Location: Khao Sok | Rating: 3 star | Rooms: 21 | Pool: no
Although there are quite a few treehouse hotels at the edge of Khao Sok National Park, Our Jungle House stands head and shoulders above the rest. Khao Sok is a remnant of rainforest which is older and more diverse than the Amazon and is known as a place to enjoy nature and the very special experience of staying in a floating rafthouse on spectacular Chiaw Laan lake. Sleeping amidst the branches gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle, the perfect antidote to hectic city life.
Situated on 25 acres of privately-owned rainforest, Our Jungle House is the only treehouse resort actually in the jungle and the rooms look out over a clear river stream or majestic limestone cliffs, surrounded by natural forest. The treehouses (and bungalows if you don’t have a head for heights!) are comfortable and peaceful, crafted from natural materials to blend in with their surroundings and have environmentally-conscious design. That means no air conditioning, but the rooms remain cool and the sound of the river and insects all around will definitely lull you into a good night’s sleep.
As well as overnighting at the lake, you can choose from a variety of activities including hikes and night safaris to bird watching with the best local guides, canoeing or tubing on the Sok river, jungle yoga and massage, making Our Jungle House a wonderful place to base yourself as you get away from it all.
As befits their position right by a national park, sustainability and treading lightly is hugely important to the owner and staff. When we visited we were really impressed by their level of committment, including rainwater collection and greywater reuse, reverse filtration of drinking water, composting, organic garden, helping a local chicken farmer go freerange and then buying from him and even making their own yoghurt, bread and chocolate sauce. They are trying to phase out plastic use while encouraging local businesses to do the same and were set up as a low energy hotel from the beginning, so there are no TVs, aircon, fridges and so on in the rooms.
This philosophy extends to their staff and the local community and they aim to be a resource that helps the whole area to become more environmentally conscious. Being green was a culture shock for the staff - 90% of whom are from the local area – at first, but now they are helping to change local attitudes, supported by Our Jungle House’s voluntary environmental teaching in schools and guide training.
Beyond their green credentials, they have also helped to build a school for Burmese children with no access to education and support the local economy by using local services from guides and bartenders to electricians and tree trimmers. Last and not least, they pay and treat their staff well, for example by giving salary bonuses and providing accommodation, with some going on to start their own local businesses with what they’ve learned.