Khao Sok - On the Lake - Ratchaprapha Dam
Update July 2012 - we did a new Khao Sok trip - Khao Sok - Fun and Relaxation - including a boat on the lake, canoeing and tubing. We've been to Khao Sok many times since this old 2006 blog post and always stay at the Cliff and River Resort.
In 2006, we made a quick stop at Khao Sok National Park on the way from Phuket to Chumphon in order to take a boat out on the lake at Ratchaprapha Dam. The lake is huge, indeed much bigger than we realised, and a quick 2 hour boat ride is not enough! But all we had time for, and with my (not so young) parents and 2 young kids, all we wanted to do. The entrance to the Chiao Lan reservoir and the Ratchaprapha Dam is on the road between Phang Nga and Surat Thani. The main park entrance is actually on the road to Takua Pa, a little bit further west. You drive some 15km to reach the reservoir, and the roads can be a bit confusing as they head to various view points, the golf club etc...We had some breakfast at a rather crap restaurant overlooking the water and arranged a boat for 6 of us (4 adults, 2 kids) for 1,000 Baht. It took 15 minutes or so to get away from the dam and reach the more scenic areas...
For the next 2 and a half hours we cruised around the lake passing huge limestone cliffs - it is very much like Phang Nga Bay or Phi Phi island. Boat driver was in a bit of a hurry at times, just slowing down to show us the nicest rocks. There is one small area with a set of rocks they call the "Guilin of Thailand". I had read about it and was expecting something rather bigger, having seen the real Chinese Guilin many times on TV. In fact, I'd say the rocks in Phang Nga Bay look more like Guilin. Anyhow, the scenery here at Khao Sok is rather nice, and we were there nice and early (about 9am) and only saw 2 other boats on the lake. I would like to see the early morning light, which would only be possible if we left our house in Phuket at 4am or stayed overnight there by the lake. We will certainly head here again. I would like to make a much longer trip, stay overnight in a jungle lodge or floating bungalow, explore the caves...this was just a taster. When the kids are a bit older, we'll do it.
Some more pictures: