Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House – Khao Sok National Park… Wow!

January 2017 – While sitting in our fifth wheel trailer in Arizona and planning our Thailand adventure, I wanted to find the most exotic and beautiful landscape possible and to stay in some truly unique lodgings.

We found just that at the Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House on Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park.

Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Thailand

We had 3 days in paradise at the Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House in Khao Sok National Park

Cheow Lan Lake — also spelled Chiewlarn Lake and Chieow Lan Lake — is the jewel of Khao Sok National Park in the southern jungles of Thailand. It was created in 1982 when the Ratchaprapha dam was built on the Klong Saeng River to supply electricity to the southern half of the country. No one knew at the time just how exquisite the scenery on this lake would soon become.

Now it is a little known gem that offers sublime beauty without the crowds of tourists that are found in other parts of Thailand.

The best way to see the lake is to get out onto it in a longtail boat, and when we arrived, lots of longtail boats were waiting to take people on day trips and to deliver them to unique overnight accommodations at floating raft houses scattered in little coves around the lake’s extensive shores.

We had arranged for a three day and two night stay at the Greenery Panvaree Resort floating raft house, the finest and most deluxe floating raft house on the lake.

Longtail boats Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Exotic Longtail boats shuttle tourists on exquisite Cheow Lan Lake

Before heading out on the boat, we needed to purchase a ticket to enter Khao Sok National Park, since we would be staying within the boundaries of the National Park. It was 300 Thai Baht per person, or a little less than $10 US. The ticket was very pretty!

Khao Sok National Park Ticket Thailand

Our entrance ticket to Khao Sok National Park – what a neat souvenir!

In no time, we boarded the longtail boat that was bound for the Greenery Panvaree floating raft house. We were joined by an extended Thai family of parents and grown kids (who all live abroad) with their significant others enjoying a family reunion vacation together.

Khao Sok National Park Thailand Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake longtail boat

We saw longtail boats in the distance as we traveled across the lake

The magic of this lake is not only the extremely clear green water but the towering limestone mountains that encircle it. As we rode along on the water, we were mesmerized by the views in all directions.

Longtail boat Khao Sok National Park Thailand Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake

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Longtail boats were skimming across the water both near and far.

Limestone karst Longtail boat Khao Sok National Park Thailand Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake longtail boat

Limestone karsts rose up from the depths of the lake.

Longtail boat Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

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The ride was about 30 minutes from the pier out to the Greenery Panvaree floating raft houses. When we turned a corner and saw the row of little bungalows perched on the water, a collective “Ahhh!” went up from all of us on the boat.

Greenery Panvaree Floating raft house Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Our first glimpse of the Greenery Panvaree floating raft houses. What a setting!

These charming little villas are nestled into a cove backed by enormous cliffs, and they looked utterly inviting and romantic.

Greenery Panvaree Floating raft house Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand Family Zone

What an exotic place to spend a few days.

There are two groups of raft houses on either side Greenery Panvaree’s small and private cove.

Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Khao Sok National Park Cheow Lan Lake Chiew Larn Lake Thailand

Greenery Panvaree has two groups of floating raft houses, the Family Zone (left) and Greenery Zone (right)

The Family Zone is made up of five raft houses with nine rooms that are designed for families along with a main raft house with a common kitchen and restaurant building where meals are prepared and served.

The Greenery Zone, where we were going to stay, is made up of four rooms on two floors designed for couples. They are all located in one building that has a breezeway hall on the first floor. The Greenery Zone also has a main raft building with a kitchen on the first floor and a lovely restaurant with a view on the second floor.

Greenery Zone Greenery Panvaree Resort Floating Raft House Resort Khao Sok National Park Cheow Lan Lake Chiew Larn Lake Thailand

The Greenery Zone has two floating raft buildings.
One has four rooms for guests (left) and the other has a restaurant and common area (right).

As we slipped by the Family Zone, we saw a collection of kayaks in a wonderful rainbow of colors tied up out in front of their restaurant building.

Kayaks at Greenery Panvaree Floating raft house Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Plentiful free kayaks were waiting for guests to take them out for a paddle at the Family Zone.

As our longtail boat slowed down, a couple paddled by us in a kayak. What fun!

Kayak on Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

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When we arrived at the Greenery Zone, which is about 100 yards from the Family Zone, anchored to the bottom of the lake with its own mooring system, we stepped off our longtail boat at the dock in front of the main building and were greeted with a delicious and cold fruit juice “welcome drink” that was dark red and incredibly sweet and tasty.

As we sipped this ambrosia with our fellow guests and gaped at the views around us, our bags were whisked away to our room.

Longtail boat Greenery Panvaree Resort Chiewlarn Lake Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Our driver takes our longtail boat to its dock out back.

We hung out on the front dock of the Greenery Zone for a while, chatting with the staff and each other, soaking in this very unique spot.

The clear emerald water was warm, and the air was blisteringly hot and humid in the sun. One of the great things about staying here is not only enjoying the gorgeous setting but being able to jump in the water from anywhere, including right outside your own room!

The main dock by our restaurant raft house had both colorful kayaks for guests to use and big round floating couches and a swing set too.

Kayaks at Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House resort Cheow Lan Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand Chiewlarn Lake

Water toys.

Swing and water toys Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park

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We weren’t ready to swim just yet, so we made our way to our floating raft house room. When we looked down into the water we were floored that it was teeming with fish!!

Fish at Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park

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The raft houses are linked together with floating walkways, and we were as excited as little kids as we strolled around this very cool and very unique kind of accommodations.

We spotted our longtail boat tied up to the raft house where the staff stay.

Floating raft house Greenery Panvaree resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

All the raft houses were connected by floating walkways.

For those who don’t want to walk, another great way to get around is by kayak!

Kayaking Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Not only were guests playing in the kayaks, people used them to get around!

Kayaking Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

“This is Our Happy Place”

We were absolutely smitten with the charm and beauty of this very cool spot.

Docks at Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Super cool…

As we approached our room, we entered an open air hallway, or breezeway, that had a fun waterfront view in each direction.

Hallway View Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Looking one way down our “hallway.”

Hallway View Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Looking the other way down our “hallway.”

When we got to our room, we just stopped and stared!

Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand Greenery Room

A beautiful waterfront room in every sense of the word!

The glass doors opened right onto the water with a small walkway, and a set of stairs led right into the water for easy access to go swimming right from our room!

Bedroom view Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand Greenery Zone

We opened the doors to our view…

Across the little cove, we could see the sweet floating raft houses of the Family Zone backed by towering limestone pinnacles.

Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

…And what a view it was from our room!

Our raft house was two stories high and had four rooms in it, two on each floor. Our curiosity got the better of us, and when we noticed that two of the rooms were still unoccupied, we snuck in for a look.

Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand King bed room Greenery Zone

Before anyone got settled in, we explored the other rooms in our Greenery Zone floating raft house. All wonderful!

Greenery Zone room Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

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In the early evening, dinner was served in the dining room on the second floor of the main raft house. Staying at this resort is a very intimate experience, and dinner was served family style. The Thai family staying in the Greenery Zone with us was seated nearby at the next table, and they showed us how to eat some of the more exotic foods.

When we noticed a very yummy looking dark red drink being delivered to their table, I asked for one too. It is called Blue Pea Lime Juice. But it isn’t made from blue peas! It is actually made from a flower, and it is such a wonderfully refreshing drink I had it with every meal after that!

Blue Pea Lime Juice drink in Thailand

Blue Pea Lime Juice — Delicious (and not made of blue peas)!!

After dinner we wandered around the docks of this unique floating hotel in dusk’s magical light.

During the day, every so often the docks would move ever so slightly if a longtail boat went by on the lake and made a big wake or if the wind came up and rippled the water into waves. But as night fell the lake was still and the lights of the raft houses cast a warm light.

Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand Twighlight

The main raft house glowed at twilight.

Cheow Lan Lake is in Khao Sok National Park, and the Thai government prohibits any building construction along the lake’s edge.

There had been people living on the river before the lake was built, and the government gave them new tracts of land located about 10 kilometers away so they could move and build new homes and lives.

The people who owned land that eventually got buried by water were given permits to build bamboo raft houses since all construction on land was prohibited.

Twelve raft house permits were granted on Cheow Lan Lake, which is about 15 miles long and several miles wide, and the grantees built twelve very simple and truly rustic floating hotels around the shores of the lake. Some were so rustic, lacking electricity and other amenities, some upscale international tourists were a bit unhappy with the accommodations.

As tourism expanded, the government gave out four more permits for prospective raft house developers to purchase, but they required them to be made of better materials and built to a higher standard.

Greenery Panvaree was one of those properties, and the young Thai couple who owns the resort, Ton and Yohke, have created a spectacular retreat that is without doubt the most beautiful and well appointed raft house on the lake.

Twilight Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

The restaurant and kitchen building in the Greenery Zone.

Many of the raft houses, including Greenery Panvaree, are also used for packaged day trip tours. Mini-van based tour groups coming from the town of Khao Sok or Surat Thani or Khao Lak drive to the lake, jump in a longtail boat for a ride out to the raft house, spend a few hours enjoying swimming from the raft house or doing a hike in the jungle or to a cave and then return to their hotels by longtail boat and minivan.

I found it really difficult to figure out how to put together a visit to a raft house on Cheow Lan Lake that would be a 5-star adventure, despite reading endless TripAdvisor reviews and some blogs. Most people seemed to have arranged their tour to Cheow Lan Lake and a floating raft house once they arrived in a hotel that was within a one to three hour drive from the lake.

I also found travelers’ experiences at the raft houses varied tremendously, since some are simply too rustic for the tastes of many international tourists. But it was difficult to find detailed information about each individual floating raft house destination, especially contact information for the hotel managers, to be able to compare one hotel to another and get answers to questions.

Greenery Panvaree stood out as unquestionably the finest and most luxurious raft house on the lake, and reviewers loved their stays there, whether on daytrips or overnight. But again, I couldn’t figure out how to arrange to visit Greenery Panvaree specifically, as most pre-packaged tours don’t explicitly state which raft house would be on their itinerary.

Khao Sok Floating Raft House Resort Greenery Panvaree Chiewlarn Lake Thailand

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I finally found the Greenery Panvaree website, but it was written mostly in Thai. I began to realize that this is a special resort that Thai tourists cherish but that international tourists don’t visit very often. How cool is that — visiting a place in Thailand where local Thai people choose to vacation!!

I emailed the resort, and the owner, Yohke, who is fluent in English and is very well traveled herself, answered all my questions.

When I met her during our stay at Greenery Panvaree, I found out she lived in Seattle for a year and she was also a flight attendant on international flights for over a decade. No wonder she is so comfortable with English!

Because this is a small operation, Greenery Panvaree requires a 50% deposit to book a room to insure that the customer is serious about coming. Because this resort has been primarily a destination for Thai people, the transaction is done via wire transfer, which is a common method of payment for Thais in Thailand.

Western Union is easy for foreigners to use, and even though it seems scary to wire money to a far distant country to book a room, the rich reward is an incredible experience at Greenery Panvaree.

Sunrise Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

The view of sunrise from our room was breathtaking.

The remaining 50% is paid at the resort. This remaining portion must be paid in cash because the floating raft house is so remote there is no signal for credit card transactions. There is a low grade cell phone signal some of the time, and the TV in the restaurant broadcasts a Thai station. But who goes to a place like this sit on Facebook or watch TV?

Sunrise Cheow Lan Lake Chiewlarn Lake Khao Sok National Park Thailand

A day of adventure awaits…

The owners of Greenery Panvaree are working on setting up PayPal so they can accept online credit card transactions for room deposits to make it easier for foreign tourists, but until that is up and running, tourists shouldn’t be concerned at all by the requirement to wire funds to book their room.

Greenery Panvaree was our home base for three glorious and fun-filled days. Pics and stories from those adventures will be coming soon!!

More info and links below…

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More info about Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House:

  • The Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House Resort – Official Website
  • Be sure to choose the “English Only” menu below the top photo on the home page to see the English language pages. To read the Thai language pages auto-translated into English, use Google Chrome and install the Google Translate plugin for Chrome. The resort’s owner Yohke speaks English fluently and she is the one who responds to email inquiries. Email here.

  • Rooms and Rates at Greenery Panvaree – Official Website
  • Rooms are booked in packages of 1 or 2 nights (you can opt to stay longer too). A jungle hike, cave tour, and longtail boat rides at dawn and after dark are included in the package, depending on how many nights you stay. Our 3 day / 2 night tour was 14,900 Baht or about $440 US total for two people (National Park fee of 600 Baht ($18 US) for 2 people paid separately).

  • Location of Khao Sok Pier and Greenery Panvaree – The Longtail boat ride goes from the pier to Greenery Panvaree
  • Greenery Panvaree Reviews – TripAdvisor Reviews
  • Western Union – Send money online
  • General Info on Cheow Lan Lake Raft House Tours – This link is for reference only
  • Please note that all pre-packaged tours to floating raft houses on Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok, like the ones listed by the company at the above link, are as much as twice as expensive when booked through them as they are when booked directly with the raft house owners. The “tour package” you receive is identical. You are simply paying more to book through a third party.

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15 thoughts on “Greenery Panvaree Floating Raft House – Khao Sok National Park… Wow!

  1. Having just departed Thailand I am disappointed we didn’t find this gem. But we will put it on the list for next time. Looks amazing! Thank you for all the details.

    • I think that’s the story of travel, Shannon, and it happens to us all the time. As soon as we leave a place, or as we are getting ready to leave, we find out all the wonderful things we shouldn’t have missed. But there’s always “next time” !!!

  2. I am so glad that I stumbled onto your blog. You and your husband are adorable and inspirational (and shout out to Arizona, where my husband and I are also from). I am in the process of booking our Thailand trip in June and was having a really hard time navigating the Khao Sok lodging issue. I know I will be using your website as a resource for many trips to come. Thank you!

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