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Our stay in the floating rafthouse on Cheow Lan Lake was the first experience of this kind for us, and we were so happy to have the possibility to live on the water for one day and go kayaking whenever we wanted.

Plen prai raft house floating on Cheow Lan LakePlen prai raft house floating on Cheow Lan Lake

After our first day passed at Art's Riverview Jungle Lodge, next to Khao Sok National Park visitor center, we checked out from our accommodation and jumped in the unexpectedly luxurious van that “Limestone Lake Rainforest Tours” sent for us perfectly in time.

The fancy van that picked us up in Khao Sok National ParkThe fancy van that picked us up in Khao Sok National Park

We were amazed, but the amazement grew higher and higher while we were going further, it looked like there was no limit to the level of beauty it could reach.

We drove just a short way over the other side of the river,to pick up the other two friendly guests that would have joined our adventures.
The route to the lake was already a presage of what would have expected us, with the paved road flanked here and there by impressive karst cliffs going almost unnoticed in between the many wonders to visit in South of Thailand.

We left behind the about 65 km that separate Khao Sok National Park from Cheow Lan Lake, and in around one hour we were at the boat jetty, ready to start our adventure.

Impressive view form the window of our vanImpressive view form the window of our van

Reaching our floating accommodation

At the harbour next to Ratchaprabha Dam we met Poo, our guide for the following 24 hours. He took care of the National Park Permits at the entrance booth next to the jetty and arranged the boat for the 4 of us.

Oti and our adventure's mates on the longtail boatOti and our adventure's mates on the longtail boat
We boarded our longtail boat, and started sprinting in between small islands covered in green jungle and lonely trees coming out of the water, with a constant background of jagged cliffs getting closer and closer to us, and eventually surrounding us in every direction.

Island submerged by Cheow Lan LakeIsland submerged by Cheow Lan Lake

Our longtail boat penetrating the core of Cheow Lan LakeOur longtail boat penetrating the core of Cheow Lan Lake

We were amazed, but the amazement grew higher and higher while we were going further, it looked like there was no limit to the level of beauty it could reach.
The landscape of Cheow Lan Lake with its steep cliffs coming out of the water was somehow bringing back to our minds our previous trips on Koman Lake in Albania and Lofoten Islands in Norway.

Luxurious rainforest growing on the cliffsLuxurious rainforest growing on the cliffs

Before reaching the area, we were expecting to be almost alone, believing to have found a secret hidden gem of Thailand not mentioned even by Lonely Planet guidebook, but we actually discovered that Cheow Lan Lake is a quite popular destination for foreigners and local tourists alike, and on the way to the resort we crossed several other long tail boats, some of them filled to capacity.

Exploring the floating rafts

After about 40 minutes on the boat we reached Plenprai Rafthouse, the resort where we would have spent the following night. It was set in an idyllic location, with two islands close by, a smaller and a bigger one, and surrounded by cliffs and a steep rock wall not further than 400 meters in front of us.

Plen Parai floating resort seen from the waterPlen Parai floating resort seen from the water

The resort was developed along a continuous walking board connecting all the bungalows and services together in a line. On one end there were some recently build floating toilets, and on the other end, after passing an almost abandoned walking board suspended on the water, another group of toilets, standing on the smaller island.

The second group of toilets as seen from our windowThe second group of toilets as seen from our window

The second group of toiletsThe second group of toilets

Water was taken with a pump directly from the lake, and we suppose going back where it was taken after being used for showers and other needs by the guests. Our suggestion is to try not to use any soap for one time, or to bring on purpose a 100% natural and biodegradable one.
In the rafthouse complex there were two types of huts: on the left side, some basic wooden bungalow with a nice portico and two atmospheric benches below it, and on the right side some more modern white painted huts. We were happy to check in in the wooden rooms, that even thought had only mattresses on the floor instead of beds as the other side, were much more charming and with character. And we managed to get the last bungalow of the row, so that we had unobstructed view over the natural environment from 3 of the 4 sides of our accommodation!
Apart from the mattresses, one king size and a single one, inside our accommodation there was also a fan that could be used only in the evening when the generator was switched on; but actually it was no need for it, given the enjoyable temperature at dark.

The interior of our rafthouseThe interior of our rafthouse

Strangely there was also a backdoor, possibly built for a future expansion of the resort, or just for the enjoyment of the guests sitting with the door open while reading a book. Or why not, even diving in the lake directly from the bed! For the lazy one, it could be also a possible alternative for a night call to the toilet, instead of challenging your balance skills on the unstable platform immersed in the dark still night.

Oti having fan at the back doorOti having fan at the back door
The resort looked quite safe given its isolation, but we preferred to still lock our doors, since there were many guests coming just for lunch at the restaurant. Considering that Oti's belonging were stolen 4 times in one year even in remote national parks (Not yet in Thailand), we preferred to take precautions. The only disadvantage was that every time we had to open the room, we had to ask to the reception for somebody to come for us, since we couldn't take the key with us.

View of the floating restaurantView of the floating restaurant

A last unanswered question we had about the functioning of the resort was how they were managing with garbage disposal; the enigma was quickly solved when we saw a boat coming and collecting the bags of rubbish gathered on one side and probably taking them back to mainland. We were happy to see that unlike Indonesia, where water sources are used as open air dumpster, there was some environmental concern.

Continue reading our report from Khao Sok National Park, go to our next article: Kayaking towards the jungle in Cheow Lan Lake

Disclaimer: While our visit in Cheow Lan Lak and Khao Sok National Park and our stay in the raft house were sponsored by Limestone Lake Rainforest Tours, everything we wrote in this report was our sincere opinion representing our experience and review of the place.

Davide VadalàDavide Vadalà
In 2009 I quit my job to chase my dream of exploring our planet in a sustainable way and I haven't stopped yet. I love nature, sustainability, travel photography, handicrafts and hiking, and I never stop dreaming. More about Davide Vadala'.

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 Where are we now: Spain, Italy

 Going to:  New Horizons

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Davide and Oti

We are Davide and Otilia, two friends with itchy feet, living a non conventional life traveling around the world and learning everyday something new....
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