It may seem odd, but even living in Phuket it’s nice to have a place nearby that suits us as a getaway. Sure, Phuket is beautiful, but we’re very lucky to have Khao Sok National Park on our doorstep.
Over the years, we have enjoyed a number of short trips to Khao Sok, not for the hiking, kayaking, rafting and other adventure activities that are offered, but just to relax.
My family and I have stayed at the same resort many times, and until our last trip we ignored all tours and just relaxed by the amazing pool with the cliff towering overhead, enjoyed the good food in the restaurant and enjoyed listening to nature.
However, the latest trip was different. We had planned to stop in Khao Sok on the way back to Phuket from Chumphon, but the weather was wet and windy, so we headed straight home. No point checking in with the rain hammering down.
Just two days later the weather cleared up, and it just so happened that some friends were heading to Khao Sok on the same day. We had plans for relaxation, but also wanted to stay a night at some floating bungalows on the Chiew Lan reservoir.
Chiew Lan is a huge man-made lake created by the building of the Rajaprapha Dam, which was completed in 1982. The plan was to cruise the lake for an hour or so, check out some of the floating bungalows and splash about in the water.
The scenery in the lake is quite similar to Phang Nga Bay, only at the dam you have fresh water. It’s also nice to have your ‘own boat’ rather than be on a big group tour which dashes around on a fixed schedule.
I don’t like to rush. The day was hot and sunny, and Khao Sok was looking great...
We stopped at some of the floating bungalows where a late breakfast was being prepared for our group (eggs and toast). We weren’t planning to stay that night, but this quick stop gave us a chance to check out the accommodation.
It’s basic – bare rooms with a mattress on the floor and a cold shower. It was late morning and sunny, and the rooms were already hot inside. I wondered how they’d be for sleeping.
After a bite to eat, the kids were soon having fun in the water. Once you jump in, you can see the attraction of these bungalows. They had some kayaks too.
As it turned out, we never did stay at the floating bungalows as the weather only stayed good for two days.
The kids weren’t the only ones jumping in the water. It was a hot day, so I jumped in too. Lovely. We splashed about in the sun with these great views so long that the bungalow staff suggested we had lunch there too, cooking up curry and fried fish and rice.
The boat then took us back to the jetty, it was about a 30 minute ride back and then about a 45 minute drive from the reservoir to reach the resort we were staying at.
I like to wake up early in Khao Sok. The air is fresh and cool, the mist hangs over the hills, the insects chirp, the birds are not angry, and the gibbons call through the jungle.
After a hearty breakfast, we drove to the Khao Sok river and climbed aboard our canoes.
After an hour or so, my wife and I had the hang of canoeing and had stopped blaming each other for heading in the wrong direction or drifting sideways into overhanging trees.
After stopping for a ‘jungle lunch’, it was time to tube downstream. Tubing is fun, though next time I think I need a dry bag and a waterproof camera.
I’m a pretty large person, so my tube seemed to be slower than some other people as most of it was under water! But there was no rush, no rush at all.
Jamie Monk works at liveaboard dive specialists Sunrise Divers. For more information call: 084 626 4646 or visit: sunrise-divers.com