Khao Sok Lake or Chiao Lan Lake behind the Ratchaprapha Dam is part of Khao Sok National Park in Surat Thani Province. The dam was completed in 1987 with the main objective to generate electricity. Due to its dramatic topography with beautiful mountains and a massive turquoise lake, the dam becomes a major tourist attraction in Southern Thailand. Khao Sok Lake has a countless number of limestone peaks and cliffs as well as grassy and verdant islets in different shapes and sizes amid the vast expanse of pristine emerald water which looks more like an open sea. This splendid landscape is similar to that of Guilin of China so the lake is also called “Guilin of Thailand”.
Khao Sok Lake offers plenty of things to do. What can’t be missed is taking a boat ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The highlight is the three limestone towers, known as “khao Sam Kloe”, standing majestically in the still emerald water. The view is very striking especially in the early morning when the towers are shrouded in mist. Other interesting activities include canoeing, fishing, swimming, taking a boat trip to Pakarang Cave and Nam Thalu Cave, hornbill watching and animal watching at night.
For trekkers, the trail to Thalu Cave is quite fascinating. You will have to cross the shallow stream a few times along this shady route. The water is so crystal clear that you could see the fish swim and there are a bunch of butterflies searching for food on the banks. Another popular activity in Khao Sok National Park is trekking to see “Bua Phut” (Rafflesia Kerrii Meijer). The flower can be found in Khao Sok’s forest. “Bua Phut” is a large flower, about 70-80 cm in diameter. It is a parasitic plant with reddish brown head emerging from the ground like a giant cabbage. It also has a nickname “Dok Sop”, meaning the corpse flower, as it has a very bad smell to attract insects. The plant needs 9 months to fully grow, but its blooming period lasts only 7 days, which happens between May and December.
Tourists can enjoy the magnificent scenery of Chiao Lan Lake in one day. However, most people want to spend a night or two here to rest and to go sightseeing. There are a range of private raft houses scattered on the lake. The owner of each place has the same intention to offer the close to nature accommodation for a real relaxing vacation on the lake.