Welcome to Part 2 of my Travel Memories series as I prepare for my departure in June! To read Part 1, which tells about my Bungee Jumping experience in Switzerland, click here!
I am a proponent of research; there is nothing I like more than a fat pile of books on a subject, waiting to have notes taken from them (obviously I'm a sick, sick person). This balances nicely with Chris's fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, plans-what-plans style of travel. When I was researching our trip to Thailand, one phrase grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go: Floating Raft Houses. Specifically, floating raft houses inside of Khao Sok National Park, on Chieow Laan Lake.
Our kayak and the view from the doorway of our 'house.'
A rickety old bus picked us up from the entrance of the National Park and drove us to the dock, where we were grabbed by a crew in a small motor boat. We were zipped through a series of connected lakes, past towering cliffs and the occasional monkey, before arriving at our destination: Hello, Lake Houses!
The floating 'houses' on Chieow Laan Lake were all connected together.
The houses were truly floating in the middle of the lake, strung together with rope and a small wooden pathway, connected at one end to land. Opening our front door, instead of lawn, a hallway, or concrete, spread a beautiful expanse of warm teal water. For lunch, a small restaurant served fish caught from the backdoor and local fruit.
The main gathering area for the floating houses, where the meals were served.
One afternoon, Chris and I decided that we wanted to kayak into the rainforest through one of the small streams that fed into the lake. A log lay over the entrance and to pass under it we leaned back, shoulder blades against the top of the kayak. The small stream unfurled to become a hidden, still body of water, enclosed by the jungle. Our boat glided to a stop and we rested. As we remained still, the wildlife decided to ignore us and a troop of monkeys swung into view! They played over our heads until, stomachs grumbling, we decided that it was time to head back for dinner. As we started to move the monkeys froze, then startled and within seconds there was no sign of them.
Sunset on Ko Tao--another beautiful sight in Thailand!
Despite the fact that the rafts are marketed as a tourist attraction, they remain one of my best experiences in Thailand where I could both escape being seen as a tourist and feel peaceful. Once again, research pays off!