Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
T: (from outside Thailand) 6681-417-0546; (from inside) 081-417-0546
‘Our Jungle House’ is well away from the (small) town on the edge of the Khao Sok National Park, and is nestled deep inside 25 acres of privately owned rainforest. You will only hear the sound of gibbons, hornbills and the running stream! Run by American Bodhi and his Thai family, they are committed to responsible tourism and ensure that everything they do at ‘Our Jungle House’ has minimal impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local community. Bodhi has been working at similar tourism ventures (including Golden Bhudda Beach Resort also recommended on this site) and is always happy to suggest ways to expand your experience by volunteering in the area.
Accommodation: Over four nights we stayed in three of the thirteen tree houses and riverside cottages (due to a busy booking period!) so feel quite well-versed in their accommodation facilities – all very impressive! The Romance Tree House (with its ‘outdoor’ bathroom and large, secluded balcony overlooking the river and incredible limestone cliff face) was the best, closely followed by the Thai House riverside cottage (high on stilts and spacious with two floors – balcony does face the pathway though). The Hideaway Tree House is cute but is rather cramped in comparison with a tiny balcony! Cottages and tree houses suit from 1-2 people or 1-4 people (with one suiting up to 5).
Food: Thai, American and European food (breakfasts , lunches, snacks and dinner) is available at the restaurant and bar, both downstairs and upstairs (choose the upstairs open balcony seats for cocktails under the stars).
Facilities: Being on the edge of the Khao Sok National Park means you can’t stay here without booking a trek in the jungle. You can arrange a number of treks and tours (half, full day or overnight treks; treks to see the Refflesia flower; survival treks; wildlife tours; night safari, a trip to Chiew Larn Lake etc). If the river is high enough you can try river tubing or relax with a Thai or oil massage. Free internet available (they’ll even lend you their computer if needed at less busy times).
Recommended for… The fantastic tree houses (especially Romance Tree House) make the very most of the jungle environment – and what a view with those limestone cliffs on your doorstep!
Be aware that… Size and aspect of each tree house and riverside cottage can vary greatly – the small difference in price doesn’t reflect this so if it really matters to you (although all three of the choices we tried were very good), check this out before booking (via website pictures or asking staff).
- Energy conservation: by foregoing air conditioning, hot water, and televisions
- Respectful building: treehouses and riverside cottages are made from natural materials, and even more importantly, over 80% of the property is undeveloped
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle: all waste is sorted into compost, glass, plastic, metal, and paper. Since beginning this program, trash sent to landfill has been reduced by 50%. Even empty juice boxes are reused by an artist in Phuket who builds furniture out of them.
- The owners love the forest: they’ve created a wildlife trail around the property and intend to live in harmony with the surrounding ecosystem
- Food is bought locally: organic limes, cucumbers, green beans, and chili peppers are among the vegetables purchased from neighbours.
- Staff are local: most of Our Jungle House service providers are locals, from guides and bartenders to the electricians and tree trimmers, so they make a big contribution to the local economy.
- Supporting education: in 2011, Our Jungle House raised over 2 million baht to build a school for Burmese children who lack access to education. In 2012, they are building a new kindergarten for children at the local Bang Pru school (ask them about it – guests are invited to help if they wish)
- Conservation and community development projects: the people behind Our Jungle House are involved in many projects including scholarships, building community centres, a youth conservation network, and community-based tourism
Date of visit: February 2012