Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok Thailand

Night on Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok (with Kids)

We were woken up at dawn to the cries of gibbons from the neighbouring island. All around us was emerald-green water and in the distance we could see limestone cliffs sticking out of Cheow Lan Lake in the morning mist. 

With a mug of coffee, we boarded the long tail boat and headed out for a morning safari. And so began one of the most magical mornings of our lives, following a night spent on Cheow Lan Lake.

Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok Park

Cheow Lan Lake is located within the Khao Sok National Park in Thailand and covers an area of almost 170 square kilometres. The lake was created after the construction of the Ratchaprapa Dam on the Klong Saen River. Construction of the dam began in 1982 and its purpose was to provide a stable electricity supply to southern Thailand and to control regional flooding. 

The site is famous for its scenic and breathtaking landscapes formed by limestone cliffs standing out over the emerald-green surface of the lake.  

Cheow Lan Lake tour itinerary

After a stay in Khao Sok park we decided to spend another day and night on Cheow Lan Lake as part of a trip with the Our Jungle Camp*. Because of the children, I decided to take a private tour. The private trip is more expensive, but it offers more flexibility and the opportunity to choose where to stay in different price ranges.

We could select a hotel out of 4 options and we chose the lake house with a family room and its own bathroom. Ultimately, we stayed overnight at Kee Ree Wan Rafthouse. Below is the general itinerary of our trip and the details are described later.

*) The hotel stay and activities we participated in are part of the collaboration. 

Day 1

  • Departure in the morning from the hotel to Rachaprapa Dam Pier
  • Lake cruise
  • Check-in and lunch at the hotel
  • Free time
  • Afternoon excursion and evening cruise on the lake
  • Dinner

Day 2

  • Morning safari at 6.30 a.m. 
  • Breakfast
  • Free time 
  • Return to the marina

The impressions of overnight stay on Cheow Lan Lake with kids

Getting from our hotel in Khao Sok Village to Rachaprapa Marina took us about an hour. We left the car in the car park and walked down to the marina together with our guide. There are shops, food stalls and toilets at the marina in case you need anything. 

Then we boarded our boat and went for a cruise on the lake towards our floating house.  

Cheow Lan Lake cruise trip

Khao Sok with children trip to Cheow Lan Lake with children

It took us about 40 minutes to get to the hotel and during the cruise we were able to see the prettiest parts of the lake together with the distinctive viewpoint with the three rocks of Khao Sam Kler (sam kler means three friends in southern Thai dialect).

The view of the tall and plant-covered cliffs standing out from the emerald-green water was insanely beautiful.

Cheow Lan Lake Thailand
Khao Sam Kler on Cheow Lan Lake

Kee Ree Warin Rafthouse

Noc na jeziorze Cheow lan lake Khao Sok z dziećmi

After the cruise, we finally arrived at our destination. Even from a distance, the lake houses looked very good.We stayed in a two-storey cottage with a private bathroom and terrace. The room amenities included water, a fan, life jackets and kayaks.

The cabin was modestly furnished but very pretty. Through a glass panel in the floor you could admire the intensely green lake.

Shortly after checking in, we went to the lunch that had been prepared for us. There was so much food that we were not able to eat everything. We got a mild soup for the kids, fried chicken, curry, noodle and vegetable salad and fruit for dessert. We were given a similar set for dinner. The dishes were not spicy and suitable for children.

Later we had free time, which we spent having refreshing fun in the water. The lifejackets we got were in quite large sizes, so it is advisable for smaller children to bring their own lifejackets or other swimming gears.

Lunch at Kee Ree Warin
Swimming in the lake at Khao Sok with children Thailand with kids
Swimming in the lake

The night in the house passed peacefully and the lack of air conditioning didn't bother us too much because we had two fans. Mosquitoes were also not a problem, we practically did not notice their presence.

Khao Sok jungle hike and Cheow Lan Lake cruise

Chewo Lan Lake Khao Sok Tajlandia domek na wodzie
Long tail boat

At around 3pm we boarded our long tail boat and sailed with our guide for a jungle tour.

The trek through the jungle was not long, as it took us about an hour. However, the route required quite a bit of effort, as half of the way led uphill along the riverbed and waterfall, through dense forest and stones. It was hot and muggy, but fortunately we were in the shade the entire time.

The children did surprisingly well and had a lot of fun in the jungle. The best part was swinging on the liana and jumping over the stream.

The jungle at Khao Sok is full of vegetation and animals. The guide explained which plants should not be touched, where scorpions usually like to hide and where to find fresh and safe drinking water in the jungle.  

Thailand with child Khao Sok jungle
Khao Sok jungle trekking

Coming back from the trek, we headed straight for an evening safari around the lake in search of animals. Although we hoped for an encounter with elephants, this time it didn't work out. Instead, we succeeded in seeing an Asiatic black bear and a herd of monkeys.

We returned just after sunset, straight for dinner. Right after dinner, exhausted, we headed to bed very early, because at sunrise another adventure awaited us.

Sunset on the lake

Morning safari on the Khao Sok lake

Poranne safari w Khao Sok
Morning on Cheow Lan Lake

Immediately after waking up, we went out onto the terrace to listen to the calls of the gibbons on the neighboring island. We dressed quickly, grabbed a coffee on the way and jumped into the boat at 6.30am. The guide kept a watchful eye on passing islands, looking out for animals. 

We came across gibbons and a very large herd of macaques with many babies (southern pig-tailed macaque). The guide said we were lucky because this was the largest herd of this species he had ever seen in the area.

We also saw signs of buffaloes and water monitor swimming towards the island.

After about an hour, hungry and happy, we returned to the hotel for breakfast. Shortly after 9am, packed up, we set off towards the marina to head to Krabi this time. 

Thailand Khao Sok with child
Looking out for monkeys
Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok
Perfect reflection

Cheow Lan Lake trip - practical information

Cheow Lan Lake trip cost

The exact cost of a trip depends on the duration and the programme. Individual tours are generally more expensive than group tours. 

I present indicative prices for tours offered by various hotels and travel agencies. Additional charges should be added to each, as listed below.

Cost of a day trip

  • Group tour prices start from 1500 THB per person.
    The cost includes a guided boat trip, lunch, jungle activity, transport to the hotel within the park.

Price of two-day trip with overnight stay at Cheow Lan Lake

  • A group trip costs from 2500 THB per person. 
    The price includes food and accommodation on the lake, jungle activities, guided safaris and transport to the hotel.
  • A private tour costs from 3300 THB to 10000 THB per person depending on the hotel chosen. The larger the group, the less you pay per person.
  • children under 10 years of age often have a discount

Cost of three-day trip with overnight stay at Cheow Lan Lake

  • A group trip costs from 3000 THB per person. 
    The price includes food and accommodation on the lake, jungle activities, guided safaris and transport to the hotel.
  • A private tour costs from 4000 THB to 17000 THB per person depending on the hotel chosen. The larger the group, the less you pay per person.
  • children under 10 years of age often have a discount

Additional charges

Additional charges are not included in the cost of the tour:

  • Admission to Khao Sok National Park
    200 THB per adult, 100 THB per child (3-14 years old). The park entrance fee is a one-off, keep your ticket.
  • Additional charge for marina cleaning:
    20 THB per adult, 10 THB per child

When to go to Khao Sok

The best time to visit Khao Sok and take a tour of Cheow Lan Lake is outside the rainy season, which is between December and April. Khao Sok is located in Surat Thani province and you can check the weather in this province in the post Best Time to Visit Thailand. Weather in Thailand

Khao Sok with children trip to Cheow Lan Lake with children

Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok with children Thailand with child

Is a trip to Cheow Lan Lake with kids a good idea? In our opinion, yes! The children had a great time. However, it all depends on your child's age, behaviour and endurance to this kind of activity. 

Such a trip involves a minimum of several hours on a boat, which can be boring and tiring for the child. It also involves trekking through the jungle and keeping an eye on a small child to make sure it does not fall into the water. 

In my opinion, children over the age of 4 will enjoy the lake trip the most, but I have seen some families with toddlers.

Out of reach

There is practically no signal coverage in the lake area, also there are restrictions on electricity. If one dreams of escaping from the informational hustle and bustle, a stay at Cheow Lan Lake is ideal for this.

What to bring and how to pack

For a trip to the lake, prepare as you would for a trek and don't forget to bring your swimming gear too:

  • Swimwear - I recommend those with UV filters
  • Lightweight functional jumper with UV filter 
  • Long trousers for trekking through the jungle
  • Sun hat
  • Comfortable trekking shoes and flip-flops for the water
  • Socks
  • Towel (we had one provided at the hotel, but it's worth having one of your own)
  • Change of clothes
  • The flashlight
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit 
  • Water-resistant bag
  • Rain coat (for the rainy season)
  • Powerbank
  • Baby carrier if you are travelling with small children

If you are travelling with suitcases, I recommend taking for a trip only a backpack and packing the essentials there. You can leave the rest of your belongings and suitcases in the hotel's storage room.

How to get to Cheow Lan Lake

Although the lake is located within Khao Sok Park, accessing it requires reaching Rachaprapa Marina, from where boats depart. The marina is more than 60km from the national park headquarters at Khao Sok Village. It is possible to reach the lake itself without visiting Khao Sok Village.

Distances from the nearest airports to the marina, are as follows:

  • Surat Thani: 67 km
  • Krabi: 161 km
  • Phuket: 208 km

Don't miss the blog post about another very interesting lake in Thailand

Bueng bua lotosowe jezioro
Bueng Bua - stunning lotus lake

Pink lotuses blooming in the shadow of the huge Khao Sam Roi Yot mountain...

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