Cheow Lan Lake: Kayaking surrounded by the jungle
- Category: Travel stories and visits
- Written by Davide Vadalà
Our experience kayaking in Cheow Lan Lake inside Khao Sok National Park, is one of the best travel memories I have of my peregrinations not only in Thailand but around the whole world. I've been travelling almost non-stop for the last 6 years, and after having seen so many different places I rarely remain impressed of something. But Cheow Lan Lake seriously stole my soul and is now permanently added to my mental shortlist of natural wonders.
It was like a natural Dolby Surround System hitting my sensory organs with omnidirectional waves, recreating symbiotically a feeling of peace and primordial stillness into my being.
It's not only about the amazing setting, made of immense limestone cliffs abruptly raising toward the sky and totally covered in a thick layer of jungle. It's not about the still water reflecting the surroundings while Gibbons are calling in the background. It's about the vicinity to nature and the feeling of being part of the purest essence of it. It's a constant amazement and a feeling of being alive.
We had the freedom to go kayaking wherever we wanted since we had free unlimited usage of the kayaks in our tour. With this silent floating vehicle we were able to get closer to the jungle and its inhabitants, in total respect of their environment.
Exploring the rainforest from our kayaks
After exploring our floating resort and settling in, we tried to make the best of our time and went directly kayaking to invest the hour left before lunch, since we could freely use the crafts during the day.
Just a week before we had our first experiencing Kayaking in Langkawi, and now we had already a second chance to improve the level of our skills. After wearing my safety jacket (Water is not my favorite element), Me and Oti hopped each one on a separate kayak, and started paddling toward the forest.
The cliffs were so steep it was incredible there could grow such a thick vegetation: we were expecting a leopard to jump on our kayaks from one moment to the other, even if actually it was easier to win the lottery 3 times in a row.
Then we split our routes for a while, following our own instincts and enjoying the freedom that only nature can give you. I started paddling toward a hidden creek totally surrounded by vegetation and I stopped for a few minutes listening to the environment around me and trying to recognize the calls of the local fauna. It was like a natural Dolby Surround System hitting my sensory organs with omnidirectional waves, recreating symbiotically a feeling of peace and primordial stillness into my being.
This poetry couldn't last for ever since we had to go back toward the platform not to be late for lunch, and we arrived just in time before a huge storm would remind us that the rainy season was still not over. It was still an enjoyable event, showing us the beauty of the place under a different light.
Having lunch in the Floating Restaurant of Cheow Lan Lake
While other visitors were still swimming in Cheow Lan Lake unconcerned of the pouring rain, we reached the Restaurant in the middle of the resort, and we joined the multitude of people feasting on local delicacies.
There were many more people than the rooms could allow to sleep, probably because many boats with local Thai tourists were arriving for a day visit of Cheow Lan Lake, having a fish based lunch in the resort, and then heading back toward mainland.
We were really satisfied with the food, not only it was good but also plenty! And they didn't forget about our special request, since we are vegetarian you never know if you have to fight for your meal.
A second session in our Kayaks
After lunch we still had some free time, almost 2 hours, and we decided to go for some more kayaking. We were becoming addicted!
At first after reading the program of the tour, we thought that it could have been much more tight and we might have done more activities. But in the end we were happy it was so loose, because it was our free time kayaking that we enjoyed the most.
On this “Expedition” we went a little bit further, but still within sight of the resort, exploring on our own some more of the jungle and of the submerged cliffs of Cheow Lan Lake, and unsuccessfully trying to spot some wildlife.
The only strange “being” we got to see, was a small floating house where offerings were made to local spirits, as it is a quite common habit in Thailand. But the absence of local fauna was not a reason of disappointment of our visit, since the idyllic landscape was fully compensating our betrayed expectation.
Soon we had to head back to the base in order to join the Jungle trekking and cave exploration, a little bit sad for not having longer time on our kayaks, but looking forward to exploring more of this unique ecosystem!