What you need to know about the (more luxurious) 2 days 1 night tour on Lake Khao Sok

(This article is also available in Dutch)

Are you considering staying overnight on Lake Cheow Lan? Most people remember this tour as “primitive,” but the good news is: it doesn’t have to be that way at all! You “just” have to book the right bungalow, and it’s only a few euros more expensive than the “primitive tour”.

In this article, I will give you all the practical information about this tour. I’ll explain how to book these more luxurious floating bungalows, what to expect from the excursion, about transit and what you need to bring with you to the lake. Do you have any questions after that? Feel free to ask them in the comments!

Be sure to read my travel diary about the ‘2 days 1 night Cheow Lan Lake tour, too. There I tell in detail about my personal experience during this excursion!

Where is Lake Khao Sok located?

In southern Thailand lies the beautiful Khao Sok National Park. This is one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests. The most accessible village near this park is Khlong Sok, also called Khao Sok village. From the village you can visit Khao Sok National Park, either alone or with a guide.

But there is also a large lake in Khao Sok: Cheow Lan Lake. This gigantic lake is a hour driving from the village of Khlong Sok.

You can take a day trip here, but even more fun is to stay on the lake and sleep in a floating bungalow.

There are different names for the same thing; I’ll name them again for clarity.

  • Khao Sok = the National Park, the rainforest.
  • Khao Sok Village = the village called Khlong Sok where you can also enter the National Park on foot.
  • Khao Sok Lake = the lake in Khao Sok, which is officially called Cheow Lan Lake and is an hour’s drive from Khlong Sok. The lake is also known as Rajjaprabha Dam Reservoir.

The vast majority of visitors spend the night in Khlong Sok, visit Khao Sok National Park on foot there and travel to Cheow Lan Lake the next day to spend the night in a floating bungalow.

What kind of floating bungalows can you find on Cheow Lan Lake?

You can spend the night on Cheow Lan Lake in a floating bungalow. There are different types of bungalows, from very primitive to super-luxurious.

Fortunately, these floating bungalow resorts are not all huddled together. Cheow Lan Lake is 185 km², so lots of chances you won’t even see other bungalows. We were almost “at the back” of the lake, but did not see any another resort. Rest guaranteed here!

You can book the floating cottages via a multi-day excursion. Like ‘2 days 1 night’ (2D1N) or ‘3 days 2 nights’ (3D2N). We did the 2 Days 1 Night tour and this article is based on this experience.

In most trip reports, you will read that staying on the lake is very primitive. That was definitely not our tour (see photo below, this is what our bungalow looked like). How to book these, you’ll read later.

Besides the regular tours, you also have some super deluxe floating bungalows that you can book without a tour. For example 500 Rai Floating Resort, Panvaree The Greenery and Panvaree Resort. These are beautiful accommodations, but the price is very high compared to an excursion. Often you also have to arrange your own transportation, which means another hour by cab.

What is included in the 2D1N tour?

When you choose a “2 days 1 night” tour on Lake Cheow Lan, you can expect the following.

Meals

These meals are included:

  • Day 1: lunch & dinner
  • Day 2: breakfast & lunch

What the “primitive” tour is like we don’t know, but on our tour there was food in abundance and not unimportant, it was really super tasty!

At dinner, we also got a performance of a traditional, Thai dance. Coffee, tea and water are included. Throughout the day, you are constantly offered new bottles of water.

Soft drinks and alcohol are not included; you can purchase them separately (cash).  Make sure to bring enough cash if you are planning to drink alcohol or soda, because there is no ATM.

 

Activities

These activities are included:

  • Day 1: jungle trekking & evening safari (boat ride)
  • Day 2: morning safari (boat ride), cave & view point
  • Optional: kayaking and swimming

The jungle trek is a hike where you go up a dry waterfall. This is not the most extraordinary hike, but cool to go through the jungle with the guide. This hike is not recommended with small children or people with walking difficulties. You can always stay at the resort. This applies to all activities, by the way; they are certainly not mandatory.

During the safaris, you will go by boat along the banks of the rainforest to spot wild life. Expect monkeys, toucans and if you are very lucky wild elephants.

In front of each bungalow is a kayak that you may use. But it’s not limited to these, if you are with two persons, you can have two. They do charge a deposit for the paddles, I thought about 100 baht, which you will get back when you turn in the paddles again. You may kayak and swim whenever you want, but you must get out of the water before sunset.

You visit the cave and view point on the way back. We have heard many experiences from people, it seems that there are two types of caves. One where there is a chance you will need to swim, and another where you will never have to swim. You visit that first cave on the cheaper “primitive” tour and the second on the slightly more expensive tour. Again, you don’t have to go into the cave if you don’t want to.

For a detailed report of my experience of the activities, read my Cheow Lan Lake travel diary.

 

Transportation

You will be picked up at your hotel in Khao Sok Village (Khlong Sok) and also brought back, this is about an hour’s drive. Also included is the boat from the pier to the floating bungalows, which is also about an hour boat ride away.

 

Overnight

And of course the overnight stay is included in your 2 days 1 night tour. If you choose the more luxurious bungalow, you will have a private bathroom and a lock on your door. I took all the photos in this article with that tour. If you go for the cheapest version, you get a shared bathroom and often no lock on your room.

Usually there is no air conditioning, but there is a fan. We didn’t even have the fan on, it was a perfect temperature on the water. Electricity is limited during the day, make sure you have charged batteries and a power bank. Still in urgent need of power? Then go to the common room where you can charge your devices. 

What does the tour and overnight stay on Lake Khao Sok cost?

The 2 days 1 nigh tour on Lake Cheow Lan will cost you 2,500 or 2,800 Thai baht per person. The price difference is in the bungalow:

  • 2,500 baht (€65) per person for a bungalow with shared bathroom, also called the “primitive” tour.
  • 2,800 baht (€73) per person for the more luxurious floating bungalow with private bathroom, as we described in this blog (travel diary) and you see in all the photos in this article.

Very occasionally it seems to happen that someone pays 2,500 baht and still gets a private bathroom. But if you really want to be 100% sure you have a private bathroom, you have to ask for it, and it usually costs 300 baht extra.

Reading the experiences of both tours, the 300 baht extra really does seem to be money well spent. For us, this was definitely one of our highlights in Thailand. Many people who did the cheaper tour were glad to be back on the mainland.

All in all, you get great value for money. An overnight stay you will never forget, 4 meals, transportation, 5 activities and your own kayak. And nice entertainment from the guide.

 

National Park fee

Most tours do not include the National Park Fee, which costs 220 baht per person. You will need to bring this money in cash, and it will be collected before you get on the boat.

Did you do the “night safari” the night before the excursion? Then you have already paid the National Park fee there and only have to pay an additional 50 baht on the day of the excursion.

How do you book the (more luxurious) floating bungalows on Khao Sok Lake?

Most people stay overnight in Khao Sok Village (Khlong Sok) and arrange the excursion through their hotel or in the village.

If you ask for a bungalow with private bathroom, chances are very high that you will get a (similar) more luxurious floating bungalow to the one you see in this article.

Do you want the tour and floating bungalows on Lake Cheow Lan that we describe in this travel blog and that you see in the photos above and below? Then we recommend the following:

  1. Book the night before your excursion at Khao Sok Jungle Huts Resort
  2. Make a reservation for the 2 days 1 night excursion on the lake with Jungle Huts Resort through Booking.com’s chat and mention that you want the floating bungalows with private bathroom. Optionally, you can also arrange it at check-in – but in high season, I wouldn’t wait.

If you opt for a floating bungalow without a private bathroom, then in most cases you do get a “primitive” bungalow with all tour organizations. Primitive in most cases means a shared bathroom that is not always clean, no lock on the door and no private terrace.

Below you can see the bungalow we got through Khao Sok Jungle Huts Resort with the 2 days 1 night tour of 2,800 baht per person. A private shower, toilet, 2 mattresses, a fan, see-through hatch and a balcony with 2 chairs and a lounger. Even though this is more luxurious, do not expect a 5-star hotel because it was not that either. But primitive it was by no means, the mattresses were even very comfortable for Thai standards.

Do you need to stay in Khlong Sok the night before the tour?

It is recommended to spend the night before and the night after the ‘2 days 1 night tour’ at Khao Sok Village. In fact, you will be picked up at your accommodation as early as around 9 a.m.

We stayed at Khao Sok Jungle Huts Resort and also booked this excursion through them (via Booking chat).

So we booked two separate nights through Booking, on day 1 and on day 3. On day 2, we did the excursion.

At Khao Sok Jungle Huts Resort, you can sleep in a jungle hut for as little as €21 a night. These are elevated bungalows, and you really feel like you’re in the jungle, including monkeys that stop by periodically.

The resort is also near the entrance to Khao Sok National Park, close to the river, restaurants, cafés and massage salons in the village. So, it is the perfect location. You can book Jungle Huts Resort here.

What should I bring to the Khao Sok tour?

You are NOT allowed to take your large backpack or suitcase on the lake. You can leave those at your accommodation or, if you travel on afterward, in a storage area near the lake.

So you need to bring a separate backpack to the lake. This was on our packing list:

Can you travel onward, directly after the Cheow Lan Lake tour?

If you wish, you can travel on to your next destination immediately after the excursion. Keep in mind that this excursion lasts until about 2 p.m. and most public transportation is out of service. Ideally, you should stay another night in Khlong Sok, but traveling on is certainly not impossible.

Planning to travel on? If so, mention this in advance to your hotel or where you booked the tour. Let them also arrange your transportation to the next destination. They make sure that when you go to the excursion, they stop along the way to put your large luggage in a safe place. It is not possible to take these to the lake. After the excursion, you will be picked up by a cab or minivan, retrieve your large luggage and be taken to your next destination.

We went to Koh Phangan the next day, but enjoyed staying another night in Khlong Sok. We came back totally zen and enjoyed another good massage and a drink in the village. Furthermore, we arranged our transportation to Koh Phangan through Khao Sok Jungle Huts Resort and were picked up at the resort by minibus the next morning.

So transit is definitely possible. Just keep in mind that it will be a very long travel day if you still have to go to one of the islands. Also, in most cases you have to opt for private transport because public transport leaves in the morning.