Travelers’ Tales – Paradise by the River, Adventure at the Lake

Khao Sok Riverfront Resort – Khao Sok Thailand

My boyfriend and I decided to travel southern Thailand. During our two weeks I wanted something less mainstream, less overcrowded. I was looking for something a little different from the beach. After a bit of research, I found Riverfront Resort at Khao Sok National Park. This gem of a place was off the beaten path (like we wanted), and well worth it when we got there.

After a quick and cheap flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani, we shared a taxi with another couple for the hour-long ride to Khao Sok Riverfront Resort. Hospitality reigns supreme in Thailand, but Riverfront Resort set the bar for what it was like to feel welcome, while still being fully authentic.  The reception team greeted us with smiling faces. They kindly helped organize our activities in Khao Sok, and our travels onward after our stay.

Riverfront Resort’s large bungalows were situated right on the Khao Sok River. They are surrounded by small palm trees, heliconia blooms, and hibiscus flowers. The resort’s facilities were completed by a fabulous restaurant, hammocks throughout the premises, and wonderful local staff who knew the area well and also spoke English.

Khao Sok Thailand

Khao Sok Riverfront Resort

Fun on the river at Khao Sok Thailand

We chose to take the ‘Majestic Khao Sok Tour with  Lake Overnight‘ package and we hit the ground running.  After getting situated in our air-conditioned bungalow, we started off with a canoe trip on the Khao Sok River. The other option was a relaxing Thai massage, equally tempting.

We enjoyed the calm waters with the occasional gentle rapid, while the local guide paddled from the back of the boat.

We asked questions about the local wildlife. “Are there big fish in here?”  “Can we see monkeys up in the trees?”  “Are there snakes along the river?”  Our guide just smiled and responded each time with “sometimes.”

We continued down the river and saw shaking branches left and right and for the first time on our trip to Thailand, we saw monkeys hanging in the trees.

Swimming in the river

A little further down the river, we went for a swim.  The water was refreshing, and we floated on our backs looking up at the jungle mountains.

Back in the kayak, we were cruising down the river when our guide steered the kayak under the canopy of a large tree hanging over the river.  He pointed his oar up toward a large snake up in the branches and said, “shh, sleeping.”  We quietly admired the resting serpent for a minute, and a few minutes later, the tour had concluded.

The guide didn’t speak much English but still left us with a very warm feeling of being cared for. He even fixed my broken flip flop before taking us back to the resort.

Khao Sok Thailand

Khao Sok Riverfront Resort - Khao Sok Thailand

Khao Sok Riverfront Resort

Riverfront Resort has the sense of a small community that makes you feel a part of something, not just another tourist lost in the sea of visitors.

The staff seem genuinely content with their work, like a group of friendly locals who are happy to share their slice of paradise with you.

That night, we had dinner at the Riverfront Resort’s restaurant, Rafflesia Cafe. To this day is it still the best Pad Thai and Pad See Ew we have ever had.

Unlike other resort areas in Thailand, you could walk to almost everything in Khao Sok.  We walked up and down the street, crossing back and forth over the bridge and realized just how centrally located the Riverfront Resort was.

We turned in for the night and fell right asleep to the sounds of the Khao Sok Thailand jungle.

Cheow Lan Lake – Khao Sok Thailand

The next morning, we joined with a group of 8 other adventurers for an overnight tour to the lake. Our guide welcomed us into the van for the one hour drive, and didn’t leave our sides for the next 24 hours – he was a great guide.

Our group was a pleasant mix of travelers from the Northern Europe, Canada, and the UK. We boarded a long-tail boat, and within a few minutes everyone was in complete shock at the beauty of this lake.  Limestone mountains disappearing into the water, wildlife everywhere, and the clearest water I’ve ever seen.

After lunch at the floating bungalows, we went on a jungle hike. This ended with a walk through a water cave. The day ended with a “safari” tour on the boat. While we watched the sunset the guide pointed out wildlife.

Back at the floating bungalows, we relaxed, played cards and chatted, until drifting off to sleep.

Cheow Lan Lake - Khao Sok Thailand

Cheow Lan Lake - Khao Sok Thailand

Early morning boat ride

At 7am we woke up for a morning boat ride.  We watched the jungle trees and mountains fade in and out of view in the thick mist.

Our guide told us very proudly, that we were floating over his home from 50 years ago.  Granted he was only 22 years old, but he had pride for we what once was his community.

We went back and had breakfast and ended the trip with a dry hike through another cave and picnic on one of the islands in the middle of the lake.

We all swam as far out as we could, floating around, recapping the trip and embracing the newly made friendships.

The long-tail boat took us to the pier, and the guides helped us to get where we needed to go.

We spent just three days and two nights with Khao Sok Riverfront Resort. However it felt like an entire week of energizing adventure.

Traveler tips for Riverfront Resort & Khao Sok Thailand:

  • The package will save you money! We had two lunches, dinner, and breakfast all provided during our stay on the lake.
  • Book in advance to get the room of your choice. There are riverfront bungalows and garden bungalows. They welcome walk-in guests but the resort often fills up 1-2 weeks in advance.
  • Bring your blanket from the floating bungalow on the fog tour in the morning, it’s beautiful but a tad chilly.
  • Riverfront has amazing packages. This was the most authentic, safe and original tour we did our whole trip to Thailand. You won’t regret it!