The first time I visited Thailand, I found it to be a rather polarising experience. On one hand, I absolutely adored every second of my time on Koh Kood, but on the other hand, I hated Phuket with the fiery passion of a thousand suns – and that is not an exaggeration!
So, when the opportunity presented itself to return to Thailand, I had no hesitation in seizing it! I had been on the fence about Thailand, and maybe a return trip could be the decider. Would I find more things to love about Thailand, or would I decide that it just wasn’t a place that I clicked with?
As it turned out, I found a few more wonderful places in Thailand and fell just a little bit in love with a country that I had once been so unsure about.
So let’s get into it!
I had been invited to spend a few days at Elephant Hills Tented Camp in Khao Sok National Park, which is located in Southern Thailand, about 2 hours drive north of Phuket.
Elephant Hills is a lot more than just a regular tented camp – it offers its visitors a very special experience, but we will get to that soon! First, lets start at the beginning.
After a long drive from gross Phuket, I arrived to the camp excited and ready to explore! After checking in and getting a quick rundown on what the next few days would look like, I finally got to check out my digs for the night, and honestly, they weren’t half bad at all!
Luxury style tents open up to reveal a south-east Asian take on an African safari tent. Featuring an enormous king size bed, consistently hot showers and deliciously powerful fans – these tents were stylish, comfortable and best of all, stay nice and cool pretty much all the time – a veritable miracle in Southern Thailand!
The name of the camp is ‘Elephant Hills’ and the elephant appreciation can be found all over the camp – even in the smallest of details.
But as beautiful as the glamping tents were, I didn’t venture all the way to Khao Sok to relax.
I came for adventure!
So, as soon as I had settled in, I left my tent and went on towards the main area of camp.
It was a cute touch that little elephant statues guided my way!
The main area of camp consists of the bar, the dining hall and my favourite part – the pool!
After a quick dip and a lovely lunch, it was time to head towards the experience that elephant hills is so famous for!
As it turned out, getting there ended up being fun all on its own!
Khao Sok National Park is the largest area of “virgin” rainforest in all of Southern Thailand and also encompasses Khao Sok Lake – which is attached to many river systems and channels that travel all throughout the park.
A small group of us set out in kayaks to head down a particularly pretty stretch of river system.
I was lucky enough to spot a variety of wildlife along the way!
There were several (fricking enormous) frogs that blended in exceptionally well to their surroundings…
…there were some seriously cute little lizards…
…and even snakes!
All too soon it was time to get out of our kayaks! But I couldn’t be too disappointed, because an amazing experience was waiting for me, and the best part?
It was completely ethical – a rarity for the genre of tourism that this experience fits into!
Here is a little sneak peak of what is to come, and as always, happy solo travelling! xx
Getting to Khao Sok: From Phuket, Khao Sok is about a 2 hour drive north
Elephant Hills: 3 day all inclusive adventures start at 19,399 THB (approx $730 AUD), click here for more
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Bring ALL of the mosquito repellent with the highest possible amount of deet – just do it!
20 thoughts on “Back in Thailand + Welcome to Elephant Hills”
Hah I knew I liked you. Someone who can hate a place with the ‘fiery passion of a thousand suns’ is a rare one. I get where you are coming from when you mention that…not many people can be open about their likes and dislikes and I love the honesty in your opening lines. But the Khao Sok National Park and your experience there looks marvellous. I could do without snakes hanging over my head but hey who am I to squabble with nature. xx
Hahaha good to hear! I pride myself on being as open and honest as possible on this blog – which includes writing about my likes and dislikes!
This looks like such an AMAZING experience! So glad it was an ethical experience! x
You and me both! I couldn’t bear the thought of these animals being mistreated!
That pool shot looks like some impressive back garden. Amazing mountains. I have a friend who lives in Thailand, up north in Bangkok, and they do make him work for the lifestyle as a teacher there (he married into it) because they have some pretty officious residency laws. Every year I think he said has to travel to the south, maybe somewhere near where you are, to register again. Looking at the map of Thailand I see how oddly cut it is and how Bangkok is no way north, but I guess the only way south is down your way. I look forward to more ethical elephants.
Yikes, that sounds rather frustrating! Have you ever been to Thailand?
Yeah, they have some pretty strict laws such as foreign-born (I assume that’s their definition) not being able to own property. Saying that the more of this country that gets bought up by foreign billionaires you can see their point. No, never been.
OH an leave us hanging. It looks like just a magnificent area to explore.
Hahaha gotta keep you coming back somehow Terry 🙂
One can always find heaven, not far away from hell. it’s great that you are in a dazzling place of green tropical mountains and serene rivers. The elephants are the icing on a delicious rice cake.
Thanks Bruin, there is nothing quite like the green of the tropics 🙂
Im so jealous! Looks amazing!!
One for the bucket list maybe?
Looks great Ellen, definitely a must visit! 😊
Great photos too 😎
Thanks John 🙂
I can understand your distaste for Phuket. It’s overpriced and way too touristy. One of the most westernized (if not the most westernized) place in Thailand.
If you ever have a chance to get up to Northern Thailand, I highly recommend it. There’s a vastly different landscape and a culture in the North as compared to the South, and it is easily my favorite region of Thailand.
Thanks for the tip Britta 🙂