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Khao Sok Riverside Cottages
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Elephant Experience in Khao Sok National Park

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Visit us in Khao Sok and try out our jungle activities! Short Video from Canoe Trip ;)

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This Phallus indusiatus (also known by many other names like bamboo fungus, long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn, or bridal veil stinkhorn) was found on our property just a few days ago! This fungus is known for the beautiful veil-like structure descending from its cap as well as its contrasting awful smell, adapted to attract flies that will then distribute its spores.  
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Sabai Sabai Canoe

A few days after arriving at the Riverside Cottages, I went out on a late afternoon canoe tour with two fellow interns and several guests. This tour was the perfect opportunity to experience the Thai concept of “Sabai Sabai,” meaning easy going, comfortable and happy. The trip gave us a chance to relax, take in the sights and sounds of the surrounding jungle, and laugh, especially when the passing guides would splash our feet!  

On the way to the launch point, I kept my eyes glued on the scenery beyond the windows. The van passed towering mountains and green scenery in Khao Sok. Although I had been in Khao Sok for several days, the stunning beauty of the surrounding forest had not grown old to my eyes. At the launch point, we descended steps carved into a stone cliff to board the canoes, each with its own guide. 

Before embarking on the peaceful journey down the Phanom river in Khao Sok Park, our guide, King, handed us a small bag with fish food. Immediately after tossing a few pellets into the water, we understood why. Dozens of fish frenzied to get in on the feast! As someone who likes to take action shots, I was glad I had my camera in my waterproof bag! 

King paddled the canoe down river, while pointing out an assortment of wildlife along the river banks. On our trip, we spotted frogs, a kingfisher, several storks, a black and gold snake resting in a tree, and various fish. 

In the middle of our trip, King stopped paddling and pointed to a nearby cliff. He shouted, “Elephant head! Elephant head!” Sure enough, as we scoured the cliffside with our eyes, we spotted the “Elephant head” stalactite, an aptly named rock with what appears to be tusks and trunk. 

A minute later, we pulled over to take a swimming break along a quiet bank. While swimming, we noticed that the guides had plucked some leaves and branches. Each guide twisted and crafted the foliage into hats and beautiful headpieces for everyone!

Our journey ended at the bottom of the river, overlooking a prolific view of lofty mountains and lush landscape. Before heading back to the Riverside Cottages, we snapped a quick picture and grabbed some refreshments from some community vendors. A great aspect of this activity is that it is community based. Not only do the guides own their own canoes, but part of the proceeds from each canoe trip go to preserving the surrounding nature.

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Michelle McNamara is a Fulbright grantee teaching English in Northern Thailand. She has joined the team at the Riverside Cottages as an intern during her semester break. Michelle enjoys a heated game of beach volleyball, reading Harry Potter, and filling her free time with small projects and activities. 
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A Day Trip to Cheow Lan Lake: Part 1

We left Khao Sok Riverside Cottages around 9am with our swimsuits, sunscreen, waterproof bags, and cameras.  We admired the limestone mountains that we passed on our way.  The entire ride has an incredible landscape, I suggest getting a window seat, or sitting next to someone who doesn’t mind you leaning over to see the view outside.  

We arrived at the lake, paid the national park fee, and boarded a long-tail boat to get the trip started. 

Cheow Lan Lake’s landscape is gorgeous - steep limestone cliffs, small islands, evergreen rainforest trees, and emerald green water.  If one goes deeper into the jungle in the less traveled parts of the lake, you can find wildlife like tapirs, marble and civet cats, and elephants.  But, the chances of spotting these creatures is much higher on an overnight tour where you explore these more “off the beaten path” trails.

Having taught in Northern Thailand for the past five months, this was my first sightseeing venture in Southern Thailand.  The north at this time of year is very polluted because of burn season.  So riding on the long-tail boat surrounded by nature was a wonderful welcome to Southern Thailand.  The sun beating on my skin, the wind blowing through my hair, and being with good company -- what more could I ask for on my first days off from teaching up north?  

We stopped at Klong Ka Raft Houses for lunch and a swim where we met other travelers.  We got to be kids again.  Jumping off the platform, trying to do flips off the makeshift diving board, kayaking around, competitions to see who could tread water the longest, all the while discussing our time in Thailand and everyone’s favorite places so far.  Cheow Lan Lake quickly becoming one of mine.

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Written by Griffin Gosnell, a Fulbright grantee teaching English in Chiang Rai, Thailand. She is currently interning at the Khao Sok Riverside Cottages during her break from teaching.  She loves traveling, eating yummy vegetarian food, and smiling.  
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2015-03-31
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i love Khao Sok
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