Eat, drink, and relax on a raft at this beautiful lake in Loei. An easy cruise west of Loei town brings you to the picturesque Huai Krathing Reservoir also known as Huai Nam Man. Initially created for irrigation purposes, the lake is now a recreation area that mainly draws locals looking to kick back and relax. On the western shore, a couple of countryside kitchens cook up authentic Isaan food and deliver it to your own floating pavilion. With open sides and thatch roofs, In the traditional Isaan way, eating is done while sitting on the floor. The lake is embraced on all sides by dense teak and bamboo forest, the only buildings being the rickety restaurants and floating huts and one homestay where we stayed for 3 nights by the lake
If you ever find yourself in Loei Province and you want to find some fun and Issan culture, we have the place for you. Huai Krating Reservoir (ห้วยกระทิง) is an awesome place to spend a day. You just turn up, order your food and drinks, hop onto your personal raft house, and then you’re towed out into the middle of the lake. Once there, you can spend the day eating, drinking, swimming, and just chilling out. This is a seriously fun place to go, especially with a group of good friends.
Getting to Huay Krating
You will need your own car or motorbike to get to Huai Krating. It is a one-hour drive from Loei The roads are in good condition the whole way, just head to this Google Maps location.
There are a number of different restaurants which each have its own rafts. Once you are close, you will see turnoffs for the different restaurants. It’s up to you which one to choose, but it’s likely that all have good food and similar pricing. We went to a place that is oddly called แพไผ่งาม บ้านห้วยกระทิง - The bamboo raft and got great food.
Huai Krating price and hours
Our raft cost 350 Baht for the day and would have sat at least 8 people comfortably. They have a larger raft for 600 as well. Food prices are very reasonable, typical for a Thai restaurant. Som tum starts at just 35 Baht, and a large Beer Chang is 65. If you go on a weekend, you should arrive before 2 pm as the rafts all get rented later. They open at 8 am and close between 5 and 6 pm every day.
How it works
When you arrive and park, you go and order your food from a menu. The menu where we went was all in Thai so you might need them to help you order. If you could get the dishes you want to order written before you go that would be helpful. The food tends more toward Issan dishes and made-to-order Thai food. The photo below is the menu so you could get a Thai speaker to help you make your order from this if you go to where we went.
Once you’ve ordered, they tell you your raft number and your head down. You’ll sit there waiting for 10-15 minutes while they cook your food, then they’ll bring it to you and a boat will arrive to tow you out into the middle of the reservoir. Once you’re out there, you need to call them if you want more food, beer, or ice, need the toilet, or are ready to call it a day. Then you just need to bliss out. This is one of our favorite ways to spend a day in Loei Province.
Where we stayed
There are 2 campsites around the lake for camping but you need your own tent, we stayed at a homestay they have 3 basic rooms with a bed and a fan and shower. It's basic but the terrace overlooking the lake is spacious and has beautiful views. The lady was cooking every morning a good breakfast for us we really loved the slow days by the lake.
Homestay link you can find a phone number in google maps and contact the lady on the app Line
THere are some resources to help you get your trip going:
Travel Essentials what's in my bag: To help you get started on packing, here are my essential travel and photography gear
Flights: WayAway to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.
Accommodation: Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Agoda.com are the ultimate go-to platforms to search for amazing hostels and hotels at affordable prices.
Car Rental: DiscoverCars.com is a great and reliable platform to find rental cars all over the world.
Internet: Airalo is the best way to get a sim card and has reliable internet access for your trip. All you need is an Esim-compatible smartphone, install it on your phone prior to your trip, and you are all set.
Day Trips & Tours: Viator, and GetYourGuide, are great platforms to search for activities to do
Tickets & Deals: Tiqets is always my go-to website when I want to find cheaper deals for entrance tickets to tourist attractions
Klook to find the best deals for trips in Asia, somehow they are 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency
Train, buses, and ferries 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.