Dramatic limestone karsts draped in vegetation and shores blanketed in pristine rainforest, the largest area of virgin forest in Southern Thailand, surround Cheow Lan Lake in the heart of Khao Sok National Park.
Tiny, lush islands once mountain peaks, rise out of tepid, emerald-green waters where water temperatures range between 27°C to 29 °C.
Wildlife in the national park includes Asian elephant, tiger, tapir and bear. A cacophony of jungle sounds fill the air: monkeys and gibbons chatter and howl; hornbills and other exotic birds cry and whistle; and a myriad of insects whine and shrill.
In 1982, Ratchaprapha Dam was built as a source of electricity by blocking off the Klong Saeng River and creating an artificial, 165 square kilometer lake.
Cheow Lan Lake is a popular destination for local and foreign tourists, accommodation provided by rustic, floating raft houses. Activities include trekking to view points, waterfalls and caves; fishing and kayaking; and boat safaris to glimpse wildlife and view the stunning scenery.
We stayed at Prai Wan raft houses, simple bamboo huts floating on the water. We opted for a private tour, that was well worth the money! It included: a knowledgeable and enthusiastic, English-speaking guide; wildlife safaris and cave trip by long-tail boat; hiking through rainforest to a spectacular viewpoint; kayak use and meals.
Here is just a handful from the hundreds of photos I took during our two-night stay. I plan to return to Cheow Lan Lake and to also explore other parts of Khao Sok National Park.
Recently, I re-discovered my 2010 Mongolia trip photos while searching my archives for images to submit to stock agencies. I’m now motivated to publish a few more blog posts about this intriguing country.
The traditional portable home for nomadic herders roaming the vast grassy steppes of Mongolia is the yurt, or ger as it’s called in Mongolian which literally means home.
Ger pepper the landscape throughout Mongolia and today between 30-40% of the country’s population (Source: Wikipedia) live in a ger, not only on the steppe but many in city suburbs.
Due to the nomadic nature of its occupants, a ger is designed to be dismantled easily and moved, so construction only takes about 2 hours.
A collapsible wooden lattice wall with a door frame supports long, roof poles and a circular crown leaving an opening for the central chimney. The entire framework is covered with layers of wool felt for warmth then ropes secure waterproof canvas over the top.
These photos show the stages of ger construction: the bare skeleton of wall lattice and roof poles, the entire framework covered in layers of felt, and the completed ger with the outer cover of waterproof canvas.
Pastel stained Sino-Portuguese shop-houses, elaborate Chinese shrines, golden Thai temples and Sino-Colonial decaying mansions color the streets of Old Phuket Town.
This history rich pocket of the city traces back to Phuket’s tin mining boom. Nowadays, it’s a busy commercial center of cafés, restaurants, stores and tiny printing shops lit at night by Chinese lanterns glowing crimson between arches and shuttered doorways.
Soi Romanee, a lane of vibrant renovated buildings in the heart of Old Town, was the red light district for Chinese laborers working in the tin mines. Now, it’s mostly home to mixed Thai-Chinese families with a splattering of guesthouses and cafés.