Southern Ocean Lodge

Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp is the little sister of The Elephant Camp and situated in the center of Cheow Larn Lake in Khao Sok National Park. Rainforest Camp, one of the only floating tented camps in the world, is located on one of Thailand’s most spectacular lakes surrounded by rainforest and towering limestone mountains.

20 Safari Luxury Tents with en-suite bathrooms provide an intimate base for you to explore Southern Thailand’s tropical rainforest. Powered by both wind and solar energy and using responsible waste management, Rainforest Camp is designed to be at one with nature. All the tents are of the same standard at the elephant sanctuary: Luxury, African-style Safari tents with wooden floors, comfortable beds, and en-suite bathrooms as well as, of course, electricity, to power the reading lights and the fan.This has to be the most unique and responsible way to experience the true beauty of Southern Thailand’s endangered Rainforest habitat, home to wild Elephants, Hornbills, rare Asian Oxen (gaurs), various monkey species, a myriad of reptiles, amphibians and floral species.

Khao Sok is home to threatened and endangered animal species, experts estimate the biodiversity to be higher than in the Amazon basin. Its conservation is vital for the ecological balance of Southern Thailand. Relax in front of your tent, take a swim in the emerald waters of Cheow Larn Lake, kayak through its khlongs and channels in search of monkeys and birds and trek through the rainforest before watching the sun set over the jungle. Time spent at Rainforest Camp is certainly a magical experience.

Elephant Hills comprises two Luxury Tented Camps: The Elephant Camp and Rainforest Camp. While the setting and the activities on the schedule of both are entirely different (hence we created the Jungle Lake Safari for you, a tour package combining both nature park camps into one unique soft-adventure), the standard of the tents of the luxury tents is equally high in both camps. All tents are equipped with proper, comfortable beds, wooden floors, electricity as well as an en-suite bathroom. (Note: Electricity at Rainforest Camp might be limited at times, since the camp is powered by solar and wind energy.) At either location all that separates you from the superb nature around you are mosquito nets, which ensure the entire tent is bug- and insect-proof – but all the fascinating sounds from your fascinating surroundings will sing you to sleep (yes, we mean you, Asian toads & cicadas) as well as wake you up in the morning (listen out for those tantalizing whooping gibbon calls).

All bathrooms come with all amenities you might expect from a normal hotel room: Hot and cold water shower, western-style toilets, and Elephant Hills shampoo collection, and, at The Elephant Camp, they even include a hairdryer for you. Yes, you will certainly not be roughing it during your stay in Khao Sok.

All furniture is crafted by our own, skilled craftsmen at our elephant nature park, and often all the small little details earn much praise by our valued guests. Or have you seen a light switch in the shape of an elephant before?

The 20 luxury tents are all of the same size and standard. The only thing you might want to think about is the bed configuration – most likely depending on who you are traveling with. But don’t worry, we have the perfect solutions for honeymooners and couples, single travelers, friends staying together or even for a whole family on tour.

DAY 1:   THE AMAZING ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE

Welcome to Elephant Hills Camp

Pick-up from your hotel or the airport in Phuket, Khao Lak, Phang Nga, Krabi, Surat Thani or even from Koh Samui and transfer to Khao Sok. En-route, glimpses of tropical rural life here in southern Thailand can be caught. Upon arrival at Elephant Hills Camp, buffet lunch is served at 12:00pm, a variety of delicious Thai dishes cooked not too spicy awaits you.

After lunch you can relax during a jungle river canoe trip down the Sok River. The canoes are very stable and safe; life jackets are provided as well as a local river guide to paddle the canoe. Drift along the jungle river passing Limestone Mountains and cliffs covered with exotic tropical vegetation. Sometimes hornbill birds can be seen flying high overhead or reptiles basking in the sun on the riverbanks. From the canoe you can experience some of the last areas of primary rainforest, a world that has changed little in thousands of years.

Get out of the canoe and head over to the elephant park. Here you can see, touch and learn about the life of Thai elephants and about the Elephant Hills elephant conservation project. Your guide will also teach you about the mahout, the elephant caretaker. While participating in our amazing Elephant Experience you will get very close to and even get your hands on these magnificent animals, you will have the chance to interact with them and learn the secrets of their mahouts. You will prepare and feed them one of their daily meals, including their dietary supplements that help with their digestion and their overall well-being, then watch them bathe before you scrub and wash them clean. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really experience the Asian Elephant, this part of the world’s largest land animal!

After all this activity close to nature it is time for a hot shower in the unique bathroom of your luxury safari tent. Relax and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding jungle-covered mountains – this is 100% real nature! A wide selection of cocktails, wines and spirits is available at the “Jungle explorer’s club bar”. Optional evening entertainment includes a movie presentation, a traditional Thai dance performance from local school children and a cooking demonstration, where you learn how to properly prepare Thai specialties. At 8:00pm it is time for dinner in this unique location beside the rainforest, the sounds and the atmosphere will make this a memorable meal.

Spend the night in your luxury safari tent with a comfortable bed, reading lights, hot water and a western-style toilet. The tents’ doors and windows are covered with mosquito netting as well as canvas flaps, so insects and reptiles will not bother you. Temperatures at night drop a little, the tents are well ventilated; blankets keep you warm in the chill of the night. This is real luxury so close to the heart of the rainforest!

DAY 2: SPECTACULAR CHEOW-LARN-LAKE

Good morning Khao Sok!

Wake up to the sounds of nature and birds calling from the bushes next to the tent. By the time the sun comes up and the mist over the rainforest-covered mountains to the south of Elephant Hills clears, gibbons’ territorial morning calls echo down the valley. Tea and coffee making facilities are available in your tent for early risers; breakfast is at your leisure.

Today you will explore Cheow-Larn-Lake by local long-tail boat. Cruise across emerald waters passing towering rainforest covered Limestone Mountains to the “Guilin” of Southern Thailand. The Cheow-Larn-Lake is a little known wonder of southern Thailand and features a first-class habitat for wild elephants, the rare Asian ox, hornbills and hundreds of other tropical birds, various monkey species, amphibians, reptiles and even tigers and leopards. This combined with a myriad of other species hidden in the rainforest-covered hills make it one of the most unique and important areas of rainforest in South East Asia. Take your time to marvel at the majestic mountains rising sheer out of the water and experience nature at its best!

Head to the floating Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp, situated in the heart of the national park, where our staff will check you in to your luxury tent with private en-suite bathrooms, solar- and wind-powered electricity and hot and cold water showers. Find all the conveniences of a modern hotel room inside, combined with solid beds, tea and coffee making facilities and totally unspoilt nature right at your door step. Sit back and enjoy the surrounding views of Cheow-Larn-Lake whilst enjoying a fabulous buffet lunch of Thai dishes which are prepared directly on the property.

Well invigorated you will come face to face with the jungle by exploring it on foot. It is not an army survival exercise, even though the trail is quite steep and times and can be slippery when wet – please talk to your guide if you are feeling unsure about the trek. But remember: There are no prizes for the fastest, snakes and spiders do not jump out at you – it is just an excellent opportunity to explore the ecology of one of the world’s oldest rainforests, to see a great variety of exotic plants, tropical hardwood trees with huge roots, orchids, palms, ferns, bamboos, mosses… the variety is huge.

Birds such as the hornbill live high up above, gibbons can often be heard calling to their mates, a macaque or a leaf monkey may be swinging through the branches, beautiful butterflies buzz around – every day is different, but it is always truly wonderful to discover the great variety of life-forms that co-exists here together. Take this advice: Walk slowly. Look, learn and listen. Then you too will start to discover some of the rainforest’s secrets.

Watch the sun set behind the towering limestone mountains from the deckchair in front of your tent after a refreshing dip in the water and the inevitable shower. Dinner will be served shortly, and then it is only you and the intriguing sounds of nature under a starlit sky… No fairy-tale will ever be that fabulous.

DAY 3: ELEPHANT HILLS RAINFOREST CAMP

Wake up to the sounds of Gibbons calling high up in the trees, whilst the clearing mist unveils the true beauty of the lake. Don’t think twice: As the jungle starts to stir, you could already be out there exploring prehistoric beauty in your canoe! Or do you wish to submerge into the glassy surface of the lake first? Whatever you choose: By tomorrow you will already regret the things you have not done…

After breakfast your guide will invite you to join in on a guided canoe safari into the little channels and side arms of Cheow-Larn-Lake. Take one of our kayaks and start scanning the tree tops for lazy hornbill birds or energetic primates. You will find yourself in heart of the rainforest on a silent adventure – words cannot do this experience justice.

Before traveling on, the last lunch is served at the floating tented camp. Bon appétit, they say; then it is time to return to the pier and move on to your next destination. The real joy, though, this inner feeling of complete happiness, will not be transferred away. It stays with you, right there, right in your heart. What remains is the memory. Untouched. Untroubled. Unrivaled.

Children's Project
Elephant Hills sanctuary’s Children’s Project was founded over twelve years ago, to help less fortunate children by supporting their quality of education and thus providing them with the freedom to make their own choices in life. We are helping the schools in Khao Sok and Mae Hong Son by donating books, stationery, musical instruments, seeds and gardening equipment, sports and playground equipment and have also coordinated building a library, bathroom renovation, installing water filter system and arranged English teaching.
In addition to various other activities, we run a project called Trees Can Talk, which teaches the young children the importance of conserving the forests and wildlife, and encourages them to think out of the box when it comes to respecting the nature in their everyday life. Every year on Children’s Day we arrange a writing contest for the students and reward the best essays on nature conservation.
As a result, we have brightened up the faces of hundreds of children by giving them access to scientific and technical knowledge, modern teaching methods as well as improved school facilities.

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