Cheow Lan Lake is man-made and surrounded by mountains and rainforest. It was made by the flooding of a large valley in 1982 for the hydro-electric power station.
The best time to visit this fantastic region is the dry season from December to late April. It’s Thailand’s wettest region with an annual rainfall of 3.500 mm. The reason is the limestone mountain range from north to south. It gets hit by the monsoons from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand between late April and end of November. In the rainy season, it’s very rare to spot wildlife at the lake. Trails are slippery; it’s cold and wet on the one or two hours boat rides. The famous Nam Talu Cave is closed in the rainy season since it got flooded and people died.
The boat tours which are usually offered are for bigger groups, and it takes around an hour to get to one of the raft houses. These groups visit the easy accessible Coral Cave (Pakarang Cave) mostly as we did instead of the adventurous water flooded Nam Talu Cave. Ask before booking! Overall these trips are utterly worth to do to get an idea of the immense size of the lake. The price p.p. in a group for one day visit is roughly 1.500 Baht / 40 € / $ 45 plus 300 Baht / 8 € / 9 $ National Park fee.
The dry season lasts from December to late April. Anyway, showers can also occur in the dry season and especially in the rainforest. The hottest months are March and April with temps up to 34°C and even more and high humidity. The rainy season starts roughly late April until the end of November. Most precipitation from May to July and from October to November.
The lake pier is always crowded, but as soon as the longtail boat leaves the dock, the crowds disappear. There are plenty of boats with tourists, but they have good timing not too many people visit one of the caves at the same time. Lunch is served on one of the many floating raft houses. It was very well organized that people can enjoy the marvellous scenery.
To experience the amazing rainforest, wildlife, and birds it's recommended to book a private tour far to the north-west. To get there, it takes a minimum of two hours by boat. The only available accommodation is basic and running by the National Park. Early morning you may spot wildlife by boat along the lake. Of course, independent tours are expensive and need to be booked in advance. Another option book a combined tour where the Khao Sok and the Cheow Lan Lake are combined. You get a pick up from your hotel in Krabi, Phuket, or Khao Sok and experienced guides will show you the amazing rainforest and lake. You can relax and enjoy this fascinating landscape.
The Khao Sok National Park was established in 1980 to protect one of the oldest rainforests in the world and covers an area of 739 km2.
It’s Thailand’s wettest region with an annual rainfall of 3.500 mm. The reason is the limestone mountain range from north to south. It gets hit by the monsoons from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand between late April and end of November. Therefore, the driest months are December to April and the most popular ones.
Take a refreshing bath
The dry season last from December to late April. Anyway, showers can also occur in the dry season and especially in the rainforest. The hottest months with high humidity are March and April with temps around 34°C. The rainy season starts late April and lasts until the end of November. Most precipitation from May to July and from October to November.
It's pretty busy around the visitor center, and it takes some time to purchase the entrance ticket for 300 Baht / roughly 8 € / 9 $. The ticket is valid for 24 hours. As soon as you start hiking deep into the jungle the crowds thin out. At the beginning of the Ton Gloy Waterfall Trail, it's pretty crowded, but also along this popular hike, fewer people are along the trail after around an hour hiking.
Seasons in the Khao Sok Rainforest
- To experience the vivid rainforest May is the best month.
- For birding, the monsoon season is the best time when they spread out and the very best month is May when the mating season starts. The dry season is not recommended for birding.
- For hiking, the dry season might be the best time. The trails are slippery after heavy rainfall and some parts are closed during the rainy season.
- Rafflesia Kerrii is in bloom between January and March for about 5 days only. Very difficult to predict.
- More mosquitos during the rainy season and leeches are on the forest floor at least until November.