Cheow Lan Lake was built in 1982, covering an area as large as 165 sq km. Located in Khao Sok, it took an hour ride from Surat Thani to reach its Rajjaprabha Pier. As it was a national protected territory, nothing was allowed to be built on the land surrounding the lake. However, floating houses were allowed. There are several tour packages. Tourists should definitely stay at least one night on these houses, although there are alternative day trip. Advice: Stay one night.
My friend and I stayed in Smiley Lake House on May 27, 2015. We were so lucky that we were the only two guests for the Lake House. There were 6 the night before and 44 guests the night after. Usually, Smiley Lake House would want to have more than just 2 guests to be in operation for the day, but I guess my friend and I were just lucky. It was a quiet evening and serene morning. The 2D1N package cost us 2500baht per pax, which included the van pick-up from Smiley Bungalow, the boat ride, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, free water, coffee/tea, evening and morning safaris on the boat, free canoes and caving or viewpoint trekking. We took the rare viewpoint trekking. Be prepared to be pampered by good food. It was sooooooo good!
As we did not have any vehicle and wanted only budget trip, we did research and came up with an easy access to the lake. Arriving at Surat Thani airport, we took the shared van to Surat Thani Railway train. At the train station, ask around for the stop for the local bus to Khao Sok. The helpful Thais would point out the way. We bought our cheap 120baht per pax ticket and waited for the bus, which arrived shortly. It was an old bus but what was impressive was that it had a workable and fast wifi connection. Tell the bus conductor that you wish to get down at Khao Sok. Around 2 hours later, we reached our destination – a dead, boring town of Khao Sok. But it was only for a night at Smiley Bungalow. So, it was ok. Forget mosquito repellent. It did not work on the mosquitoes in that town. (The lake had no mosquito at all).
Smiley Lake House in Cheow Lan Lake
Our practice here is not to grasp anything. – Ajahn Chah
After lunch, we bid goodbye to the quiet getaway. As the boat took us away, other guests arrived. Together with them, came the shouts, yells and more. As said, we two were lucky. It was like we had the whole lake to ourselves the evening before. Nothing but nature and us. It was good. It was really good. It was a good time to do a lot of slowing down, relaxing and contemplating.