Elephant Hills is located in Khao Sok in Southern Thailand, and is the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. It is situated between Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi to the south, and Koh Samui to the east. You will find lush jungles, stunning vertical limestone mountains, hidden lakes and a wide variety of flora and fauna. In short, it is the perfect destination for a little soft-adventure in between visiting Bangkok and the Southern beaches. It isn't for everyone, but if you like getting outdoors and into the jungle, then Elephant Hills is your answer.
Elephant Hills Tented Camp comprises two separate camps; the first is the main camp, located just outside of the National Park. It has 30 tents surrounding a main communal dining area where guests mingle after their adventures and for meals. The tents themselves are simple - so please don't expect an African style luxury camp. They do, however, offer everything you need - they come with en-suite bathrooms providing hot showers, comfortable beds, hand-crafted furniture and the tents are protected from the obligatory bugs that thrive in the jungle. They aren't air-conditioned, but do have fans that keep you cool at night. The chorus that only a jungle can provide will sing out in all its glory at night - you do feel like you are away from it all.
Meals are really rather tasty, using fresh locally-sourced Thai ingredients and you can even have a go at learning a little Thai cookery to impress your friends with when you return home. The staff are great - relaxed and informal and there to help when needed. All meals and activities are included in the price, but drinks are extra. There is a lovely camp atmosphere at night - many guests sitting by the fire telling stories about their day's adventures.
The second camp is located within the Khao Sok National Park and comprises 10 en-suite tents floating on the Cheow Larn Lake. Powered by Solar and Wind energy - you are staying at a place that takes its sustainable tourism policies seriously. Do note that tents open right out to the lake, so they don't allow children under 7 - and even then, it is a more adventurous option than the main camp and better suited to older families. It is however right within the heart of the park and as such is such a special experience.
The absolute highlight of Elephant Hills is what you can do by day. All activities are conducted as part of a small group (they don't offer private excursions), this does mean you can get to know other couples or families. Their signature experience is their Elephant interaction. You will be able to feed them during one of their meals, meet the mahouts, and watch them bathe. Elephant Hills does not offer Elephant rides - and this is largely because of their dedication to sustainable tourism practices.
Elephant Hills also offer a range of one, two and three night experiences - and we think combining the two camps is worthwhile. For children under 7, we recommend either the 3-day Jungle Safari or the 4-day Nature Safari. Experiences include canoeing along the Sok River - right under the towering limestone cliffs. We won't say you will see an abundance of wildlife like you would in say Borneo or the Amazon, but enjoy the scenery and the wildlife is an added bonus if they come out to say hello. From lizards, to frogs and the odd exotic bird, the jungle's inhabitants are diverse and interesting. At the Rainforest Camp, jump in and swim on the Cheow-Lan Lake and take a walk into the heart of the rainforest. Don't think you need to be Bear Grylls to do this - it is a gentle amble through, with one of Elephant Hill's guides who are really knowledgeable about the flora and fauna you will pass - the variety is immense and if you are lucky you might spot the odd Gibbon Monkey. Elephant Hills Tented Camp offers a really light wildlife experience that gives you something a little extra than just heading to one of Thailand's many beaches. In that sense, it is seriously worth spending a few nights if you like the great outdoors.