We picked up guests from other resorts to complete our group of 11 people plus guide for our trip to Cheow Lan Lake. The minibus stopped at a street market where we bought a second head lamp since we would pass through Nam Talu cave as part of the tour. After we arrived at the lake we boarded a long-tail boat and the actual lake trip started.

Cheow Lan Lake features an almost Scandinavian looking landscape with sheer limestone cliffs, many small islands and fjord-like bays. In the jungle at the more remote parts of the lake wildlife such as tapir, elephant, marble and civet cat, serow and gaur can be found. However, chances to spot these animals are way better when doing overnight tours to be able to get to these remote parts of the lake.

Our first stop was at the Tone Toey raft houses - swimming huts designed also for staying overnight. While the rest of the group jumped into the lake we could watch long-tailed macaques cleverly snatching kitchen scraps.
After lunch part of our group decided to stay at the raft houses and to do some canoeing, while we went up a side arm of the lake by long-tail to the starting point of our jungle trek. On our one hour trek to the Nam Talu Cave we saw palm-sized butterflies swarming along small streams and other small animals and insects.

We followed a small stream coming out of the cave and soon the only light was that from our head lamps. We saw bats, spiders and crabs in the dark.

Towards the end of Nam Talu cave the water level rose higher and higher until we had to wade waist-deep through the cool water. The last few meters we even had to swim so all in all this definitely is nothing  for chickenhearted people!

The wading in the steadily rising water was not that easy because one could not see the stony and uneven ground. Unfortunately my already damaged sandal then gave out completely so I had to finish barefoot again.

After swimming the last few meters we had finally reached the exit and saw daylight again. Through the jungle we returned to our boat.Back at the raft houses sweet snacks and some fruit like melon and pineapple awaited us. We dried our wet clothes in the sun and jumped into the lake for a wonderful swim. We could also watch spectacled langurs near the raft houses. The babies of this grey monkeys are orange-colored!

It was a very good trip and we almost regretted not having set aside more time for the Khao Sok NP. An overnight trip might have been a good opportunity to even see more wildlife and maybe watch some hornbills.When we arrived back at the resort our guide told us that one of the Rafflesia was in full bloom at present, and that this particular one had 8 petals instead of the regular 5. Since I had wanted to see one of these flowers anyway we booked a Rafflesia tour for tomorrow.Read more about Markus' travel stories on his blog.

Thank you for visiting Markus, and for sharing your written and pictural memories.

Bodhi Garret
Bodhi Garret Bodhi and his family have made Thailand and Khao Sok National Park their home for more than a decade.