Cheow Lan lake, the most amazing place in all Thailand!
During my first and second visit to Khao Sok National Park, I realized the dream I had for such a long time, I visited the Cheow Lan lake, the most fascinating place in all Thailand.
I choose ”Our Jungle Camp” resort for my stay in Khao Sok National Park, all because I wanted to live first-person and 24/7 the feel of being inside the Khao Sok rain forest. The resort was also my starting point for the day tours I had to the lake, full-day adventures that completely blew my mind, as I would have never expected such beauty from a freshwater lake.
How long does it take from Khao Sok National Park resorts to Cheow Lan lake?
The drive was with a very nice minivan and took about 45 minutes. I went once also with the scooter and honestly, the experience was another level. as I said in another post before, the road 401 cuts through, in the middle of Khao Sok National Park and the Khlong Phanom National Park. The view you will experience driving a scooter is simply unrepeatable, and there is nothing that compares to this spectacle, it is just a unique place on earth!
Where to stop on the route?
On the way to reach the Ratchaprapha Marina and the Ratchaprapha Dam Parking, you will pass also by the small town of Ban Ta Khun, so you will always have a choice of snack, a stop to a 7/11, maybe to by fresh drinks or the usual mosquito repellant. A nice fresh market near 7/11 also offers many snacks and fresh fruit smoothies!
There are banks, ATM machines, little shops, and a mall, a market, gas stations, all you can need is here at your last stop, before turning left on the road 3062, crossing the Phum Duang River, to enter the Ratchaprapha Dam protected area. Actually, in this road, there is also some little stores but I suggest you stop before in Ta Khun is you need to buy anything before your day on the lake.
Just arrived at the Ratchaprapha Marina and the emerald green waters of the lake will welcome you with all its splendor. Either way, you will use a full day tour or you will go by yourself at the lake, you will be parking at Ratchaprapha Dam Parking lot and visit the kiosk at the Marina, to pay the admission fee that is per person 300 Thai Baht which will include also caves of the Lake, which are part of the park.
Now you just need to jump on the long tail motorboat and go!
My Cheow Lan lake tour
The lake is paradise on earth, so lucky we still have places like this on earth, the incredible part comes to mind when you think this lake did not even exist before the Dam was built!
And the best part is that this full-day tour could just be st up entirely by the resort, and there are not many words that can describe this experience, this is the place I will never ever forget, and I still dream to visit again!
Even while you are on the boat you can feel the breeze and listen all the sound of the jungle, the blowing of the cicadas and all the various sound of the tropical birds. Such a big part of the magical feeling I had visiting the lake, is that I was there the first time in August, kind of a low season for the area, and still, this was by far the most spectacular trip I had in Thailand, with almost nobody else around on the lake, just occasional very small groups passing by.
After we saw with the guide all the most scenic spots around the lake, we went straight to the floating bungalows.
”Just to remind you, my day included traveling beyond the Gui Lin viewpoint, boasting thought a lot of those limestone karsts for the best pictures at the most scenic points, hike on level terrains. Here is actually the home of Pra Kay Petch cave and Diamond cave, caves that host many bats and are among the finest to see stalactites and stalagmites.”
First of all! How does the Cheow Lan Lake look like?
As you can see the Lake is formed with different waterways (Klongs in Thai). Let’s see how they differ from one another.
Klong Ka is the first you see when traveling by boat as it is the closest to the Ratchaprabha pier. If you chose to tour to this Kling, and may to stay overnight here, you can reach easier the mesmerizing Gui Lin viewpoint, you can take a boat to see many of the jutting limestone karsts. The surrounding is mostly on flat terrain, enveloped by mountains. This Klong is also the home of Pra Kay Petch cave, many call it the Diamond cave. This cave is one of the best in the park and home of really many bats.
Klong Pey is two hours out of Ratchaprabha pier. Below you’ll discover some of the finest trekking across the road to Nam Talu cave (January — April only). Journeys for this enormous, nearly 1km cave are usually made at nighttime when nocturnal lifestyle is aplenty. Having a headlamp strapped to a forehead, dab through waist-deep water from the cave keeping a lookout for nightly traffic like spiders, snakes, and crabs. The valley surrounding the cave has a fascinating history as it had been used as a refuge for foot soldiers and communists.
Klong Yee is distant and secluded and falls over the wildlife refuge, together with its neighbor, Klong Wong. This implies that it includes abundant animal life contrary to a calm backdrop of jungle and water — perfect for kayak excursions and nature safaris. Another highlight is a stunning waterfall increase (April to December) and a stroll into the Krai Son view that overlooks a stunning valley.
Klong Saeng is Cheow Lan’s north-western waterway and has been Thailand’s biggest river ahead of the lake was created. It’s the longest excursion, almost 3 hours by ship, but so well worth it. This wildlife reserve demands special permission (and an additional fee). A park ranger will lead you in the natural riverine setting in which you’ve got a fantastic prospect of spotting wild deer and elephants.
Klong Mon is distinguishable from the numerous elevated hills and hills. This really is an excellent alternative for bird-watching using its calm rocky outcrops. Often seen here are Grey eagles and hornbills. There’s a trail from Klong Mon to Klong Saeng but you want to inform the Khao Sok park beforehand of this time as you have to be accompanied by a ranger.
Klong Mon is also a wonderful place if bait fishing is the game! Get your adrenaline pumping and then inquire about snakehead fishing. Three sorts of snakehead are plentiful in Khao Sok waters as well as the audiences of immersed trees create a superb labyrinth for all these predatory fish using their snake-like heads and sharp teeth. Other fish overriding in this area comprise jungle deserts, master and catfish. Cast-off out of a long-tail ship while the looks of this lake float around you, a memorable catch for anybody who loves fishing.
Klong Long is the most popular and most economical klong because of the rapid hike and raft trip to Coral cave (also referred to as Pakarang cave); boasting coral fossils more than 10 000 years old. Additionally, a 2.5-hour trek through the heavy jungle can direct you into the southern tip of this curve showcasing an impressive view.
The Cheow Lan lake floating resorts
The fairy-tale scenery filled with such tall limestone cliffs and well over 100 islands, continues as we approach at the raft house. The combination of unbelievable scenery, swimming in the freshwaters, the wilderness, means Khao Sok Lake is just incredible from every point you will see it. Does not really matter the raft house you will be at, as you will be every time surrounded by this cinematic jungle natural show. You could be coming here for photography opportunities, for the wildlife spotting, simply to relax, to feel the jungle, to watch the start in the evening if you will stay for the night! Either way, this place will live in your memories forever.
I want to make an important note here: and I quote the most respected local guides and operators when they say that every visitor ought to be ready for ailments that were less-than-perfect. The weather may be unpredictable rain may alter the itinerary, produce flaws, and also cancel the increase or boat excursion. Moreover, the remoteness of the lake indicates that medical aid is an hour off at the least. Guests must think about this remoteness when determining whether to get involved in jungle actions.
As we are here let’s see also a quick checklist reminder for everything you might prefer to bring along when you go tho the Cheow Larn Lake raft hoses:
- 300 Baht National Park Entrance Fee (150 for kids under 10);
- Sunscreen, hat, long sleeves to protect from mosquitos;
- Swimsuit Small bag for your clothing and other dry things;
- Headlamp or flashlight (if you go by your self if on a tour they will provide it for you);
- Hiking clothing, those can get really filthy if the ground is wet;
- Hiking shoes, tennis or running sneakers:
(as they can get really dirty, you will see later on I tell where I got the rubber trekking shoes at the trekking camp)
- Mosquito repellent for trekking;
- Extra clothing for your van ride back into Khao Sok; (it may get chilly with all the A/C on)
- Your towel, you will swim and enjoy the lake’s emerald water at the floating raft houses, so you will really need your beach towel.
Since its construction in 1987, Cheow Larn Lake has been undisturbed from the contamination that comes with industrialization and continues to ee retained shielded from the communities and Associations that appreciate its attractiveness. That is why also every raft house surroundings in well integrated into the National Park ecosystem, providing to all of us a beautiful feeling of cleanness, a deep contact with nature.
The perfect balance between an active holiday and a romantic getaway
Cheow Larn Lake is one of the many stunning elements that make up Khao Sok National Park.
What better way to connect with yourself, your new partner and the wonders of nature, all in one trip.
Just the accommodation in Khao Sok alone makes the park worthy of a visit. Where else can you enjoy the chorus of birdsong that comes from the rainforest as you wake in the morning, and end each day listening to the lullaby created by frogs and crickets? Staying on-site in local Khao Sok hotels will allow you to feel completely at one with your surroundings.
For overnight guests, the bamboo bungalows provide a very basic level of accommodation with shared bathrooms. Guests will sleep on thin mattresses, in a bungalow with thin walls and a few hours of electricity per night. Mosquito nets are not necessary on the lake (there are no mosquitoes on the water), and your bungalow may or may not have them. The bungalows do not include safes. Finally, the raft houses used on the joined lake tour are fully booked for many months of the year. As a result, it is likely that you will have neighbors.
As was for me, while you are sightseeing the most beautiful sections of the lake with the longtail boat, you will notice, there are in some spots, rows of bungalows, which are also fantastic opportunities for unique pictures, as they are reflecting serenely in the lake water.
The bungalows you can choose for overnight they might differ a bit, but overall they will all give you the same experience of enjoying the lake swimming, the kayaks, the sunset and the deep dark of the lake’s nights, waking up at the sunrise with the multiple sounds of the birds and of the gibbon monkeys
At every raft house, you can enjoy the restaurant to taste the local Thai dishes, fresh seafood, fresh vegetables. In your free time, grab a kayak and explore the remote Cheow Lan Lake on your own.
My favorite, the Plern Prai Raft House, resort and restaurant.
Plern Prai Raft House is just at halfway up on the Klong Long, is really simple to reach and very visible, which means also that it has incredible 360 degrees lake and karsts view! Here you will see you have a choice of a traditional style and a modern style bungalow. I personally choose this raft house because from here is very easy to arrive at the trekking trail that can lead you to the Bamboo rafting and the Coral Cave. If you are lucky as I was, you will also have some occasional mobile reception.
Smiley Floating Bungalows
Smiley Floating Bungalows is located at the entry into Klong Pey and can be owned and run by one of the families in Khao Sok. Their amenities include modern bungalows, many of which have private baths, and a restaurant offering Thai cuisine. Close to Nam Talu cave and Klong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary.
More info on the Khao Sok Lake
The area that’s Cheow Larn lake has a very long history, starting from the Carboniferous Period, 345-280 million decades back. At this moment, sediments in the Shan-Thai landmass stuffed a deep-sea basin. Because of this, a warm, shallow sea together of requirements ideal for a coral reef has been formed.
From roughly 280-225 million decades back, a large coral reef extending from China to Borneo thrived. This is the basis for its Permian limestone now that is visible in the kind of Karst mountains. Finally, more crimson buried this world, along with the strain exerted coral skeletons and other calcifying lifeforms into limestone.
Magma from deep inside the earth’s mantel bubbled up putting the cherry After concealed. Afterward, compounds in the magma combined with water and other compounds in the present limestone, forming a nutrient coating full of tin and tungsten. This coating drew miners into Khao Sok from the thousands throughout the 1970s.
Throughout the Cenozoic Period, 0-66 million decades before, the Indian tectonic plate collided with the Eurasian plate, forming the Himalayas. At precisely exactly the exact identical time, Thailand has been rotated clockwise and proceeded into the south-west since the Himalayas increased. The early, buried cherry, filled with tin and impregnated with granite, had been throw upwards, folded, faulted, and eroded to its existing form.
The Modern Age
More recently, the area now occupied by Cheow Larn Lake has been the site of the upheaval of another sort. Especially, 170+ school students sinking into the jungle maintained the area for a stronghold. This followed a massacre of hundreds of demonstrators from the army during a student protest in Bangkok on October 6, 1976. These young people were labeled as communists and fled to the wilderness of their Khao Sok. Their hospital and headquarters were situated in the area of Namtaloo cave. For eight years they maintained the Thai army, before the authorities changed and all pupils were granted pardons.
Besides police soldiers, the pupils held away logging companies that could have cleared enormous areas of the forest that eventually became Khao Sok National Park. Everyone avoided searching, as unnecessary gunshots on each side could give away places. Even poachers maintained from the inhabited areas. Consequently, wildlife prospered in an active battle zone, and to the day the area about Cheow Larn is still one of the greatest areas in Thailand to watch wildlife.
Finally, let’s see briefly how to get to Cheow Lan Lake
If you will choose to see the Cheow Lan Lake and the Khao Sok National Park, then you can be reaching the lake from the Khao Sok resort easy and quick, for one day tours of for more days and overnight stay.
If you will choose to see directly the lake, but I firmly cannot suggest you skip Khao Sok resorts and National Park, then you can arrive as well by plane and then minivan, taxi or bus.
I suggest a plane to Suratthani or Phuket airport
If you want to fly from Bangkok you can select the airport destination of Suratthani or Phuket, Phuket airport offers, of course, more choices of flights. Flights can be very cheap, depending on the season and timing you chose.
Train from Bangkok to Suratthani
You can find numerous trains, each evening, normally departing at 19:00 PM train and arriving at 6:00 AM, but most of the time they are delayed.
There are regular bus services from Suratthani, from Phuket, Khao Lak, Takua Pa.
From Takua Pa the bus ride is just 1 hour. Departs every hour, between 6:00 AM and 18:00 PM. Costs only 40 to 60 Thai Baht, determined by the type of bus.
From Suratthani, the bus leaves also every hour between 6:00 AM and 18:00 PM for a 2 hours ride.
From Phuket, any bus also leaves every hour but timed from 6:00 AM only until 16:00 PM. The ride takes about 4 hours, will stop on route at Khao Lak and Takua Pa. Costs are always about 160 to 180 Thai Baht, determined by the type of bus.
Remember that, if you need to get directly to the Lake, you will need to get off anyway, with each bus, at Ban Ta Khun. While if you want to get to Khao Sok resort, you will be dropped on the road 401, at the entrance road to Khao Sok. The Khao Sok National Park gate is 1.6 kilometers from where you are dropped, all resorts are on the road and nearby the road to the main National Park gate.
Even from Bangkok Southern terminal (Thonburi district), you can travel by bus. Departure is usually at 18:30 PM arriving around 4:30 AM. The bus stops on the way at Ban Ta Khun, your s=nearest stop to get to the lake pier. Costs about 500 Thai Baht.
Bangkok. Leaves 15.00, travel takes 11 hours. Cost is 700 Thai Baht.
Ko Lanta. Leaves 8:30 takes 5 hours. Cost is 700 Thai Baht including the ferry fare.
Ko Pha Ngan. Leaves 7:30 and 13:30, travel takes 8-9 hours. Cost is 650 Thai Baht including the ferry fare.
Ko Phi Phi. Leaves 8:00, travel takes 7 hours. Cost is 750 Thai Baht including ship fare in the island.
Ko Samui. Leaves 7:30 and 13:30, travel takes 6-7 hours. Cost is 550 Thai Baht including ship fare in the island.
Krabi Town and Ao Nang. Leaves at 8:30 / 14:30 and 16:30, travel takes 3-5 hours. Cost is 450 Thai Baht.
Suratthani. Leaves at 6:30 / 7:00 / and then every hour until 16:00, travel takes 1.5 hours. Cost is 250 Thai Baht. If you are heading into Surat Thani airport, then the cost is 300 Thai Baht.
You can always choose also a private taxi.
A normal sedan car can adjust also 4 passengers if you have small luggage, an SUV car can fit approximately 6 persons, also depending on the sizes of your luggage.
- Takua Pa, 1500 Thai Baht
- Khao Lak 1700 Thai Baht
- Surat Thani Airport 1700 Thai Baht
- Krabi Town 2500 Thai Baht
- Ao Nang 2800 Thai Baht
- Phuket Airport 2500 Thai Baht