Magnificent Cheow Lan Lake Tour & Khao Sok Floating Bungalows

Cheow Lan Lake Tour

Cheow Lan Lake is one of Thailand’s most beautiful wonders and the highlight of Khao Sok National Park. We recently took a tour to the famous Khao Sok Floating Bungalows on Cheow Lan Lake, and this article aims to provide all the information you’ll need to plan your own Cheow Lan Lake tour. I include the prices of a floating bungalow in Khao Sok National Park, what you can expect from a Cheow Lan Lake Tour, as well as how to book and what you’ll need to prepare.

Khao Sok National Park is one of the most underrated destinations in all of Thailand. The relatively untouched region is a dream for nature lovers, where limestone karsts and dense jungle adorn the landscape – queue Jurassic Park theme tune. It’s also where an amalgamation of wildlife including Gibbons, Malaysian Sun Bears, Asian Elephants and 300 species of birds have found sanctuary in the arms of the ancient rainforest.  

Then, of course, there is Cheow Lan Lake – A magnificent man-made lake covering approximately 185 square km. This captivating area is a sight to behold, where limestone karsts immerge from the emerald-blue waters, and you sail along blissfully to your Khao Sok floating bungalow. That said, you don’t need to stay overnight on a Cheow Lan Lake tour. You can opt for a day trip instead, which ensures you’ll be back to the comfort of your hotel by evening. Psst! If you would rather stay closer to Khao Sok town, we recommend Silver Cliff Resort, located in the heart of the jungle surrounded by elephants. It’s a gem!

In this article, I’ll walk you through both Cheow Lan Lake tour options so you can decide which tour is right for you. So let’s get to it!

Travelling to Khao Sok? Check out our comprehensive guide to Khao Sok National Park to help plan your trip.

Khao Sok Floating Bungalows on Cheow Lan Lake Tour

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About Cheow Lan Lake

Historically, Cheow Lan Lake started as a multi-purpose project to assist with power generation, flood control, irrigation, and fishery in the South of Thailand. It took almost a year to flood the lake, which is now one of the most picturesque tourist attractions in all of Thailand.

Development of the lake was a huge project and meant relocating hundreds of local families, as well as over a thousand animal species.  However, despite rescue attempts, the project proved catastrophic to local wildlife.

Naturally, the creation of the lake was met with mixed feelings; however, it has since proved to play an important role in sustaining local communities. The lake has provided opportunities to make a living from fishing, or by working in the tourism industry.

Not only that, despite the initial impact that the lake had on the animal population, it now provides a vital water source, and the local wildlife is once again rich and diverse.

Khao Sok Lake
Aerial View of Khao Sok Floating Bungalows

Cheow Lan Lake Tours

As I mentioned earlier, you have a couple of options when booking your Cheow Lan Lake tour. The most popular is an overnight tour where you will spend the night in the famous Khao Sok floating bungalows. Your other option is to take a day tour to Cheow Lan Lake – which means you’ll spend the entire day on the lake, and return to your hotel by evening.  

I’ll walk you through the pros & cons of each below, as well as prices and what to expect. By the end, you should have a better idea of which Cheow Lan Lake tour is right for you. 

Option 1 – Day Tour to Cheow Lan Lake 

The cheapest option to visit Cheow Lan Lake is to take a day trip. You’ll spend the day taking in the fantastic scenery, hiking through the jungle, exploring a cave, swimming in the lake, and relaxing by the Khao Sok floating bungalows.  

Day Tour Itinerary

After being collected from your hotel in Khao Sok (around 8.30 am), you will drive for approx. 1-hour to Takun pier where your adventure begins. Along the way, you will stop off at a local market where you have the opportunity to buy drinks or snacks. If you’re staying the night at the Khao Sok floating bungalows, it’s worth having some supplies such as beer and snacks for the evening time. 

Upon arrival at the pier, you’ll climb aboard a traditional long-tail boat and embark on a stunning safari through the lake. Prepare for your jaw to drop to the floor, as you drift through beautiful emerald water, surrounded by mesmerising limestone karsts and islets. You will make a stop or two along the way, where you’ll have the opportunity to take photos.

Cheow Lan Lake
Magical Cheow Lan Lake Tour in Khao Sok

In around 1-hour, you will reach the floating bungalows. You will have a little bit of time to take a dip in the refreshing lake or relax, before having a traditional Thai lunch around noon. After lunch, you have two options. You can stay around the lake or go on an adventurous trek through the jungle to a hidden cave.  

The trek is around 2-hours and suitable for most levels of fitness. Along the way, your guide will educate you on the wildlife and flora & fauna that exists in the Khao Sok National Park. Eventually, you will reach Tam Nam Lu Cave, where you’ll wade through chest-high water and encounter all kinds of obstacles and creepy crawlies – yikes! 

After the hike, you’ll return to the floating bungalow to collect any belongings and make the journey back to your hotel in Khao Sok.

Group Tour Price: THB 1,500 ($47/£38) – Please note this is just a guideline. Prices may vary depending on where you book.

*A group tour means that you will be sharing the experience with other people. If you want to organise a private tour, you can discuss this at the time of booking.

What’s Included
  • Transfer to/from Khao Sok.
  • Meals (lunch)
  • Local Guide.
  • All activities.
  • Drinking water.
What’s Not Included
  • Additional drinks or snacks.
  • National Park Entry Fee (THB 320 – $10/£8)
What to Bring
  • Change of clothes – Your clothes are likely to get very dirty on the hike, so I suggest packing some fresh clothes for the journey home.
  • Waterproof Dry Bag – For your valuables when hiking or exploring the cave. When we went through the cave, the water was shoulder height!  
  • Sensible footwear for hiking – boots or trainers. No flip flops!
  • Swimwear – For swimming in the lake. 
  • Towel – To dry you off.
  •  Sunscreen.
  • Mosquito Spray – You’ll thank me for this as evening comes.
  • Camera & Go Pro – There’s plenty of picture-perfect moments you’ll want to capture.
  • Flashlight – For exploring the cave. The guides have some but not enough for everybody. And trust me, you’ll need one.
  • Cash – For the National Park entrance fee and any other extras.
  • Snacks and Alcohol
khaosok
Having fun at Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok

Option 2 – Overnight Cheow Lan Lake Tour in Floating Bungalow

An overnight tour to Cheow Lan Lake is arguably the best way to experience the beauty of the lake. Not only will you take part in all the fun activities such as trekking and caving, but naturally, you have more time to take everything in. It means you can swim or kayak in the lake, or simply relax in your Khao Sok floating bungalow and marvel the unparalleled views.

Unless you pay a premium rate, the standard floating bungalows are quite basic. They include a double mattress on the floor, no electricity, and a shared bathroom. But honestly, to fall asleep beneath the stars listening to the natural hum of the jungle is a humbling experience. You will welcome the simplicity that matches that of your surroundings. 

Overnight Tour Itinerary

The itinerary for the overnight Cheow Lan Lake tour is the same as the day trip; however, instead of returning to Khao Sok, you will go to your floating bungalow. You will have some time to relax, swim, or kayak, before enjoying a traditional Thai dinner and drinks in the peaceful atmosphere of the lake. If you are lucky to have a clear sky, the isolated location of the lake allows some wonderful stargazing opportunities.  

While the beds are not so comfortable in the bungalows, you should have no trouble falling asleep listening to the hypnotising sounds of nature. Here’s hoping anyway as you’ll be up nice and early for another long-tail safari. Morning is a great time to see birds and wildlife, so watch out for gibbons, macaque monkeys, and dusky langurs.  

After the safari, you’ll return one last time to the floating bungalows, where a delicious breakfast will be waiting for you. You’ll then have some more time to relax or swim, before making the journey back to Khao Sok.

Group Tour Price: THB 2,600 ($82/£65) – Please note this is just a guideline. Prices may vary depending on where you book.

*A group tour means that you will be sharing the experience with other people. If you want to organise a private tour, you can discuss this at the time of booking.

Khao Sok Floating Bungalows
Standard Khao Sok Floating Bungalows
What’s Included
  • Transfer to/from Khao Sok.
  • Overnight Stay in Khao Sok floating bungalow.
  • Meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch). If you have allergies or dietary requirements, it may be best to mention them when you book your tour.
  • Local Guide.
  • All activities.
  • Drinking water.
What’s Not Included
  • Additional drinks or snacks.
  • National Park Entry Fee (THB 320 – $10/£8)
What to Bring
  • Change of clothes – Your clothes are likely to get very dirty on the first day, so I suggest packing some fresh clothes for the journey home.
  • Waterproof Dry Bag – For your valuables when hiking or exploring the cave. When we went through the cave, the water was shoulder height!  
  • Sensible footwear for hiking – boots or trainers. No flip flops!
  • Swimwear – For swimming in the lake. 
  • Towel – To dry you off.
  •  Sunscreen.
  • Mosquito Spray – You’ll thank me for this as evening comes.
  • Camera & Go Pro – There’s plenty of picture-perfect moments you’ll want to capture.
  • Flashlight – For exploring the cave. The guides have some but not enough for everybody. And trust me, you’ll need one.
  • Cash – For the National Park entrance fee and any other extras.
  • Snacks and Alcohol
Luxury Khao Sok Floating Bungalows
Luxury Khao Sok Floating Bungalows

How to book your Cheow Lan Lake Tour Experience

Book the right tour for you using the Get Your Guide widget below:

Our Cheow Lan Lake Tour Experience

At the time of our Cheow Lan Lake Tour, we were doing a Workaway at a hotel in Khao Sok. The owner was kind enough to gift us with the experience, which suggests we must have been doing a pretty good job! Anyhow, it meant we were only able to make the day trip, rather than spend the night at the Khao Sok floating bungalows. But while it would have been magical to spend the night, we still had the most fantastic experience.  

First of all, we were fortunate to have a funny and charismatic guide. Much to my regret, I do not remember his name, but we knew right away that it would be an exciting day. By this point, we had been in Khao Sok for over a week. We were already madly in love with the prehistoric landscapes, and couldn’t wait to lay our eyes on ‘the jewel of Khao Sok‘.

That’s precisely what Cheow Lan Lake is. A hidden gem that’s undoubtedly the highlight of the Khao Sok National Park. It’s staggering to think that somewhere so mesmerising is man-made and unfathomable to imagine how it came to fruition. We looked on in awe as we drifted through dazzling emerald waters, past towering limestone karsts adorned in lush green vegetation.  

There was some time to take photos, but not much considering there was over a dozen of us on the boat. If you’re an Instagrammer or Influencer, you may want to consider a private tour, so you have more time to nail the perfect shot. There’s plenty of opportunities there, but you would benefit from the extra space and time for sure.

Khao Sok Gay Lesbian LGBT Thailand
Us enjoying the Cheow Lan Lake Tour

Khao Sok Floating Bungalows

We arrived at the Khao Sok Floating Bungalows around 11 am, which meant we had a little over an hour to enjoy the lake. There were some high boards that we could dive off and kayaks for if we wanted to venture out. We decided on a gentle swim in the lake and took in the serenity of our surroundings. We had a peek inside one of the floating bungalows, and while certainly basic, we agreed it would make for a romantic evening. 

Soon enough, it was lunchtime, and we enjoyed a delectable feast of beautiful Thai cuisine. There was a good mix of fresh seafood, meats, and veggies, but if you have dietary requirements or allergies, it may be best to mention it at the time of booking.  

After lunch, our guide gave us two options. We could stay around the lake and enjoy the facilities, or we could join him on a trek to find a hidden cave in the jungle. For us, there was no question. We love trekking and were curious about the cave. But I can’t deny it was tempting to spend the afternoon relaxing around the lake.  

Jungle Trekking and Caving at Cheow Lan Lake

The trek to Tam Nam Lu Cave took about 2-hours. With mostly flat terrain and few obstacles, I would say the hike was easy to moderate. In other words, it is suitable for most fitness levels. Along the way, our guide kept us entertained with funny stories, history about Khao Sok, and his superhuman vision. Honestly, this guys eye for wildlife was second to none. Thanks to him, we saw snakes wrapped around trees, monstrous spiders on webs, and even a handful of cheeky monkeys.  

Next, it was time to brave the cave. We’d been pre-warned about the cave and was already expecting it to be a hairy experience. So we weren’t surprised when we had to wade through chest-high water and climb over obstacles. It isn’t a strenuous activity as such, but if you are claustrophobic, not so confident in the water, or afraid of spiders, you might find exploring the cave quite challenging. You’ll also need a dry bag for your valuables, and I’d recommend taking a go pro if you want to snap some photos or video footage.  

All in all, the caving adventure lasted around 1-hour. It was a pretty wild & unique experience, and other than the creepy crawlies, we really loved it. After that, we made our way back to the floating bungalows, and the arrival of our long-tail boat signalled it was time to make our way back to Khao Sok. 

Conclusion

Our day trip to Cheow Lan Lake is one of the highlights of our Thailand travels. And although we didn’t get a chance to stay at the Khao Sok floating bungalows, we thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring the National Park. If you would like to stay closer to Khao Sok town, we recommend Silver Cliff Resort, located in the heart of the jungle surrounded by elephants. So if you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I encourage you to save this article and add a Cheow Lan Lake tour to your list of things to do. Feel free to book your experience using the Get you Guide widget below:

Cheow Lan Lake Tour

Thank you for Reading!

That concludes our guide to the Magnificent Cheow Lan Lake Tour & Khao Sok Floating Bungalows.  If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below, or through our contact us page. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here, where we share further travel advice & inspiration.

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

Charlotte & Natalie x

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