Have you ever slept in an overwater hotel? What about a floating bungalow… on a lake… in the middle of Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park?! When picking your floating resort, you should know that 500 Rai goes beyond your wildest imagination. So what exactly was it like? Let us tell you all about our stay at the best Khao Sok National Park hotel and sleeping on the water for two nights.
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Staying at a Khao Sok National Park Hotel
Khao Sok is one of the best places to visit in Thailand for nature lovers. Its massive limestone cliffs tower over Cheow Larn Lake, as the turquoise color water glistens in the sunshine.
While many travelers take day trips to this area, there is nothing like the experience of actually staying inside the park. This will give you more time to enjoy the wildlife, go on boat tours, or even do some trekking.
Plus, you’ll get the chance to stay at Khao Sok floating bungalow! As you’ll see in this article, we can’t recommend 500 Rai Floating Resort enough.
Getting to 500 Rai Floating Resort
Coming from Phuket, our alarm went off at 4:30am in the morning and we quickly got dressed to jump in our transfer. Most people go to 500 Rai Floating Resort by staying in Khao Lak or near the entrance to the National Park. However, we decided to do the entire drive in one trip!
500 Rai was able to set up a shuttle van for us to make the journey. Thankfully, the van had seats that fold back and we were able to catch a few more hours of sleep before arriving.
One of the best parts about Khao Sok National Park is its central location. It’s easy to travel here from many of the most popular destinations in Southern Thailand such as Khao Lok, Krabi, Phuket, and Koh Sumai.
Once we arrived we got checked into our hotel and paid the National Park entry fee. At the time of our visit, it was 220 Thai Baht per person so make sure you have cash. We also needed another 200 baht to get to the famous Coral Cave later on in our trip.
Morning Adventure on Cheow Larn Lake
While our visit to 500 Rai was unique in itself (we will get more to the Khao Sok floating bungalow soon), some of our favorite moments were the tours they included inside the park. The adventure started from the moment we made it to the pier and entered Khao Sok National Park.
Our small group was made up of other travelers who we had picked up along the way from Phuket. We were all heading to 500 Rai Floating Resort and would end up having a fun time along the way.
We took all our luggage with us as we travel light with just carry-on size bags. However, others in our group who were coming from Khao Lak left their large luggage at their hotel and brought an overnight bag. This is definitely a great move if you’re returning to the same accommodation after your visit!
At 9am we boarded a traditional longtail boat and started on the smooth ride across the lake. This is when our minds were truly blown! The landscape surrounding us was something out of a dream. It reminded us a little bit of Halong Bay in Vietnam, except with a whole lot less tourists.
As we got deeper into the National Park the scenery just got more and more incredible. 500 Rai provided a local guide who would be showing us around from the moment we left the pier.
Trekking to Pakarang Cave (Coral Cave)
After about an hour ride it was time for an easy 1km hike. The word “trek” made us a little nervous at first, but the path only had a slight incline. After the short hike we came out to a small section of the lake with a half dozen long bamboo rafts.
This is how we would get to the Pakarang Cave! Now when we say bamboo rafts we literally mean it. They don’t look too sturdy, but they would do just fine to coast us across the water.
Once we made it, our guide took us up into the cave to explore. We were given headlights and showed the different stalactites and stalagmites hanging down. Our guide explained how these are formed similar to coral in the sea, hence the name Coral Cave.
After making the hike back to our bigger longtail boat we were quickly brought over to the 500 Rai Floating Resort! This is when our ultimate luxury experience in nature would begin.
Arriving at 500 Rai Floating Resort
What started as a tiny dot in the distance grew closer and closer as we got towards our Khao Sok National Park hotel. As soon as we arrived, we were treated to a delicious lunch of Thai specialties before checking in.
This was our first overwater bungalow experience and it did not disappoint! The large bed looked directly out over the water with glass doors opening to our own private dock.
We want to make this part VERY CLEAR. You might have seen photos of hotels on the water in places like the Maldives, or maybe you’ve even been lucky enough to stay at one.
Yet, 500 Rai is completely different! This resort sits on a lake that’s 80 meters down to the bottom. This makes for a unique experience like no other. Just make sure not to drop your phone in the lake because you won’t be getting it back!
Khao Sok Floating Bungalow Rooms
Really, there isn’t a bad room at the hotel. They all have their own dock with a private kayak attached. How cool is that?? The morning of our 2nd day we literally woke up, opened our doors, and jumped right in the kayak to explore Khao Sok National Park.
Our room was Villa #1 which was set in the middle of the row of the Khao Sok National Park hotel. It had a separate bathroom and shower which we certainly weren’t expecting. We also loved the small area in the entrance so you can leave your bags and not have them inside the bedroom section.
All of the main villas are attached to the reception and dining area of the 500 Rai Floating Resort. The only difference is if you book the honeymoon suite or family room which we will tell you about next!
500 Rai Honeymoon Suite & Family Room
At first, we weren’t sure what we were seeing. One of the staff carried a full tray of drinks out onto the dock and boarded a large pontoon boat. The boat then circled around the resort and headed for the Honeymoon Suite. We would quickly find out this is a private floating villa not attached to the main set of bungalows.
Yes, you can actually stay on these private bungalows which are the ultimate escape! The honeymoon suite even has its own swimming pool which isn’t part of the lake. Whenever you want to order something to the room or head to the restaurant, they will send a boat to come get you. You can always kayak over if you prefer, too!
Dining at 500 Rai Floating Resort
We should point out that our stay at this Khao Sok floating bungalow had meals included. Still, 500 Rai has different food packages you can choose from. Breakfast is a large buffet spread with coffee and juice. The omelet station was great and also the spicy coconut fish soup with rice noodles!
For lunch and dinner we ordered from the 500 Rai restaurant menu. Most of the main dishes are either pork or chicken. However, if you don’t eat meat or are craving vegetarian they were super accommodating.
Some of of our favorite picks from the menu were the spring rolls, green curry, massaman curry, tom yum soup, and fried noodles. 500 Rai also offers a full bar with a variety of cocktails, beers, and plenty of non-alcoholic drinks to choose from.
Sunset Nature Cruise From 500 Rai
After our tour and taking in the surroundings at 500 Rai Floating Resort, we had another great outing into nature planned! Our guide took us on the lake once again, but this time it was for a magical sunset.
We were on the lookout for the over 250 wild elephants which roam Khao Sok National Park. While we didn’t see any, we caught a glimpse of the Guar Bulls and dear frolicking along the edge of the rainforest. As we headed back to our Khao Sok National Park hotel, the colors starting to change in the sky. What a perfect end to our day!!
Morning Bird Watching
In the morning we started with an early 7am wake up. Before we knew it, we were back out in our longtail boat and exploring beautiful Khao Sok. This time we would be bird watching and we couldn’t believe what happened! We saw the Great Hornbills, which are the largest birds in the National Park.
In the same tree we even saw monkeys playing and jumping through the branches. One of our favorite parts of staying at 500 Rai Floating Resort was all the fun activities they included. We obviously could have stayed at the property for 2 full days and been completely happy. Still, these extra adventures really made our visit special!
Second Day at the Khao Sok Hotel
Can you believe all we did during our first day at our Khao Sok floating bungalow? Coming back to the 500 Rai resort just after 8am, it was time to dive into breakfast. As we mentioned before, the fish curry was one of our favorite dishes and a true hit to start the day. Just be warned that it’s extra spicy!
The great part about the second day was that we now had some time to really relax and enjoy the property. There is WiFi at the hotel for purchase. Yet, if you want to soak in the full 500 Rai experience then you should follow their motto!
Disconnect to Reconnect.
As full time travel bloggers, our work has us constantly on our computers and phones 24/7. So we had NO PROBLEM fully embracing this at 500 Rai Floating Resort!
Our afternoon was spent with a long leisurely lunch, jumping in and out of the lake, and paddling around Khao Sok in our kayak. Even with all that, some of our most memorable moments were just hanging out in our room with the doors wide open and staring out at the mountains.
500 Rai Happy Hour
Around 3pm we decided to take advantage of the happy hour at the resort which is buy one get one drinks. We made friends with the couple staying in the bungalow next to ours and even borrowed their amazing pink floaty for the lake.
Just before sunset, we watched as the sky turned orange and pink. Unfortunately, we had one problem… A storm was rolling in! In this area of Thailand (and all of Southeast Asia) the weather can change quickly.
The rain was intense and the bungalow certainly swayed back and forth, but it was all part of the experience. We loved getting to see Khao Sok National Park with all kinds of different weather and even went for a lake dip in the rain.
Should You Stay at a Khao Sok Floating Bungalow?
Yes, 100%! And if you do make sure it’s at 500 Rai Floating Resort.
We should make it clear that we didn’t stay at any other Khao Sok hotels. However, after talking with other travelers and our guide there are certainly a few things that sets 500 Rai apart from the rest.
At the time of our visit 500 Rai Floating Resort was the only Khao Sok hotel that has 24 hour electricity which is a massive bonus on the lake. Also, all the rooms come with private bathrooms and showers, whereas most other properties the facilities are shared.
500 Rai is clearly the best luxury resort in Khao Sok National Park! We would recommend it to any traveler yearning for a completely unique experience, but that still wants all the modern amenities in nature.
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own tips for booking a Khao Sok National Park hotel? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
*We were invited by 500 Rai to share our experience staying at the hotel. As always, all opinions and recommendations are our own.
Thailand Travel Planning
Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour!
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we found flights from Bangkok to Phuket for $12 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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