The Floating Bungalows – Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok Thailand

Adventure to the Lake at Khao Sok

“It’s my favorite place on this planet, seriously, you definitely need to come,” is all I needed to hear from my friend Bodhi to convince me. An incredibly inspirational guy, I’ve come to learn that most of the time, if he’s suggesting something, its smart to listen.
My general lack of hesitation in adventuring with him has a lot to do with previous experience, but also a bit to do with his incredible stories that start with things like “So this one time, I was free-diving in Yucatan and I lost the necklace the Dali Lama gave me” – either way, weekend vacation to a cool sounding place with good company was an easy decision.

We packed our bags, hopped in a truck with a couple of our volunteers and friends, and started the journey to the raft houses of Khao Sok National Park.  After about two and a half hours of beautiful, meandering Thai countryside roads, we arrived at the lake at the heart of the Klong Long Wildlife Sanctuary at Khao Sok National Park. We took a 40-minute longtail boat ride from there to reach our friends at Jungle Yoga; they really were “conveniently located in the middle of nowhere.”

With its thousands of species of plants and animals, Khao Sok contains a true natural treasure and sanctuary of life. Probably its most unique resident is the Rafflesia Kerrii, found nowhere else on Earth, and the largest flower in the world with a bud the size of a soccer ball and an 80cm bloom. (click here to check out that adventure!)

Spellbinding, Fresh, and Liquid Tranquility

Places like these are definitely good for the soul, and allow one to travel back to an ancient time – to a world more in harmony with nature.  As soon as our boat trip began, this beautiful place started casting its magical spell on me.

We saw several raft houses along the way, but we were headed all the way to the back, to the deepest bungalows in the jungle. (That’s just how we row, so to speak.) When we reached our floating bungalows, the driver turned off our engine, and we glided gently and peacefully to the dock. As we disembarked, we noticed a yoga class was currently in session, and went about our business as quietly as possible; a fairly easy task.

Accommodation consisted of  1-room raft house bungalows, each with comfortable beds and small porches, some with hammocks, connected to the main sala and other bungalows via wobbly bamboo bridges. Thatch roof, hand-woven bamboo walls and split bamboo floors are the way of life at the lake. They operate as eco-friendly as possible, use biodegradable products, and only have the generator on during set times in the evening. All structures, except for the bathrooms, were floating on the lake!

The stillness was refreshing, and the sounds of the jungle mesmerizing. It was like returning to a familiar yet distant place – an overwhelming feeling of oneness and peace settled in. I sat in my bungalow that night wrapped in welcoming comfort by this hundred million year-old habitat, and thought of the many hunter-gatherer nomads who might have rested here in the Stone Age and felt the same. I then paused to thank the limestone cliffs for the lack of cell phone reception, and completely disconnected from the default world.

The next few days were spent hiking around the jungle, kayaking, eating delicious food, and listening to the amazing gibbon calls echo through the rainforest. On one of our adventures with EPIC Dickey (owner of JungleYoga), we decided to take a bamboo raft early in the morning, load it with kayaks, and head deep into jungle and kayak to shore on the other side. From there a group of us brave ones trekked with Dickey across the jungle along a river, saw red bull and elephant tracks, hornbills, and beautiful orchids adorning the trees. We also managed to survive an intense leech attack!

On the way back we floated down the river, took the kayaks back to the raft, and had a delicious lunch waiting for us when we returned to our raft houses. Because the region had recently experienced many floods and heavy rains, our hosts put together an evening ceremony similar to Loi Krathong to thank and pay respect to the water spirits. We each created small banana tree trunk rafts decorated with flowers, candles and incense. Once ready, we set them off in the lake – about a dozen beautifully decorated rafts floated down the lake under the moonlight.

It was a spellbinding sight, to say the least. Once again my friend Bodhi did not disappoint! I left his amazing place knowing I would be back. In fact, we are currently arranging to go back in September for Meghan’s Bday party. Get in touch if you want to come! Khao Sok has plenty of waterfalls, caves and rivers to hike, kayak, or take a boat to.  Aside from the floating raft houses, there are jungle tree houses available for rent.

If ever in Thailand, this park is a definite MUST! Although arranging a visit to this place might be a pain if you don’t speak Thai, check out our new custom, sustainable tours! We can arrange a whole trip for you, and even get you picked up at the airport in Phuket. Don’t pass it up.

Read more about Khao Sok National Park:

OTHER HIDDEN GEMS:

  1. Hi. I did a google search on these huts and low and behold, I found this site… yay. I love how you take me with you with the way you write. I love the photos : )

    Nice to meet you, btw…

    Louella

  2. Cecilia says:

    My husband and I just booked a trip here!!! We are so excited! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. This place from the article hosts many yoga retreats. You can join a yoga retreat (listed on their website) or go when there is no retreat scheduled. To get there you have to call the boat man (who speaks limited English) and arrange a pick up time at the Rajaphrabra Dam Pier in Thakun, Surat Thani Province. The boat man can deliver you to Praiwan Raft Houses. Here’s more information: http://www.jungleyoga.com/contactus/contact.html

  4. Hi, I’m wondering (the same as Ugo) how you book these floating huts? I can’t find a website that has the really traditional looking ones in all the photos…

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