In this next portion of our Khao Sok adventure, I will share about our second day in the park specifically our overnight stay at Ratchaprapa Dam.
As I mentioned in my previous post, this tour is actually the reason why I wanted to visit the park in the first place. I have seen a lot of awesome photos of the lake which inspired me to visit it myself.
Tour: Ratchaprapa Dam
Our tour started at 9.00 AM with a drive from where we stayed at, Smiley Bungalows, to the pier for a boat ride. After we ate our free breakfast, our tour guide led us to a van that brought us to our next destination.
I felt very lucky about this tour because we were the only guests on that day. Our guide even explained that it usually never happens because they normally have at least five to ten people in a day. A couple of people who booked previously canceled at the last minute. Maybe it was because of the weather since it was pouring almost every day in the park.
If they told us they would cancel because we were the only guests for this tour, I would really be unhappy. In truth, we couldn’t do that because our schedule was already tightly planned. In addition to that, we have a limited time so we couldn’t postpone the tour on another day. In the end, I was thrilled for the tour to push through despite its unusual number of guests. Happy for us because it meant we would have the lakehouse for ourselves.
Van and a quick stop…
I will first explain how we arrived at the lake. We rode a van from Smiley Bungalows to the pier for approximately 1.30 hours. We had to stop at a 7/11 store to buy some snacks and things we would need at the lake house such as sunscreen, hat, etc. Then after the shortstop, we head off to the pier.
At the pier, we paid an entrance fee of 300 THB/person. Our tour guide was also our boat driver so while waiting for him to get our boat ready, we took some photos of the place.
Thereafter, we were off to the lake house where we would be staying for a night. The boat ride took around another hour. The scenery I saw from the boat ride was incredibly beautiful. I think it was the best boat experience I have ever been to in Thailand.
We booked with Smiley Lake House because their tour price is just perfect for our budget including the room and meals. Moreover, I have read positive reviews about the lake house as well as previous guests’ experiences in which they highly recommend the place.
Accommodation: Smiley Lake House
The first thing we did after we arrived at the lakehouse was to tour the place and explore our room. It is a small room with a toilet and shower area. Instead of aircon though, they have a fan. For me, it wasn’t really a big problem although I know for others it could be. Besides, it turned out to be cool at night and early in the morning. I didn’t have any problem sleeping that night.
I couldn’t complain when I woke up with the view I’ve seen in the lake. If I had to sleep outside, I would definitely do it. Ha! Oh, there were no mosquitoes too. It would really be a problem for me if there were.
Activities on the Lake
Aside from the view, I completely enjoyed doing activities like kayaking, tubing, swimming or just lounging outside our room. I was tremendously grateful to be there at the lake. In all my trips and adventures, I always make sure to just stop and feel the moment. Anywhere my journeys led me to, I always feel blessed for the new experience. If you have been following my blog since day one, you should know by now that I don’t travel in luxury. What I’m after are the experience and learnings, the feeling of newness and to be in a place I have never been to before.
A part of the tour is exploring the nearby islets and cave. So, on our first day on the lake and the next morning, we explored the nearby areas. We located a few wild monkeys, birds and fish. It even rained during our first tour but it didn’t stop us. It was fun and thrilling to be heading straight to the dark cloudy and rainy area of the lake.
Nam Ta Lu Nature Trail & Cave
Personally, this is my favorite from our Khao Sok trip because I did what I was hoping for, to trek and be surrounded by nature. Aside from that, caving was something I didn’t expect at all. It was intense and terrifying, to be honest. There was a part in the cave where the water was so deep, we had to swim or hold on securely to move forward. I couldn’t imagine how it was for those boys trapped in a cave for days in Chiang Rai. Not to mention, I slipped and twisted my ankle at the end of the trek. Ha! So, yes, it was the most adventurous caving I have ever done in my entire life.
However, before we went inside the cave, we had to trek for about 30 minutes from where the boat was docked. It was all about nature. There were annoying insects following and buzzing in my ear as we walk. To make it worse, the trail isn’t the easy trail you would expect. We had to walk through mud, rivers, rocky spots, and dry areas.
The trek, although, a little challenging, was actually fun. We were in a jungle so sometimes you’ll get lucky if leeches will stick to you just like what happened to me.
We had to wear a headlight because it was very dark in the cave. Our tour guide had us, at some point, turn off all our lights to test the darkness inside. I couldn’t see anything at all which was very scary. In the cave, we’ve seen the usual stalactites and stalagmites formations. There were also toads, spiders, bats, and oh, snake. Ha! After that, I hurried to go out of the cave.
This caving experience will surely remain to be the most thrilling caving I have ever done so far. It was a different level of adventure for me. Even though I look brave and willing to try anything, deep inside, I have thoughts of “why am I doing this?”. But I am glad I did. You know, you will never know until you try (inspired by “Defying Gravity” lyrics).
Cost of Tour
If you’re wondering how much the tour cost, it’s 2,500 THB/ person. You may say it’s expensive but I tell you, it’ll be worth your money. It’s a one-time experience you should try in your life. I recommend Smiley Bungalows and Lake House. They’ll make sure that you are well taken care of. All staffs were accommodating and friendly especially our tour guide, Kit.
Heading back to Bangkok
I will end this post with a photo of my sprained foot. As I mentioned, I slipped while I was standing on a rock after our caving activity. I got lucky that I didn’t break any bones but it was painful especially when I put weight on it. As a result, I was in a wheelchair after we landed at Don Mueang Airport and went straight to the hospital at the airport. The doctor prescribed some painkillers with advice to rest which I happily obeyed.
The lesson of this story is that accidents will happen to you wherever you are. More so if you are doing a lot of outdoor activities like what we did in Khao Sok Park. It was my first accident in all my travels but I didn’t feel bad about it. On the contrary, it made this trip more memorable. Ten years from now when I’ll look back on my trip to Khao Sok, I will remember it as when I injured my foot. Ha! Then, I can share all about it to others which will make it more interesting.
Finally, being the one injured after this trip, I would still highly recommend visiting Khao Sok. If you ever plan on traveling to Thailand, you shouldn’t miss Khao Sok National Park because I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too.