Before we made our way to the boat rental station at Lake Cheow Lan, tempting Thai flavors filled our noses and led us astray. It's pretty much impossible to say no to delicious Thai food, and it's only smart to get filled up before an adventure day on the lake. Of course I ordered myself some laab moo (minced pork) and som tum (a sweet and spicy papaya salad) and my friend Kevin threw down for a couple of other tasty Thai dishes too.
Long tail boat for three
With full and happy bellies, the three of us made our way to the long-tail boat rental station. Kevin, being the ever-amazing planner he is, had an idea of three main spots he wanted us to see during the boat tour of the lake. As we were trying to arrange our route via our interpreter's (Kevin) broken Thai, a hippie couple made their way into our boat-rental circle. They asked us if we were renting a boat and if they could join on our boat. None of us were too keen on sharing, but apparently all of us were too nice in the moment to immediately shut them down. This inferiority of fortitude apparently translated into the French hippie culture as "Go ahead! Join us! Let us do as your bidding, our boat is now your boat!" as the couple instantly gave their lakeside locational demands. Kevin explained that we were in fact NOT planning on going to any of their lakeside requests, but that we had these 3 points in our planned route. The French couple then (THANKFULLY!) turned their backs to discuss their boat-rental options amongst themselves which gave us enough time to pay for our boat, ensure our route points and head to the dock before the couple could attempt to join in.
The $20/person fee for our own personal boat tour of Cheow Lan Lake was an absolute steal if you ask me. Cheow Lan Lake is beyond beautiful. Limestone karst's lush with palms jut out of crystal sea green and aqua blue water all around you, making you feel like a stranger stepping through a portal into a new magical world. It was hard to believe this enchanted place is actually a man-made lake!
After a bit of boating, our tour guide took us to a row of cabanas floating along the lake. Joshua and Kevin made their way to a two-man diving pole and I watched them jump in a handful of times like school boys. I was a bit timid as I had spotted some good-sized fishies swimming around...and my timidness was more than likely influenced by a Russian family who's kids kept having a laugh throwing food in the water around their parents to get said fishies to swim in their direction.
Mando on the water
The boys had their fun diving and I was able to get some swim time in after the fish-feeding Russians left. We made our way back to our long-tail and Joshua pulled out his mandolin and played some sweet tunes for us while we explored more of the lake.
Sunset on Cheow lan Lake
With sunset on our heels, our long-tail boat guide took us back to the docks. Joshua joked as we debarked "Wouldn't it be funny if that French couple were still at the rental place trying to hitch a cheap ride from some other poor saps?" And sure as shit, as we're walking back to our rental car we hear the distinct yelling of French nearby. I'm guessing they never found a ride out to the lake.
I have to say, if you ever find yourself in Thailand, take the time and head to Cheow Lan Lake....and DON'T be stingy....$60 for a personal tour of the lake is nothing less than a steal.