Set in a valley of lush jungle, Anurak Community Lodge is an ideal retreat for exploring the remote rainforests and towering karst mountains of Khao Sok National Park. Its close proximity to the park and other conservation areas make it a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventures that prefer the tranquility of the open countryside to the busy village of Khao Sok, where the main entrance to the national park is located.
At Anurak, guests can choose from a range of responsible nature activities geared towards exploring the rich biodiversity of Khao Sok and Cheow Lan Lake, as well as many other local attractions. A spectacular way to discover Khao Sok’s flora and fauna close up is, of course, by going on a trek or hike with one of our experienced local guides, however, for a more atmospheric adventure we recommend you take a canoe or raft down the Sok River.
One of the advantages of exploring this lush jungle wilderness by river is that it allows you to sit back and admire the wonderful panorama of the surrounding landscape. Trekking or hiking through dense jungle, although an exhilarating experience, can sometimes leave you feeling disorientating as for much of the time you won’t see the mountains for the trees!
Anurak’s river adventures by canoe or raft take you down a part of the Sok River that passes under the colossal limestone cliffs typical of the region with dense, green jungle covering the banks of the river on either side, interrupted only now and again by a rubber plantation, palm oil grove or a farmer’s field.
Both experiences take about an hour and provide you with some stunning photo opportunities. Gliding below the cliffs and rocky outcrops, you feel their immensity. Millions of years ago these lofty rock formations were underwater and the fossils of strange sea creatures have been found by climbers high up in the cliff faces.
Anurak’s experienced guides are from the local community and know the landscape well. Several of them are reformed hunters with a keen eye for spotting local wildlife. A green pit viper sleeping in the branches of a tree, a common tree frog, or an Asian water monitor swimming gracefully across the river – all would all go unnoticed without your guide.
Along the way, you disembark on the river’s edge for a short hike through the forest to a rocky area at the base of a cliff. Here you will stop for a break, while your guide lights a fire, boils water and serves you tea or coffee in a cup made from a hollow bamboo stem. It’s a welcome break to sit in the shade and enjoy the cool stillness of the forest. Back on the river you pass a tiny waterfall cascading into the river from a spring in the cliffs above. There’s just enough space for a canoe to pass under, so if you don’t mind getting wet, it’s a refreshing way to cool down.
Highway 401, which snakes through this region from Takua Pa town just west of Khao Sok to Surat Thani on the east coast, was only constructed in 1961 and wasn’t expanded to a four-lane highway until 20 years ago. Before then, the valley that is home to Anurak was cut off from the rest of the world and canoes and rafts were therefore a crucial form of transport for local communities living along the Sok River.
They are in fact among the oldest forms of transport in Thailand and in the Khao Sok region were used by traders to carry goods between the Andaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand. Many old artefacts have been found along these east-west trading routes, including ceramics, beads and ancient coins.
The Sok River and the rugged landscape have changed little since it was traversed by these early traders. Gliding down the river on an Anurak raft or canoe, it’s not hard to imagine how awestruck these traders must have been as they passed through this wild, remote landscape for the first time.
Book your stay at Anurak Community Lodge now to experience our range of responsible outdoor adventure activities that bring you face to face with the wilds of Khao Sok National Park.