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Traveling Thailand | Ratchaprapa Dam (Photos and Video)

This trip was connected with a group of colleagues at my girlfriends workplace. However, I am very happy that they invited me to tour with them, as the Ratchaprapa Dam is amazing and they were also a great bunch of peeps to travel with. The dam is located in South Thailand and I highly recommend it as a destination if you are considering traveling in Thailand. Although many flock to Thailand beaches for their week abroad, the Ratchapaper Dam offers a truely unique waterfront experience.

 

However, before I get to that, let's start at the beginning. The day kicked off at 5:30am (definitely not my chosen time of the morning), as we all had a long  journey to the Dam, and then a boat trip to where we would stay. The travel time was 6-7 hours, despite the fact that we were already located in the southern 'leg' of Thailand. Thankfully, Thais have a rule that everything should be 'sanook' which simply means 'fun'. It is a part of the way of living
here, whether at work or driving, it should be made fun and this trip was to be no exception.

 

Thailand tourism is at its highest, at least for Thais, is during the long weekends. This happened to be the birthday of the Queen of Thailand, hence many people would be traveling. The added traffic and having a long drive ahead can mean that things get stressful, but not with the group we had. They had made sure to pre-plan everything, including making the journey to and from Ratchapraper dam fun and interesting. This involved every car having a Walkie-Talkie, something I recommend for anyone on a long group drive, as it enables easy communication for things like directions, but also
fun banter along the journey.


Another aspect that had been though of was where everyone would stop for breaks along the way, to stretch there legs and unwind. However, this would not be 'sanook' if that was it, so a card game had also been created for the cars to compete. Basically every car of people was a team and at each stop, two teams had to draw cards (or it may have been one team drawing two cards, I could never remember who was in each team). Anyway, on these cards, things had been written that would  'knock out' competing teams, which could only happen to your team twice before you could not win
the prize. This was cards with things like 'an even last number on your number plate', or 'Someone in you car is drinking coffee right now' written on them. It made the trip a bit more fun and the chance of a prize helped motivate the groups too. Eventually after a lot of walkie-talkie banter, many kilometers and a few coffees, we arrived at Ratchapaper Dam. The boat was pre-booked for us, and so all we needed to do was park and go
straight down to the boat. However, this may not be the kind of boat you would normally see, so please let me pause here to show you some photos and explain a bit about this style.

 

It is called a long-tail boat, due to the very obvious 'tail' sticking out from the rear. This is your propeller shaft, which is basically linked to a car/motorbike engine on a balance. Some of these have insanely large and noisy engines, but that is another matter. Now, the 'driver' controls the boat by
moving the engine with a long pole on the front. On this pole, you should be able to see a string, which is pulled to accelerate the engine and therefor the boat. These can go very fast and are incredible maneuverable. However, the noise can make things a little hard to hear ... here are some
pictures of this unique and popular Thai transportation:

 

Now, back to my Thailand travels. This boat took us hurtling towards where we would stay (which would also surprise me!), yet it seemed to take forever. This lake is BIG, as I think it took around an hour of travel to reach our resort. At the top right of this hub, you can see some of the photos from
this journey. Unfortunately, my camera doesn't do it justice, as you just can't feel the depth and size of these mountains emerging from the 60-70m deep waters. However, I hope that they give you an idea of how beautiful the Ratchapaper Dam is.  When traveling in Thailand, you can be sure to get a few surprises. Anyone that has been here,  knows that this place has a very free and unrestricted style, a way of living that makes you feel alive,
rather than just existing and 'getting by'. This trip was to be no disappointment in that sense, as the  resort at which we arrived, well was errrm ... floating! Yes, you read that right, the resort located on this dam are generally not on the shore/land, they are floating Resorts, or even entire raft resorts.

 

As you can see in the photos, this particular resort does have walkways to the land and even a few rooms on land, but is almost completely floating. The showers and bathrooms are on the land, with some more expensive accommodation, but the resort itself bobs along with the waves of the lake.
Health and safety is not like in the UK, as you are expected to watch out for yourself and take responsibility for your own well being. This means that things like this can still exist, and personally I love that, as I would choose to have destinations like this over 'safe and regulated living' any day! The planks are often just balanced, there are holes in some walkways, and you really do have to be careful when changing walkways, but this doesn't take away the awesomeness of this place at all.

 

That said, partying into the eve and the idea of balancing back to my room a little 'less than sober' was quite a daunting idea at first. However, it is surprising as to how fast you addapt. Within not time, you hardly notice the swaying, you are watching where you step and you expect the 'sinking feeling' when you step across onto another platform. The only one that caught me out a few times was the walkway to the toilets, which is the one with all the arches, as when you stepped onto this one, it would drop by about one foot (30cms to be modern and metric lol), before swaying side to side in this fashion ... I can tell you, that is a surprise when your bladder is full!! ha ha. Our group had rented almost the entire resort and I have to say that it is a good deal. It costs about 600 baht per night, which is 12GBP, or 20USD roughly. However, this price also includes 3 meals! Yes, you get
gorgeous fresh fish and Thai food all inclusive in the price ... a great deal in my mind.

Yet, before the drinks began, we still had a wildlife tour that is put on for free by the park. This is a boat trip to see wild animals in the area, where you can apparently sometime see quite a diverse range of wildlife. However, I would consider it more of being just a fun boat trip, as we were only
lucky enough to see one bird! Ha ha. Still, for free you cannot complain and it certainly is a fun time, plus a great way to meet other people.

 

This was a busy day, so the evening ended with some card games and eventually a few relaxed whiskeys out on the balconies, watching the lake under the full moon and enjoying the peace. The next day was going to be busy, so most turned in early and the rest did when the electricity was cut
off at 11pm ... navigating rafts in pitch black is an experience for those late to bed, or who need a bathroom visit in the night.

Unique Wiring
Having spent a lot of time in Asia, I have seen many unique construction techniques. However, I had to say that I loved the simple style of lighting and the electricity supply on a raft resort where you are only just above the water. I'm sure you will agree, that it is a bit different from the UK, US or many
other places! lol.

 

 

MAP OF KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK

The park is 739 sq km and is the 22nd National Park in Thailand.
Together with two wildlife sanctuaries (Klong Saen and Klong Nakkha), and two adjacent national parks (Sri Phang nga and Klong Phanom), Khao Sok is part of the largest protected area in Southern Thailand.

 

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