Port Angeles, Washington
January 9, 2002
The longtail boat ride was an experience in itself. A large portion of Khao Sok National Park is made up of Chiaw Lan Lake, which is actually a reservoir formed when a hydroelectric dam was built in 1982. The lake is 165 square kilometers, and the entire park is 739. About 100 islands were created when the dam was built. The area is dominated by limestone cliffs and mountains that average 300-600 meters. The highest is 960 meters. They say the rainforest here is some of best remaining and is older than the Amazon. It was quite a sight – majestic masses of limestone reaching up out of deep clear water. Some of the limestone walls were totally vertical, which meant they didn’t have any vegetation and shimmered white in the sunlight. We only saw two other boats on the entire trip, and as I mentioned, the scenery was unreal. Then we saw Ton Toey floating rafthouses…. I thought our boat was dropping us off in paradise!
The rafthouses consist of about 12 small floating bamboo huts. To reach our huts, we had to walk on a floating walkway that was a little precarious. The huts were ten feet on each side and had mattresses on the floor and mosquito netting. Each rafthut had a second door (opposite of the door that went to the floating walkway) that went out to a small veranda facing the water. We could dive into the deep water from our own veranda and swim to our heart’s content. The water was so warm, it was almost like bathwater. It was crystal clear and maybe 100 feet deep. There were also two floating buildings where the operators lived and the food was cooked. The whole floating operation was connected with ropes to the shore. The land was at a steep grade going up into the jungle. The only buildings were the bathrooms and showers, and we had to go up a steep stairway to reach them. The bathrooms were quite modern which surprised me a bit, happily.
We stayed for two nights, and only had to share our paradise with a couple other people. Meals were included and were delicious. We were taken on an evening boat ride to look for wildlife – we saw monkeys and hornbills. And we went on a hike to Namtaloo cave. We otherwise filled out time swimming, reading, napping, and all out relaxing. There were little canoes to rent, and of course someone had brought a deck of cards.
From journal Khao Sok National Park – Week 3 of 4,Thailand trip