HOME     TOURIST DESTINATIONS    BANGKOK HOTELS    MAPS    ABOUT THAIWAYS

   TOURIST DESTINATIONS

   
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- TOURIST DESTINATIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- TIPS & FACTS
- VISA
- TRANSPORTATION
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- MAP OF THAILAND

- AIRPORTS
- BANGKOK HOTELS
- BANGKOK TOURS
- BANGKOK IN BRIEF
- POPULAR AREAS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- BANGKOK MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- CHIANG MAI MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES&SPORTS
- USEFUL CALLS
- CHIANG RAI MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- HUA HIN MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PHI PHI ISLANDS
- KRABI MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PATTAYA MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PHANG NGA MAP

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- ACTIVITIES & SPORTS
- PHUKET MAPS

- HOW TO GET THERE
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- ATTRACTIONS
- HOTELS & RESORTS
- HISTORY
- TRANSPORTATION
- RESTAURANTS
- SHOPPING
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- SAMUI MAPS



    HEALTH

- Overview, MEDICAL SERVICES
- Thai Spas
- Lasik
- Hearing Aids
- Dentistry

- Overview, THAI SPAS
- Thailand:spa capital
- Types of spas
- Spa treatments
- Spa Tips
- Spa Locations



    ABOUT THAILAND

- Overview, THAI CULTURES
- Court Culture
- Traditional Culture
- Linguistic Culture







 
NORTHERN THAILAND'S HIGHLIGHTS

thai romanization
Puzzled about
Thai romanization system ?



  Surat Thani (644 km from Bangkok) and Phang-nga (788 km from Bangkok) are two Southern provinces well known for their lofty mountain ranges and pristine rainforest. Both places are wonderful for nature lovers because they can enjoy the benefits of their vacation  by taking part in some of the eco friendly activities  available, for example, sightseeing, elephant safari,  trekking, bamboo rafting, white-water rafting, canoeing, etc. The eco-tours we describe in this article take place in the two famous mountains of the two provinces: Khao Sok (Sok Mt.) in Surat Thani and Khao Lak (Lak Mt.)  in Phang-nga.
 
  Khao Sok (National Park) is one of the most  luxuriant rainforests remaining in the country known for its biological diversity and breathtaking scenery. Dubbed "the Centre of Rainforest Mountains", Khao Sok has only recently become popular among both Thai and foreign tourists. Speaking of the trip to "Khao Sok", what we cannot miss is the Ratchaprapha Reservoir which is  famous for the mighty grandeur of the mountains and  the vast azure lake. The reservoir is also known as Ratchaprapha Dam or Chiao Lan Dam and it has a  nickname "Guilin of Thailand" due to the dramatic  topography similar to that of Guilin of China. The dam was constructed for specific purposes, i.e. irrigation and hydropower, but it has a great benefit as a recreational attraction. The area around the reservoir is stunningly impressive and all tourism and recreations in the area are under the control of the National Park Office. 

  The locals operate boat services to take visitors out to enjoy the scenery of the massive lake. Once you are out into the water you will wonder, like many others did, whether it is sea water or freshwater. The  answer is it is the freshwater with the emerald green of the ocean, derived from the algae growing underneath. Not only the colour of the lake that often confuses people, but its seemingly endless boundaries also amaze them. A countless number of limestone peaks of various shapes rising at odd angles throughout the lake area, some  bearing the rock surface, some covered in moist green vegetation, are completely mesmerizing. Some limestone cliffs stand upright separately in the middle of water,  whilst several peaks are connected together forming  majestic mountain ranges. These picturesque hills of Chiao Lan contrasting with the surrounding green water create the most extraordinary panoramic view. Thailand's excellent year-round climate enables eco-tourists to visit Chiao Lan any time of the year. The best time is between November and April. During the rainy season from May to October, you may catch a downpour but the trip can still be pleasant with a unique atmosphere. You may find a fine drizzle veiling the hills amidst the mist covered  lake a serene romantic setting.

  Though some people may have an enjoyable  one day trip, many tourists get pleasure from  spending several nights at the lake. Simple and close to nature raft houses operated by the park and  private individuals are offered at quite low rates (with meals and activities). You can enjoy the modest living away from your usual hectic lifestyle. There are lots of things to see and do such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, sightseeing and night safari by boat or you  can simply relax on the raft house reading your favourite paperback. The highlight of Chiao Lan is to take a boat trip to Khao Sam Kloe, three limestone towers standing next to each other, which is a photogenic spot where the name "Guilin of Thailand" comes from. 

  Besides the lake, there are other interesting  attractions and activities. Hidden in the deep jungle,  Nam Thalu Cave, a stalagmite and stalactite cave with  a stream running through, is very fascinating for cave  explorers, but not for a wimpy person as it requires a few hours trekking. Pakarang Cave or the coral cave is easier to access, even for children. Several splendid waterfalls are located within the Khao Sok National Park area. The walking distance to each one varies. Mae Yai Waterfall, a beautiful, 30-metre high cascade situated right on the  highway, is accessible by car. Jungle treks can be arranged in half day, one day, two days, three days, or even longer.

  The highlight of this national park is the famous "Bua Phut" (Rafflesia Kerrii Meijer), a rare giant parasitic plant which is the largest flower found in Thailand. The flower is 70-80 cm in diameter and weighs about  10 kg. Only its huge reddish brown or dark red head emerges from the ground like a giant cabbage. The  flower has a nickname in Thai "Dok Sop" which means the corpse flower as it has a very unbearable smell.  Note that the Bua Phut's blooming season is between  December and May, if you wish to see them. For more information about activities and tours in Khao Sok,  please ask at your accommodation or you may contact the tour operator in advance.

  For more adventurous eco-tourists, Khao Lak  of Phang-nga offers great fun-packed holidays. Named  after Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park which occupies  a large area of the four districts of Phang-nga - Thai Muang, Kapong, Takua Pa and Muang, Khao Lak is well recognized for its wonderful beach and numerous high-end resorts purposefully constructed to serve those who seek for serenity in luxurious surroundings. But not  many people know that they can enjoy the fresh air and beauty of Thailand's rainforest in Khao Lak as well. Its vast virgin forest area is just right for eco-tours and  adventures too.  

  Unmissable highlights are white-water rafting, bamboo rafting and elephant jungle trekking. The  verdant rainforest and the mountain ranges create a  perfect location for eco-adventures. A stretch of gushing white-water surrounded by the lush forest on both sides of the Khlong Song Phraek is very exciting for both  amateurs and competent rafters. Rafters can choose the rafting distance of either 5 km or 9 km and there is a  training session before rafting. Then, all rafters will get their rafting gear and get on the inflatable boat. Paddling along the rough water needs a good teamwork, so grab your paddles tightly, row backward or forward as being told and strictly follow all safety measures. There are a few scenic stops on the route where you can take a break, idly chit-chatting with passengers on other rafts before continuing your expedition.

  For rafting services, contact resorts in Song Phraek or your tour operator. If you want a rafting activity with a lesser degree of excitement, take a bamboo rafting instead. Relax and admire the spectacular river with the rainforest backdrop as you sit on a raft and  gently edge along. The raft is made from a bunch of  bamboo stems tied together and controlled by a boatman with a long pole that he pushes against the bottom of the river. The only part of your body that will get wet is the part that you sit on.

  Another way to marvel at the fantastic views of the tropical jungle is to ride an elephant. There are a few elephant camps in the area that offer elephant trekking through the picturesque routes. Sitting on the elephant's back as it strolls across the rocky stream, up and down hills and into the jungle is a thrilling experience. You  could be thrashing around with each footstep and when the animal goes down the rugged hill, you might scream out. But don't worry too much as the elephant is one   of the sure-footed creatures that are unlikely to stumble. Just make sure that you yourself hold on tight to the  seat. The elephant trekking can be done throughout the year, even when it rains. 

  If you want to visit both Khao Sok and Khao  Lak on one trip, you should take at least 3 days  and 2 nights to cover all attractions. To see program details, please visit www.khaosoksafari.comwww.raftingphangnga.com and www.khaolakadventure.com

Advertisement




One of Some Best Buys