cameras. As we continued, the weather turned back towards heavy rain. However, we still managed to spot various wild deer (Mouse Deer and Barking Deer) and monkeys (Macaques, Langurs, and Gibbons) at the riverbanks. We returned to the Floating Bungalows, satisfied and soaked close to sunset at around 6:00 pm. With such an exciting day behind us, we vacuumed in our local Thai dinner before calling it a night as early as 9:00 pm.
With the sufficient amount of sleep and a surprisingly replenishing night in such an open environment, we all arose along with the beautiful sunrise at around 5:30 am. Cheow Lan Lake was showing itself in the best light, with moving clouds hovering over the waters and mountain ranges in front of our swimming bungalows. After an early coffee, breakfast, and an array of landscape photography, we boarded the boat once more to embark on a morning Mist Safari with ensuing sanctuary hike. With us on the ship was our accompanying Sanctuary Ranger, carrying an automatic rifle, which indicates the seriousness and possibilities for more significant wildlife encounters.
For our next visit and for anyone wanting to do fishing, we would recommend to bring your own gear or rent a rod at the Lake Pier. We have met an array of Thai and Malay Fishermen at the Raft House. Who explained that this part of the lake is considered the best area for Fly and Spin Fishing in Southern Asia.
The weather stayed pretty rainy throughout the whole morning and afternoon. But nonetheless, did we continue to observe some of the pristine Wildlife Khao Sok National Park and the Klong Seang Wildlife Sanctuary has to offer. From Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Monitor Lizards, Gibbons, and Wild Pig. We have been fortunate, considering the general prevailing weather conditions. After we returned to our raft house, we had a quick last swim in the lake, before we checked out and boarded the longtail boat once more towards the Cheow Lan Lake Pier in Ban Ta Khun. Where we arrived tired but satisfied in the later afternoon at around 2:30 pm. We decided to continue via Private Mini Van to Krabi as this was the most convenient form of transport to the otherwise a little inaccessible Krabi / Railay Beach Route. We thank Our Jungle Camp in Khao Sok for organizing such a memorable experience.