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The Raft Hotel

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Experiencing nature gives us a feeling of escape, to feel free of the restraints of the cities. We can thrill to the wonders of southern Thailand's jungles for one-of-a-kind adventures. The Elephant Hills Tent Camp Resort offers adventures for everyone's skills and tastes.

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Our guide drove us to the pier, inside the Khao Sok National Park and we boarded the long tailed boat, the only one allowed on the Cheow Larn Lake. I found a great spot on the bow to relax and take pictures. Surrounded by the limestone Karst mountains and rainforest, there was so much to see we did not know which way to look as the boat slowly made its way across the lake.

The unique shapes and colors of the mountains have been compared to Guilin, China. Just think a little further inside the jungle there were Bengal tigers, elephants, and other wild animals roaming free. Elephant Hills feels their tours will "re-awaken your soul".

After boating across the lake for 1-1/2 hours, we stopped at a raft hotel. Yes, a hotel built on a long floating wooden raft owned by locals. Everything was primitive for a stay overnight or a few days, a simple hotel structure considered luxury in the jungle but very basic for tourists. Guests had to bend down to enter through the door to a small room with only a mattress on the floor.

We ate lunch in the wood frame restaurant and were surprised to be served very tasty selection of sweet and sour chicken, spinach pork, omelet with pork, curry, and fried fish.

After lunch, there was time to enjoy canoeing, inner tubes, and to swim or fish from the raft. This was a chance to see life in the jungle. What an unusual tour!

Elephant Hills organizes special programs upon request for those who want more daring adventures which was not me. The guide takes them on a six hour trek through the jungle to follow elephant footprints. Part of the time they were up to their waist in water.

Elephant Hills is Thailand's first Luxury Tented jungle camp, Khao Sok. www.elephant-hills.com

Motorcycle Touring

With its craggy hills, forests, endless coastlines, unspoiled national parks, magnificent temples, advanced road network and accommodation to suit all budgets, Thailand ranks as one of the world's great destinations for motorcycle touring. Probably the most spectacular part is in the north and northwest, along the shared western border with Myanmar (Burma), made up of rugged hills from Mae Sai in the far north to Ranong in the south.

In the rural northeastern provinces of Thailand, known collectively as Isaan, motorcyclists can cruise through flatlands dotted with sugar palms, through Khao Yai National Park and past the exquisite Khmer ruins at Phanom Rung and Phimai. Southern Thailand offers rides down coastlines of white sand, fringed with pine trees and eerie limestone outcrops. www.gt-rider.com

The Tourism Authority of Thailand provides suggested itineraries so you can save time planning your trip by seeing their website. Select a destination, the length of time you wish to stay, budget for accommodation, and list your interests. They even include tour packages. www.mythailand.com

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