Our Jungle House
Twenty years ago, my love and I went to Thailand for the first time. It was one of our first faraway trips together,q uite an adventure, in every way, for our love was young.. and time flies! #gettingold. We were backpacking ‘fancy-style”: renting a car in order to explore the south of Thailand, our backpacks tucked away in the back, and spending our nights in small and cheap accommodations (except for that one luxury resort on Koh Samui, where, after much negotiating in our smelly and dirty clothes, we were able to get a super deal and were treated like royalty in our luxury suite). One of the places that I have always remembered from this trip is Khao Sok National Park: overwhelming nature, the river Sok and the majestic lime stone rock formations that towered above the landscape like stately Buddha’s. When we were there, we spent the night in a somewhat stale treehouse, washed ourselves in the river and caught fish with the rods that we had made ourselves….life can be so wonderfully simple.
Understandably, I was afraid that my idyllic memories would be muddled by the fact that Thailand has changed so much over the past years and has become such a tourist attraction. But in my quest for suitable Local Hideaways I came across Our Jungle House, a place that meets all the Local Hideaways criteria and, as it turned out when I dug out my prehistoric Lonely Planet Thailand…..this accommodation already existed 20 years ago, what’s more, I had even highlighted it… (even though I hadn’t visited it, as it rather exceeded our budget). That must have been foresight, especially considering the fact that they have some very cool tree houses to spend the night in!
And so, twenty years later, I returned to Khao Sok, once again with my love and the two children we now have. And yes, a lot has changed: for starters, Khao Sok is an entire village now! But it is friendly and has ‘good vibes’. Of all the accommodations, Our Jungle House, beautifully located at the foot of the National Park, reminds me most of times gone by. The sound of the running river, this time we didn’t have to wash in it… when you get older this is a very pleasant luxury ;-), the chirping cicadas, the beautiful garden with its lush green plants and magnificent bright flowers, the view of the limestone cliffs that constantly change colour, the secluded bungalows and our wonderful tree house (that easily accommodates a large family), this really is nostalgia. It is great to witness how well nature has been preserved and how harmonious everything is. This is one of the reasons she feels so at home here, says Mandy, manager of Our Jungle House. She tells me that Our Jungle House was the first accommodation in Khao Sok and that everything they do here is in close cooperation with locals. In fact, they have been rather trendsetting, for the locals that used to work here have now opened up accommodations of their own.
In addition to tree houses, there are also several bungalows on the property….all very private and hidden away in the greens. The showers are nice and warm, mosquito nets cover the comfortable beds and the furniture is original and blends in perfectly with the environment. Whether you’re travelling together or with family, there’s a suitable accommodation for everyone. Filtered water is available everywhere, in the rooms, at the reception- you can even get re-usable bottles, very eco-friendly… great! The restaurant serves a lovely breakfast, lunch or dinner and there’s a cosy bar as well.
Various excursions can be booked through the reception desk, such as specialised guided ‘nature walks’ or the enormously popular excursion to Lake Cheow Lan. The latter can be booked either as an overnight trip, where you get to spend the night in a floating village, or as a day trip. I decided to go on a day tour to the lake, I was too fond of my tree house;-) and despite the fact that it is such a popular tourist destination, it was more than worth it. The surroundings are stunning and the lake is so big that the crowds disperse naturally (and I was there the week after Christmas, which is peak season!) The power of the limestone rock formations that rise up from the lake’s emerald waters is ‘one of a kind’ and of stunning beauty. I can only hope that it will still be as magnificent 20 years from now!