The last little part of our Thailand adventure, was at Khao Sok. We travelled from Krabi in a hot cramped up mini van, with luggage stacked in every possible crevice that didn’t already contain an awkwardly placed person. It was a long, and no so comfortable journey, but the one relief (for me on the window seat anyway), was the views as we drove to Khao Sok. Khao Sok is one of the lesser known national parks in Thailand; and with around 739 km² of land, lake and rainforest that is supposedly more diverse than the amazon, we were bound to see some amazing sites.This was the only place we didn’t have a hotel booked in advance. Khao Sok was our one experience of ‘winging it’, except we got nervous and booked the hotel online a couple of days before we were due to arrive (but I’m still counting that!). We stayed at Las Orquideas Resort. Although I had done a quick TripAdvisor scan of the place, we didn’t really know what to expect, and upon arrival we could tell immediately that it was going to be somewhat different to our previous stays. The hotel was located on a quiet road, 1 km from the national park, and set back amongst dense trees and foliage. The staff were extremely welcoming as we arrived and helped us to our rooms, which were adorable little huts surrounded by forestry. We did have a few issues with the room but the staff were on their game and had any queries resolved in no time. I loved our room and being surrounded by nature, Ryan wasn’t a fan of all of the bugs or the noisy cicadas, but I loved it.
The hotel staff encouraged us to book a tour for the day. The day trip took us to Cheow Lan Lake, where we boarded a small boat and travelled across the lake, taking in the spectacular forest and lime stone cliffs, before stopping for lunch at some of the floating huts. We were also able to jump in for a swim before lunch which was very refreshing, its so different swimming in fresh water rather than salt water.
After lunch we went on a jungle trek to a lagoon, where we boarded a bamboo raft to the coral caves. The coral caves were an interesting site, and we even saw a little fruit bat in there, which I was very excited about. Before the return trek, our guide handed out some authentic Thai snacks, which were actually pretty good! Not so pretty, but oh so tasty. On the return trek we saw some monkeys in the distant trees, which for me was amazing.
The day trek was amazing, if we had looked up tours before booking the hotel we probably would have just booked a 3 day tour and stayed in the floating huts on the lake.
The next day we decided to have a casual stroll from our hotel to the national park…this turned into a 6km walk through the park! I was not wearing adequate foot wear! We thought “oh it’s just one trail to the waterfall we will go and have a look”. It was very rocky and steep, and it was only to the mini waterfall not the proper one! The other one was another 4km, and like I said I was not in adequate footwear. The whole exhausting trip was totally worth it because on the return walk (when I was about to give up and remain in the forest forever), a family of macaques strolled by. We watched them all for a while; the little baby one trying to navigate its way through the trees, and the larger ones strolling right by us with a persona that told us this was THEIR home. It was amazing to see this, animals in their natural habitats, not phased in the slightest by us tourists passing by.
Khao Sok is very different to the other places we visited. There was no ‘main strip’, no clubs, just a few small restaurants and bars on the way to the vast National Park, you can probably drive away from the park to find busier areas, but why would you want to. It was nice to just appreciate this gorgeous place. I wish we had spent more time here and seen more of the forest, but we headed back to Phuket to catch our flight to Australia, where we would settle down for a while.
Bye for now