Week 3 started still in Pathio, as we had extended our stay by 2 more days.
Chilling by a deserted beach with just a few food shacks was perfect & the place has a great local vibe, without western tourists.
But soon it was time to move on, & we caught the train this time to Surat Thani (the key location for backpackers catching the ferries to the islands).
Instead, we spilt our journey here overnight & were impressed by the small amount of he city we saw, away from backpackerville.
The next day we caught the bus transfer to Khao Sok, on the border of the National Park.
We wanted to visit Cheow Lan Lake, which we believed, was nearby (however it is actually between Khao Sok & Surat Thani).
As Khao Sok is geared up for tourists, the only way we could find to visit the lake was on a one day tour program.
Cheow Lan Lake
The stunning Cheow Lan lake is picturesque emerald water, lined by limestone cliffs.
Reminiscent of our visit to Hą Long Bay, in Vietnam, but much quieter & only accessible by traditional long-tail boat.
This magnificent man-made lake covers approximately 185 square kilometres.
Emerging from the cool water are limestone karsts, traces of a coral reef system that once stretched from Borneo to China. It was formed in 1982 by a shale-clay dam called Ratchaprabha.
Since it is tucked away in the midst of Khao Sok National Park – an area that remains relatively untouched and protected.
The surrounding rainforest is one of the oldest existing rainforests on the planet.
Our tour included: visit to market; tour of the lake by traditional long-tail boat; lunch, optional trek & cave hike (which involved trekking through chest height water, so I declined); canoing & swimming before returning back by boat. The tour cost 1500 baht each.
In hindsight the best part of the trip is the boat ride, through the beautiful scenery (& what we wanted in the first place). Maybe if we’d researched options from Surat Thani, we might have got something more tailored for the same price?
Nether the less, this place is stunning & not spoilt like Hą Long Bay in Vietnam, which is equally beautiful.
Khao Sok to Khao Lak
Time to move on, again by bus. This time we are headed back towards the tourist trail & the resort that is Khao Lak.
Khao Lak isn’t one place, but a stretch of villages with beautiful beaches, which are now collectively known under the name.
We were dropped at McDonald’s 😔 by the bus & realised our hotel was opposite.
The beach in this central part, is dominated by a string of large resorts & you can only seem to access it at either end (as they’ve claimed the beach for their residents).
Khao Lak was decimated by the Tsunami of 2004 & was therefore rebuilt after. The resorts pushing the small restaurants & hotels up to main road.
More on Khao Lak in Week 4.