CANOEING THROUGH KHAO SOK NP
Khao Sok National Park was the time of Thailand when I knew I had truly fallen in love, like I ripped a piece of my heart to leave here forever. Probably because it was halfway through my time in this beautiful country and it seemed more real to me that I was there. Probably because it’s the furthest I’ve ever felt away from home and the rest of the world.. Khao Sok just was the true reason for my loving of Thailand. We went from beaches and island hopping to a place that felt like Jurassic park.
The journey of getting here: Sort of a long one but MAN SO WORTH IT. I remember the thought of coming from the island of Koh Lanta to here and how daunting it seemed. The taxi ride, then the long ferry ride and an even longer shuttle just to stay in the jungle somewhere. But it was so much more than “the jungle”. If there’s one real place I could connect the national park to it would probably be to the movie “Where the Wild Things Are” but even then that’s still some place in someone’s imagination.. But that’s what Khao Sok feels like. A run through your wildest dreams and imagination.
We had left the island of Koh Lanta probably at 8 or 9AM and didn’t even get into our hotel until 3PM. That just shows how long of a journey it is if you’re on an island or pretty south in Thailand. It’s situated in what feels like the middle of nothing. Truly the most relaxing stay and experience I’ve ever had.
How we got into Khao Sok: Fly into Surat Thani Airport and then take a long shuttle into the park.
Cheapest way and not a lot of hassle!
Costs about $10 or $11 USD for a shuttle.
If you read my “How to plan your trip to Thailand” post you’ll see I love the app Rome2Rio because it gives you the best ways to get to point A to B - the fastest and cheapest way possible.
One thing I’d like to also note if you ever get motion sickness I would definitely buy some Dramamine for a trip to Thailand! Not only for just Khao Sok and the long journey but if you head to Pai or are on and off a lot of ferries - Just do yourself that favor!
Luckily our driver stopped halfway through our long journey from Surat Thani to Khao Sok. Sort of like a gas station but also a rest area with a lot of cooked Thai meals - a perfect place to grab some lunch! I don’t know if every shuttle does this but I assume so. We were only a couple hours away from the town of Khao Sok at this point.
Since we didn’t have service for our time in Thailand since it was so easy to get Wifi we didn’t realize our first hotel was more outside of the National Park. Only about 15 minutes, but Cierra and I and also our driver didn’t realize it until we were the only two left on the bus. So we had to explain that it looked like we were out of town since we were able to zoom in on the map, without service.
So we back tracked a bit, but I was not mad about it because we saw an ELEPHANT. Just walking the side of the road and literally past a “Drive slow - Elephant Crossing” road sign. That explains how far out in the jungle you are. And you feel even more in the wild when you step foot out of your shuttle to
Anurak Lodge: The most beautiful hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying. It’s so simply gorgeous and the location of it feels something out of Jurassic Park like I said. You don’t need to even leave the resort to explore because you could sit in a hammock, at the restaurant, your room, the huts provided everywhere or swing under the trees. There’s an abundance of things to do from the second you get there. Like I said we arrived a bit later in the day because we were coming from far and it had been a long travel day of different transportation. So when we were greeted with homemade juice and snacks it made us start to feel so relaxed and ready for our night here. It was only a short amount of time until we were checked into our room.. A gorgeous bungalow situated like I said in the heart of the jungle.
Palm trees and natural light filled the room and woke us up the next morning. The mosquito net secretly made me feel like a princess. It’s just such a simple but beautiful layout. Coming from the beach to staying within the hills and mountains of Thailand I started to feel so attached to this beautiful country. We set our stuff down in our room and washed our face since it was much needed after the day.
Since Cierra and I arrived later than expected we had to sadly move a canoe trip that we planned out that day to the following morning. So instead we just walked around all of Anurak exploring the different areas and then hanging out at the restaurant for literally hours. Just taking in the view that felt like a backdrop out of a movie. This is where we tried Thai Tea for our first time - Which if you haven’t yet YOU NEED TO IN THAILAND. I fell in love with it! So we sat at the beautiful balcony overlooking the jungle and waited for dinner.
Then it was dinner time. We at first asked to see the menu; when the waiter let us know that there was already a FIVE course meal planned out for hotel guests. Cierra and I looked back at each other and just instantly said perfect.. This is also where we were both able to try traditional dishes of Thailand and figure out what we would want to be eating a lot of the next couple weeks. Clear glass soup, sweet n sour chicken with fresh pineapple, curry, fried mushrooms and more. I felt like we had our own buffet honestly right in front of us. It was so delicious and after we were done with all of that our sweet waiter brought out fresh fruit! We just sat there knowing we were about to go into a food coma but it would be perfect to knock out and then wake up for our canoe trip the next morning.
The next morning we woke up bright and early at about 7AM so we had a couple hours before canoeing through the beautiful river. We ended up swinging and watching the clouds part ways with the mountains and the sun come out, listening to the birds. It was just a perfect morning spent in the jungle, somewhere I thought I’d never be. After a quiet morning we were told it was already breakfast time - again yes we were eating. There was home made banana bread (SO GOOD), toast with homemade jams, fresh fruit as always, Thai tea and coffee, eggs or a choice of omelette and more. We were completely full and ready to start our day canoeing..
After getting a ride down to the river only a short 10 minutes away we arrived to Tong - Our AMAZING tour guide. He was seriously the sweetest man we have ever met. Tong took us through the beautiful canyons of Khao Sok River at 9AM.. so hardly anybody was there. Telling us all about the different animals there, providing us with fish food to feed the ginormous fish in the river, took us hiking through a cave/temple. Then my favorite part: Cooked us up coffee in the middle of another cave. We were just paddling along and then he said we were going to stop for a coffee/tea break so of course Cierra and I were down, but also wondering how. No joke Tong cut down fresh bamboo and started shaving it and cutting it at an angle, brought out fresh water and poured it down there, started a fire with coconuts, then again cut bamboo into CUPS FOR US. I was sitting there jaw to the ground like “How did that all happen within 10 minutes”. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had, he carried only coffee and milk/sugar with him but everything else made from the jungle right infront of us. It was again the most unique experience I’ve had. We hung out here for awhile drinking our morning coffee amazed at what life had been the past week or so. 30 minutes flew by and then we were on our way back through the canyon..
It was about an hour and a half or two hour journey spent along the beautiful hills and river of Khao Sok with Tong. So it was a hard goodbye.. Our driver Aon took a picture of us at the beginning, us not thinking much of it.. Until we arrived back at our drop off place to her standing with a FRAMED PICTURE OF US WITH HIM. My heart melted it was the sweetest thing anybody could have done for us. We hugged Tong as he started his next journey with another group and said thank you because it was such a one in a lifetime experience. Aon took us back to Anurak making a couple stops along the way for us to take photos and tell us some stories of her childhood here. It just felt like we were talking to old friends on how easily we were able to connect with the staff here. We were already back at Anurak before we knew it.. Literally waiting it out until the last minute and we had to say goodbye. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been and had the chance to stay at. The staff was so helpful and kindhearted for anything you needed. They were the ones who helped me set up the canoe trip and they have plenty more excursions for if you stay longer. The location is only 15 minutes from the actual National Park and the town with all the bars, restaurants and shops. So you’re close enough to everything but far enough to feel like it’s just you and the beautiful views.
Again I just want to say thank you so much Anurak Community Lodge for having me and helping me make my dreams come true of exploring Khao Sok more in depth. It’s a time I’ll never forget.. I’ll definitely be back.
In the next post:
Cierra and I decided to actually stay longer in the jungle but right next to the national park. Where we explored one of the most beautiful places in Thailand.
As always though you guys
Thank you for being Lost in a Dream with me
With lots of love,