When I wrote back in June about a trip to the Ratchaprapa Dam I think I mentioned I’d like to return on a day with bright sunshine. Yesterday was not it.
But it was more of a day of playing Tour Guide than being a tourist. My friend who runs the Ekman Garden Resort, a few kilometers from home, had a guest who said she’d like to visit the dam, and it was kind of yesterday or no day, so we set off in Bert at about 10am under very gloomy skies.
Unfortunately, the so-call “haze” from the hundreds of fires burning across Sumatra and Java in Indonesia, has now spread to Southern Thailand. A light southwesterly wind brought the smoggy smoky air across the Straits of Malacca a few days ago, and for the time being, the sun is almost completely blocked from view.
An international class resort tends to attract international people, many of whom have lived in several countries and travelled to lots more. Like me, they tend to feel as though they belong anywhere, but nowhere, and this always gives rise to interesting conversations. Yesterday was no exception, and by the time we arrived back at the hotel around 6:30pm, we’d covered a lot of ground, both physically and verbally. That’s what I call a Good Day.
The eastern edge of the dam, which has the only road access, is about 200kms from the resort, but it’s mostly four-lane expressways so it was an easy journey. The place where we jumped onto a boat is roughly halfway between the east coast Gulf of Thailand and the west coast Andaman Sea. The reservoir, as you can see from the map, covers a huge area, and is part of the even larger Khao Sok National Park.
Anyhoo, we booked one whole boat for the three of us so there were no time constraints on where we went, or how long we lingered over lunch.
Initially I didn’t see any point in taking photographs. They would have been nowhere near as good as the last ones. But as we moved further into the lake, I realized the scenery – although hazy – was quite unique. The distant mountains looked mystical, spooky even, and for some reason the lake looked more like an infinity pool, with the water disappearing over the edge – of something – before reaching the land. See…?
So, I’ll leave you with more photographs, whether you want them or not. 🙂
Oh … by way of a postscript, if you should read this and decide you’d like to stay in the area, there are many very reasonably priced resorts around the reservoir. There are also resorts on the reservoir, but a quick Agoda search will show you the latter are seriously over-priced.
Aside from the price, you can see from the many reviews they offer poor, or no, service. They have no phone coverage, internet, or WiFi. The food is very limited. You basically eat what you’re given, or you don’t eat.
The rooms are nothing more than small boxes with mattresses on the floor. They have no aircon, but only fans. That’s probably not too bad at night, but surrounded by mountains the area tends to be hot and airless, so a fan would not be too useful during the day, even if you could use it. Which you can’t, because they only fire-up the generator at night!
So, it’s a great area to visit, and staying a night on the lake could be a unique but expensive and perhaps frustrating, experience.