But our favorite experience in Asia happened more recently…We had the opportunity to spend the night in a floating bungalow in Khao Sok National Park. Yeah, you read that right. A floating bungalow in the middle of the most beautiful lake that we’ve ever seen: Cheow Lan Lake.
It was an absolutely incredible experience and we want to break down exactly what you can expect if you too are interested in this experience.
What to Expect
If you enjoy staying in 5-star-hotels, then this is probably not the experience for you. The bungalows are extremely bare–each one has only a mattress, blankets, pillows, and a small front porch.
There is no A/C or fan, but you’ll find that everything cools off quite a bit after the sun goes down. Also, there is no power outlet so you won’t be able to charge your phone, camera, etc. Bring a portable battery charger if you anticipate needing to charge your devices.
There are about 50 individual floating bungalows, and they are all connected by wooden docks. There is a power generator that turns lights on after dark, but the generator turns off at 11 PM and everything gets dark. There is no WiFi and service is extremely spotty so don’t count on having any.
There are no locks on the bungalows. This means if you bring valuable belongings, like your passport, camera or phone, you should probably plan to have them with you at all times. It’s probably safe to leave them in the bungalows, but you never know.
There is one bathroom that is shared by all the bungalows. Don’t worry, there are 3 toilet stalls for women and 3 toilet stalls for men. There is running water, soap, and toilet paper! The bathrooms were pretty clean but depending on where your bungalow is, it can be quite a walk to get to the toilet.
At meal times, everyone sits down to enjoy the food together. Each tour group has family style dishes to share that are prepared fresh by the kitchen. It was a really great experience and it really helped our tour group bond.
After dinner, we all sat out on the dock and admired the stars. We even bought some beers and a bottle of rum to enjoy from one of the guys who works in the kitchen.
What To Bring
Your hotel should provide a list of what to bring for an overnight trip to the floating bungalows. But in case they don’t, here’s everything that you’ll need.
- Cash: You’ll need 300 Thai baht for the national park entrance fee. You may want additional money to buy drinks and snacks that are available for sale at the floating bungalows.
- Bug Spray: The bugs can get pretty bad at night so make sure you bring plenty of bug spray to avoid getting eaten alive.
- Sun Screen: You’ll spend most of the day in the sun and you don’t want to burn.
- A flashlight: The power generator turns off at 11 PM so if you need to use the bathroom, you’ll need a flashlight to navigate the wooden docks leading to the bathroom. A phone flashlight will work just fine.
- Bathing Suit: You get plenty of free time to swim, kayak and enjoy the lake.
- Sneakers: Most trip providers will take you on a hike so you don’t want to be stuck trekking up a mountain in flip flops.
- Toilet Paper: The bathrooms have a toilet paper dispenser outside the stalls, but it’s still nice to have. You can use it as tissues and what not in your bungalow.
- A Camera: You won’t believe the beautiful views out on the lake. You’ll definitely want a camera to capture everything.
How to Book a Night in Floating Bungalows
If you’re planning to spend the night in a floating bungalow, you’ll need to book the accommodation ahead of time. We stayed at the Khao Sok Riverside Cottages and they handled everything for us!
We arrived in the park and spent the night in a cottage along the river on the first night. The next day, they had a driver take our group to the lake. From there, it’s a 1 hour boat ride across the lake to the floating bungalows.
Our guide took us on wildlife tours, hikes, and everything in between. Plus, all the meals are included on the bungalows. And the cooks make a pretty good meal!
Most hotels in Khao Sok will offer a package so you can just contact your hotel to inquire about a package to spend the night on the lake. Prices vary depending on the package you book.
Spending the night in Khao Sok National Park in a floating bungalow is one of our favorite travel experiences. Ever.
That being said, it’s important to adjust your expectations and know what you’re heading into. This is not a 5-star-hotel. Your bungalow will have a clean place to sleep, and that’s about it. Also, it’s not completely sealed off to the elements so you may get some cute little geckos on your bungalow 🙂