Jungle exploration is often high up on the list of excursions visitors to Thailand want to experience, as the region is famous for its abundance of wildlife and stunning natural landscapes. Here at The Sarojin, we’re lucky enough to neighbour a number of National Parks dedicated to protecting these habitats, many of which you can visit during your stay for an unforgettable journey into the wild.
One must-see location if you’re a budding explorer is the Khao Sok National Park, which is just over an hour’s drive from our residence. The park is home to what is widely recognised as one the world´s oldest evergreen rainforests, complete with majestic waterfalls, striking limestone cliffs and an array of rare plants and wildlife. If that wasn’t enough, on a visit to the nature reserve you can also admire the breathtaking man-made Cheow Larn Lake and Ratchaprapha Dam, which sit in the heart of the park.
The origins of Ratchaprapha Dam and Cheow Larn Lake
Ratchaprapha Dam and Cheow Larn Lake are often referred to as some of Khao Sok National Park’s most treasured landmarks, so it’s hard to believe that just 40 years ago they didn’t exist…
In 1982, the Ratchaprapha Dam was constructed for flood control, irrigation and fishing – but the pioneering project also generated renewable hydroelectric power for the surrounding region, which to this day still delivers power to much of Southern Thailand. As part of the development of the dam, what was once a vast valley of rainforest was transformed into a precious reservoir of fresh water, now known as Cheow Larn Lake, which stretches 30 kilometres long.
Khao Sok National Park now flourishes with a diverse range of wildlife and plants, many of which are rare and native to the area. Most of the land around the lake is inaccessible and designated as a wildlife sanctuary, so the best way to explore the region is by boat. Remember to pack your binoculars as from the lake you can spot majestic wild elephants, cats, shy mouse deer and even one of the rarest bears in the world – the Malayan bun bear. Submerged in the water across the lake, you can also see the tops of the trees which once stood in the valley, which act as a striking reminder that the entire reservoir is completely man-made.
Part tropical and part evergreen forest, the National Park is also home to a wide range of interesting flora including the vibrant red rafflesia arnoldii flowers – one of the world’s biggest blooms! While the plant looks stunning, we advise you to sit back, relax and enjoy it from a distance as those brave enough to get up close will realise the plant is not just famous for its aesthetics – as it’s also known to exude a strong and rather unpleasant smell!
Getting there in style
To help you discover the beauty of Cheow Larn Lake and the Ratchaprapha Dam in style, our ´Ratchaprapha Dam Jungle Excursion´ offers the perfect jungle adventure…
Departing from The Sarojin early in the morning by private car, once at Ratchaprapha Dam you will cruise the emerald waters of Cheow Larn Lake in a traditional Thai longtail boat, followed by lunch at a floating raft house. Here there will be plenty of time to take a dip in the lake or even kayak… the choice is yours! After lunch you will continue the cruise experience and visit Thailand´s very own ‘Guilin’, a hauntingly beautiful remnant of an ancient coral reef affectionately named after the famous Chinese city of dramatic limestone karst hills, with a return journey back to the hotel in time for dinner.
Prices start from THB 6,800 per person and excursions can be booked with our team at The Sarojin or prior to arrival.