*Post in collaboration with Khao Sok Riverfront Resort
The following post was written for Khao Sok Riverfront Resort, Thailand in a content collaboration with Bright and Social Co. This is a first hand look at our experience at breathtaking Thailand, the resort we stayed at in Khao Sok and the excursion tour which included a night at the famous Khao Sok floating bungalows. Enjoy!
I know, I know, its a LOT of photos. But this was one of our favorite experiences in all of Thailand! Not only was the Riverfront Resort amazing lodging, but the package tour to the floating bungalows as an experience of a lifetime. For the readers of the group who find this post, below is the "Travelers Tales" blog post we wrote on behalf of the resort. They're using it on their website so future guests get a first hand look at the package they offer! Please reach out if you have any questions about Thailand or booking with this company, we cannot say enough amazing things and would love to chat!
"Everybody has different reasons and visions when traveling to Thailand, whether it be a short vacation or an extended stay backpacking through different parts of the country. My boyfriend and I decided to travel southern Thailand, everything south of Bangkok, and during our two weeks I wanted do something that was not so mainstream and overcrowded, something a little different from the beach. While doing my pre-planning I found Khao Sok Riverfront Resort. This gem of a town was a little off of the beaten path (like we wanted), and well worth it when we got there. We traveled to Khao Sok Riverfront Resort from Surat Thani, the hub town to all of the major attractions in southern Thailand. After a quick and cheap hour flight from Bangkok, we shared a taxi with another couple for the easy hour ride there. Hospitality reigns supreme in Thailand, but the Khao Sok Riverfront Resort set the bar for what it was like to feel welcome in a foreign place while still being fully authentic. We were greeted with smiling faces with questions about our plans. Khao Sok isn't a town where you can wave down a taxi to go where you want (we loved that aspect) and we learned quickly that the staff were eager to help organize our travels during and after our stay. The Riverfront Resort was complete with individual bungalows, a fabulous restaurant on the premises, hammocks throughout, and staffed with wonderful locals who knew the area well and also spoke english. The resort was beautifully landscaped with clean, large bungalows situated right on the Khao Sok River, surrounded with small palm trees, heliconia blooms, and hibiscus flowers scattered about. The feeling of being in the jungle surrounded us. We chose to do the Riverfront and Rafthouse package tour and we hit the ground running. Within an hour of arriving, we got situated in our air conditioned bungalow, and started the first part of our package started off with a canoe trip on the Khao Sok River. A truck with friendly faces met us outside the resort, and happily guided us just a minute walk down the street to the river. Once we got started, we were immediately satisfied with our decision to do this tour (the other option was a relaxing thai massage, equally tempting). We slowly weaved in and out of gentle rapids surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the river, while the local guide paddled his way around the water. We asked questions about the local wildlife. "Are there big fish in here?" "Are there monkeys up in the trees?" "Are there snakes along the river?" Our guide just smiled and responded each time with "sometimes." He didn't have much to say, but you could tell that he knew the river like the back of his hand. It wasn't too long before we saw a swirl in the water, and he said "fish" and then not a minute later a much bigger swirl, and he said "big fish!”. 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. A little further down the river was a group of people sunbathing and our guide encouraged us to swim. The river was crisp feeling after a long day of traveling, and floating on your back gave us a different feeling than we have felt throughout our travels. After he led us to the rope swing no one had noticed yet, we got back on the kayak and kept cruising down the river. I had forgotten that we even asked about snakes, when suddenly he pulled the canoe over to a beautiful tree that was hanging over the river. He pointed his oar up and said "sleeping." We had no idea what he was talking about until we looked up and saw large snake up in the branches. We gently admired at the wild sleeping animal for a minute, and left laughing about the coniensidence. It was no coincidence. These guides know the land and the animals, and their kind demeanor makes you leave feeling like you really experienced something special. The canoe tour ended soon after that, and we loaded up into a truck and rode back up the mountain- but not before our guide took his time to help us fix my broken flip flop.The Khao Sok 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. You don't have anyone waving taxi signs at you or trying to get you to buy things; you have a small town of native people 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 night and fell right asleep to the sounds of the jungle's wildlife.For the second part of the package, we were up at 9:00 am to head to Khao Sok Lake on the National Park to stay the night in the famous floating bungalows. We got into a personal van the staff had arranged and picked up some other guests along the way. The man riding shotgun was our guide throughout the 24 hours there, he never left our sides, and was a great guide. After an hour ride in the upscale passenger van, we arrived at the docks where the longtail boats awaited us. The people in the van were our group for the remainder of the trip and we couldn't have gotten luckier. We (from the US) had couples from the Netherlands, Lithuania, Sweden, and then some solo travelers from Denmark, Canada, and the UK. It was a melting pot of laughter and sharing stories of our travels thus far. We boarded a longtail boat that took us out to our floating bungalows. It wasn't long after we took off that everyone on the boat was in complete shock of the beauty of this lake. Limestone mountains disappearing into the water, wildlife everywhere, and the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Though there were a lot of other groups boarding other longtails and other floating bungalows throughout the lake, it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. There was not a wasted moment during the 24 hours that we were there. They had us on a schedule that maximized the beauty of this place. We would eat and then go on a hike, with the first hike being through the jungle and then a water cave. The night ended with a “safari” tour on the long tail boat, and we watched the sunset and tried to point out wildlife to each other. Some of us enjoyed some Chang beers on the ride and the others just soaked in the nature. The floating bungalows has a common area where we relaxed, played cards and chatted, until the eventful day caught up with us. We had a 7am wake up for a morning boat ride, this time to go “fog hunting”. The fog from the lake in the morning created a beautiful, thick mist and we rode around in the brisk air to see a different side of this enormous manmade lake. 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. Their pride manifests itself throughout the tour, this old village now a beautiful lake, and the guides not wanting us to miss a peice of it. 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 longtail boat took us to the pier so we could all go our separate ways, and the guides helped us to get where we needed to go. What was only three days and two nights at the Khao Sok Riverfront Resort and the floating bungalows, felt like an entire week with a refreshing and energizing feeling we didn’t get from anywhere else."
This package will save you money! We had two lunches, dinner, and breakfast all provided during our stay on the lake
Book at the Khao Sok Riverfront Resort in advance so you can get the room of your choice. There are riverfront bungalows and garden bungalows, and while a walk in reservation is welcomed, you may not get the riverfront view you want
Bring a pair of shoes you don’t mind getting wet for the hike and water cave tour
Bring your blanket from the bungalow on the fog tour in the morning, it's beautiful but a tad chilly
Book a package here! This was the most authentic, safe and original tour we did our whole trip to Thailand. You won’t regret it!
-Mandy Harlow, Bright + Social Co