Khao Sok National Park is a magical place and one of the must-visit destinations in Thailand. If you are searching about how it’s to stay at 500Rai Floating Resort, you probably already know that the national park is amazing. And, of course, there is no better experience than staying in a Khao Sok floating bungalow.
So you have come to the right place! We spent 2 nights at 500Rai Floating Resort, and I’m going to share with you all the details about the hotel. From how it was to get to Khao Sok to the boat transfer to the hotel, what you can expect from the rooms, restaurant, facilities, and activities. Plus some personal tips to make your trip unforgettable.
Be ready for amazing views, peaceful moments, unique encounters, and fun.
500Rai Floating Resort Review
The first thing you need to know about 500Rai hotel is that for them luxury means simplicity, being in nature, and having the opportunity to experience Khao Sok in a unique way.
It’s definitely not about 5-star amenities or 4 different types of pillows, as you would expect from an accommodation in this price range. Here the park is the main star, and the hotel will help you to enjoy it in the best and most comfortable way possible.
The hotel slogan is ‘Disconnect to Reconnect,’ and staying at the 500Rai floating bungalows it’s truly an experience of disconnecting from the outside world and connecting to nature, and even to yourself or with the people you are traveling with.
Once you get to the floating hotel in Khao Sok, you will feel the park’s beauty and grandiosity. Be ready for magical sunrise and sunsets, appreciate the silence at night and hear the sounds of nature waking up.
You will never get tired of looking at that stunning scenery, and this immersive experience is only possible because of the hotel’s quiet location.
Planning your trip around Thailand? Click here to read all our guides about Thailand, from busy Bangkok to interesting Hat Yai, unique Chiang Rai to famous Koh Phi Phi, and all the incredible islands.
500Rai Floating Resort location and how to get there
The floating hotel is located in Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park – Surat Thani Province, also called Khao Sok Lake. It sits in a tranquil area of the lake, nestled between hills and close to waterfalls, hiking trails, and caves.
One thing you can be sure of, the way to this remote resort is as beautiful as its location.
It’s important to note that the park has two distinct areas, the Khao Sok Village on the mainland and where most of the hotels are located, and the Cheow Lan Lake, where you will find the raft houses and floating bungalows.
To get to 500Rai, and to the lake, you will need to combine different modes of transportation. The first part will be by road and the second on a long tail boat (a traditional Thai boat).
Depending on where you come from, you can take a bus/van/taxi to Cheow Lan Lake Pier (aka Ratchaprapha Pier at Ratchaprapha Dam). From there, you will take the boat shuttle service to the floating bungalows in Khao Sok National Park.
This is the way to get to 500Rai Floating Resort and any other floating hotel.
The long-tail boat ride to the hotel takes 1h and 30 minutes to 2 hrs. It’s like a mini lake expedition where you are introduced to the beautiful lake, its emerald green water, and its exuberant nature with strategic stops for photos
Planning and traveling this route can be a bit challenging, but it’s worth it. Once you arrive at the hotel, you will forget about all the hassle.
If you are planning your trip around south Thailand, it’s good to know that the closest airport to Khao Sok Park is Surat Thani airport, then Phuket and Krabi airports.
The easiest routes to the pier are from Surat Thani (airport and town), then from Khao Lak, Phuket and Krabi. From these areas, you can find buses, vans, or taxis that can take you to the pier or to the Khao Sok Village, from where you can take a taxi to the pier. (More tips about traveling in Thailand by bus here!)
When planning your itinerary, you also have to consider the boat transfer fee and the pier fee, and departure times. Your hotel can help you with the boat schedule.
If you don’t want to spend time planning your way to Khao Sok, you can book the 500Rai All Inclusive package that offers shuttle pickup service and boat transfer. We’ll talk about it and how to book your stay in the next topics. Keep reading!
500Rai Floating bungalows and villas
Now that you know how to get there, let me tell you what you can expect from the 500Rai rooms and villas.
The floating hotel is divided into two sections.
One is called the Connecting Zone, where Deluxe rooms, Villas, and Family Villas are located. They are linked by a walkway, and at one of the ends is the hotel’s pier, reception, restaurant and pool.
The other section is called the Suite Zone, with the Deluxe Suites, Family Suite, and Honeymoon Suite.
The Suite Zone is separated from the main resort area, offering more privacy for the guest. Being the two Deluxe Suites and Family Suite on the same floating platform, while the Honeymoon Villa floats alone.
To get from these rooms to the restaurant and pool, you can order a boat shuttle or go kayaking.
All rooms have a private veranda with lake views, kayaks, lifejackets, and bottled water. What differ are the size, the privacy, and air condition disponibility.
Rooms at the Connecting Zone
This is the basic floating bungalow in 500Rai. The room has a double bed, two mattresses on the mezzanine, and a private bathroom with a hot/cold shower.
The room has a fan and air conditioning only from 6 pm to 6 am.
The 500Rai Villa is a bit more spacious than the Deluxe Room. It also has a double bed, two mattresses on the mezzanine, but the shower (hot/cold) is separated from the bathroom with a dressing area in between.
The biggest difference is that in the Villa the air conditioning is available 24 hours.
We stayed at the Villa and loved it! It’s basic, with no frills, but comfortable and has enough space to put your luggage, walk around, and relax. I believe it’s perfect for 2 or 3 people, or 2 adults with kids.
The air conditioning for 24 hours was good, as during the afternoon the room gets really hot. If you are planning to stay out doing activities the whole day, then the A/C is not a big deal, but if you want to stay in the room, I highly recommend it.
These are two connecting rooms perfect for families or groups of friends. Each room has a double bed plus two mattresses on the mezzanine (also called loft on the hotel website). Plus a private bathroom with a hot/cold shower.
The room has air conditioning only from 6 pm to 6 am, like de Deluxe rooms.
Note: these three types of rooms have bathroom amenities and hair dryer on request.
Rooms at the Suite Zone
As I mentioned, the suite rooms are located separately from the main hotel. The room offers more privacy and space for the guests. It has a king-size bed, 2 sofa beds, 2 mattresses on the mezzanine, and 2 bathrooms with hot/cold showers.
Fan and air conditioning are available 24 hours.
This connecting room offers 86 sqm of space, with 2 king-size beds, 6 mattresses and 4 bathrooms with hot/cold showers. The veranda is also larger and connects the two rooms. The air conditioning is available 24 hours, and this room is also separated from the main hotel.
This is definitely the most amazing room in 500Rail, and maybe among all Khao Sok floating hotels.
The Honeymoon Suite is completely separated from the hotel and other floating bungalows. It has its own pier and the spacious floating house has a living room, a bedroom with a king-size bed, 2 extra mattresses on the mezzanine, and 2 bathrooms with hot/cold showers.
But the highlight of the room is the outside area with a huge veranda overlooking the lake, an open-air jacuzzi, and a private pool. It’s marvelous.
Like other suites, it offers bathroom amenities, a kayak, fans, 24 hours air conditioning plus a coffee machine.
Important to know:
You noticed that not every room has A/C available 24 hours, that’s because electricity and water are resources that need to be well managed at the floating hotels in Khao Sok. The properties are very far from the mainland public services, which increases the prices of the room and services offered.
FYI, 500Rai hotel is powered by a fuel generator. The water comes from the lake but it goes through a process to make it skin-safe and leaves no residue when returned to nature.
The hotel’s waste is also managed carefully. A daily cargo ship collects the rubbish and disposes it properly on the mainland. For the sewage, there is a holding tank at the property that keeps the waste until it’s transported to the mainland (once a month) for proper disposal.
Also, there is no room cleaning daily. However, they do leave a bag in front of your door with clean towels, toilet paper, and fresh water every day.
500Rai Floating hotel facilities
Guests have access to the hotel restaurant, outdoor swimming pool and lake. Those are the common areas where guests enjoy the meals, the happy hour and wait for the tours and activities.
The restaurant is spacious, well-ventilated and, of course, has amazing lake and pool views.
Breakfast is buffet style with Thai food and Western options, an egg station where you can order omelets, scrambled or fried eggs), a coffee and tea station, juices, fruits, salads and cereals.
I personally loved that they have some traditional Southern Thai breakfast like rice noodles with fish curry, spice and so flavourful. The perfect kick to start the morning.
The lunch and dinner menu offers well-known Thai dishes like tom kha gai, massaman curry and stir-fried dishes of rice or noodle with options of chicken or pork. On the Western side, you can get a chicken steak with fries and salads.
The bar has a good variety of cocktails, beers and soft drinks.
If you book the all-inclusive package you will have to choose your lunch and dinner from a fixed menu that includes one appetizer and two main dishes per person. Also bottles of water and fruit for dessert.
We liked the options for lunch and dinner, some dishes were better than others. For me, they could be a bit spicier or more seasoned, but again it’s personal taste.
For those that book only the room, you can order whatever you want from the restaurant menu and pay according to your choices.
If you have any food allergies, like me, it’s important to inform the property in advance, preferably before your arrival so they can make any necessary arrangements. I’m allergic to a couple of things, and they were very accommodating in changing ingredients and adapting the menu.
Keep in mind that this is the only restaurant in the hotel and in the area. It’s open from 6 am to 9 pm.
The outdoor pool is so interesting, it floats in the middle of the lake, so you have a 360º view of the park, swimming in the middle of the lake, but not actually in the lake water. It’s a good option for kids or people who don’t feel comfortable swimming in a lake.
There is no lifeguard on duty at the pool, so you need to look after yourself and your kids. The pool is open from 6 am to 9 pm.
The hotel is in a calm and secluded area of Cheow Lan Lake, although you can feel the waves when a boat sails nearby, or the boat shuttle from the hotel passes near your bungalow.
It’s interesting to feel it during the day, but the movement of the bungalows didn’t bother us at all, especially at night time.
You can swim in the lake, the emerald water is crystal clear and so warm. However, it’s advised to do it only during daylight, for safety reasons.
Also, it’s really deep (some points up to 40 meters of depth). If you are not a confident swimmer you can use the life jackets provided in each room.
Kayaking in Khao Sok is also a must, and you can do it whenever you want. Just grab the kayak in front of your room, put your lifejacket on, pack your camera and go paddling on the beautiful green water.
Again, if you are not very experienced try to stay close to the hotel or shore, and don’t paddle too far away or in dark hours.
Don’t forget to buy your travel insurance before going to the park, actually before leaving home!
We recommend Heymondo travel insurance for trips shorter than 1 month, they offer great coverage and their customer service is great.
When traveling for longer periods we use SafetWing, you can check their prices and policies here. If you are a digital nomad like us, read our guide comparing long-term travel insurance and stay safe.
500Rai tours and activities
Kayaking and swimming are only two of the many things you can do in Khao Sok National Park. If you like nature, this place is for you.
Activities you can do in Khao Sok Park while staying at 500Rai:
- Swimming on Khao Sok lake (free and you can do it by yourself)
- Kayaking (free and you can do it by yourself)
- Paddle boarding (you can rent the boards and do it by yourself)
- Hiking through the forest and up to amazing viewpoints (guided)
- Trekking to visit incredible caves (guided)
- Visit waterfalls (guided)
- Boat tours for wildlife watching(guided)
There are also a few activities you can do at the hotel, like:
- Cooking class (need to be booked in advance)
- Cocktail class (need to be booked in advance)
- Thai massage (need to be booked in advance)
Depending on the type of package you choose, some activities will be included, and others you need to pay separately. It’s all up to you, you can join some of the awesome excursions or stay relaxing at the beautiful resort.
How to book your stay at 500Rai Khao Sok
I know that by now you already want to travel to Khao Sok and stay at 500Rai, so how can you turn this dream into a real-life plan?
Easy, there are two ways to book your Rai Khao Sok floating resort, one is via 500Rai website (click here), email ([email protected]), or phone(+66 7795 3013). The other one is via Booking.com (click here).
Both ways you will have the same options for rooms, the only difference is what is included or not in the room rate. And it’s here that you need to pay attention and read all the information carefully before booking.
When booking directly with the hotel you will see that 500Rai prices vary according to the room type and what is included in the hotel experience/package. They have from basic options of a room with breakfast to all-inclusive packages.
If you book your room via Booking.com you only get the option of a room (deluxe, villa, or suite) with breakfast.
In the end, it’s about what type of experience you want to have and your travel budget.
What is included in 500Rai room rate?
It doesn’t matter how you book your room, it will always include:
- kayak at your veranda
- access to the lake and pool
Then if you book the hotel packages you can also have lunch and dinner included (Dine & Do package). Or you can opt for a package that includes meals, hotel pick-up service (from Surat Thani, Khao Lak, Phuket or Krabi areas) to the pier, and the boat transfer from the pier to the floating hotel (roundtrip for guests).
And there is the Ultimate All Inclusive that includes everything mentioned above plus activities in the park such as trekking, hiking and boat tours.
We had the Ultimate All-Inclusive and it was a bliss to have everything organized by the hotel. The only thing we cared about was enjoying and having fun. It comes with a higher price tag, but you get to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
What is NOT included in 500Rai room rate?
- Khao Sok National Park fee*: Bath 200 per person, pay at the pier.
- Pier fee*: Bath 20 per person, pay at the pier.
- Internet connection**
- Airport shuttle service or transfer to/from your hotel to the pier, and the boat service to/from the pier to the floating resort (included only in selected packages)***
- Tours and activities in the park (included only in selected packages)
- Lunch and dinner (included only in selected packages)
*Prices we paid on our visit in Dec 2022. The park entrance fee is cheaper for Thai citizens.
** The 500Rai doesn’t include internet in the room rate. The idea is that you will disconnect from the outside world. So if you need internet you can pay for the service, and choose between 1-hour internet or 1-day pass.
*** You can book the land and boat transfers with the hotel for an additional charge***
Note: The details about the hotel location and how to get there are at the beginning of this article.
What to pack for Khao Sok National Park
It’s Thailand, so the weather will be hot all year long.
I suggest you pack to Khao Sok:
And then your regular clothes for staying at the hotel and traveling around. The hotel amenities are basic, only shampoo and body wash, so if you need more stuff to look after your hair or skin, bring them along with you.
If possible, travel light!
The boat to the hotels in Khao Sok is small and there isn’t much room for luggage unless you book a private transfer. Also, the bags can get slightly wet on the boat, so if you have a waterproof case or cover for your luggage, this is the moment to use it.
Our stay at 500Rai Floating Resort in Khao Sok
We loved every second of our stay at 500Rai Resort! Khao Sok was on our travel plans for so many years and finally, we visited.
It’s not one of the easiest destinations in Thailand, planning a trip to Khao Sok can be challenging, getting there takes time and it’s an expensive destination when compared with other places. But it’s magical and unforgettable.
The hotel was very comfortable, the helpful staff was always lovely to us, and even with some language barrier (not everyone speaks perfect English), everything went as expected.
Not having internet was a blessing! It was the first time since 2014 that we stayed over 24 hours without touching our laptops and social media. It was an amazing feeling.
What would we do differently?
We stayed 2 nights at 500Rai, and I wish it was 3, so we could do more activities.
We did a sunrise boat tour for bird watching, went on a waterfall hike (where we actually climbed the waterfall itself), and did an evening wildlife-watching tour. Plus a couple of hours kayaking and swimming. But I wish we had one more day to do a hike to the Tarzan viewpoint, more kayaking and more star gazing from our villa balcony.
You also need to take into consideration that check-out time is 9:30 am so you can catch the longtail boat to the pier (the way back is faster, 1hr boat ride or a bit more).
We woke up really early on the last day to enjoy this amazing location, but we only had a couple of hours for swimming, packing and having breakfast.
That’s it! Our comprehensive review ends here. If you want to see more of our experience at Khaosok National Park, head to our Instagram. The Reels will make you want to pack your bags and travel to Khao Sok right now.
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