Emmanuel Caristi shares insight from his recent Khao Sok safari with Riverside Cottages.

We arrived to find wooden bungalows surrounded by tropical jungle, a place to find peace and reconnect with the nature. The accommodation was truly beautiful!  Rooms are made with natural materials and beds are comfortable. Best of all, the view from the windows makes you feel like you are in the heart of the rainforest!

khao sok safari
khao sok safari

Khao Sok safari on two wheels – A bike adventure

Our Khao Sok safari began with a bike trip. The resort’s in-house guide showed us through Khao Sok village with patience and care. The first place we visited was the local school. Within minutes we were surrounded by smiling, excited children! They immediately started to pose for photos, happy to interact with foreigners. Our next short stop was at a family-run organic farm. Here we could see pigs and chickens, and learn a bit about raising them.

We jumped on the bikes again, and after a ride among mountains and hills, we arrived at another family farm. This time we were able to learn how mushroom farming in Thailand is done.

Koh Sok national park
Koh Sok national park

Monkeying around

Next, we turned back toward the resort, but it wasn’t the end of our trip! The best part of the excursion was waiting for us at Wat Tham Phanthurat, known as the Monkey Temple. This cave temple is located next to a massive cliff, just where the jungle begins. The temple is inhabited by monkeys and you can see plenty of them jumping through the trees and playing. No Khao Sok safari would be complete without a visit, so make sure you don’t skip it!

Although the weather was hot, the bike tour wasn’t tiring at all. The roads are good and the ride is quite easy. Thanks to the guide, we were able to visit both local and touristic places. The tour lasted around 3 hours and we went back to the resort right on time to enjoy delicious lunch. All in all, a pretty great start to our Khao Sok safari.

Khao Sok safari bike ride
Wat Tham Phanthurat monkey temple
Wat Tham Phanthurat monkey temple

Well deserved rest and relaxation

After an active day in Khao Sok, there is nothing better than enjoying the jungle view from a private terrace! At Riverside Cottages, guests can grab some interesting books from the book exchange next to reception, have a cup of tea, or just enjoy the unforgettable jungle concert. Cicadas, monkeys, frogs and birds will provide a symphony, and you don’t even need to move from your bungalow!

Khao Sok Safari - Riverside Cottages
khao sok safari

The safari continues at Khao Sok lake national park

The following day a real Khao Sok safari adventure began. It was our overnight trip to the Khao Sok lake national park, which is another part of the Khao Sok national park! After breakfast we hopped onto a minivan with a couple other guests, and started our trip toward Cheow Larn lake. After about one hour of driving we arrived at the pier, found our boats, and began our adventure!

The wooden speed boats were big, comfortable and safe, allowing us to enjoy the unforgettable scenery of the park. We had an amazing local guide called “Big Men.” For the entire trip he supplied us with his support, knowledge and a great sense of humor.

Khao Sok lake national park is a true wonder of the Earth! When you plan your trip to Thailand make sure to put this place on your “what to visit” list!

During our boat trip we were able to admire beautiful landscapes where mountains connect with the jungle. After approximately one hour we arrived at our raft house accommodation. We were provided with a basic room in a really cool floating bungalow. What we enjoyed most about our room was that with a few steps, we were swimming in the warm lake! Additionally, there was a kayak for us to discover the beauty of Khao Sok lake national park by ourselves.

Cheow Lan boat trip
Cheow Lan floating bungalows
khao sok lake national park cave

Trekking at Khao Sok lake national park

After lunch we jumped in the boat again. This time we were going toward a jungle trail to start a true Khao Sok safari adventure!

We left the boat at a trailhead, and started off into dense jungle. The trekking was sometimes quite challenging, but there was not a single moment of regret. Surrounded by wild nature, we felt more vulnerable and connected to the planet. Trekking in the rain forest, we soaked up rampant green, cool rivers and little waterfalls. We finished with a visit to a beautiful cave, which itself was an amazing experience!

Tired and dirty, yet exhilarated, we returned with the group to our floating accommodation. Here, we could enjoy dinner and lake activities on our own. After an amazing and active day we fall asleep early in order to charge our batteries.

Khao Sok lake national park
Khao Sok lake national park
Khao Sok Safari

The last day of our Khao Sok safari

The next day we woke up early.  Our group met at 06:30, ready to get on the boat in order to catch the sunrise. We spent one hour on the water, enjoying the chance to see the nature of Khao Sok lake national park waking up. During that time we were able to spot three different kinds of monkeys in their natural environment.

After breakfast and a short break, we started the last part of our Khao Sok safari lake trip. We checked out, and started our boat trip surrounded again by beautiful scenery. We stopped to explore a natural cave, where we could admire living rocks and stalactites untouched by humans.

After that, it was the time to finish our trip. Our guide took us back to the pier where we had to say goodbye to Khao Sok lake national park. Two hours later (including a stop for lunch) we were back at Riverside Cottages. In those three days we we gained a new life experience and we had a chance to discover at least a bit of the incredible beauty of Khao Sok.

Khao Sok lake national park

Blog and photos by Emanuel Caristi.
To view more of his work, find him on Facebook @emanuelcaristiph,
or visit his website http://www.emanuelcaristi.com/

For more insights into things to do in Khao Sok check out ‘Things to do in Khao Sok – A driver’s guide’