Khao Sok National Park captures much of what makes Southern Thailand’s environment so unique. It has vast rainforests teeming with wildlife, rivers, and majestic limestone cliffs rising above it all. Lots of people travel to Khao Sok for activities like hiking and many water activities.
Plants and Animals
A part of Khao Sok is covered with tropical evergreen forests and other parts with tropical rainforests. One of the most bio-diverse domains is The National Park of Khao Sok, as there are almost 200 floral varieties on each hectare. The many species of Khao Sok include Rafflesia, Pitcher Plant, Bamboo, Dipterocarp Tree, Figs, Coconut Palms, and Lianas.
There are many beautiful and attentive animals found in The National Park of Khao Sok. Khao Sok is home to more than 50 mammal species, more than 310 bird species, 30 bat species, and hundreds of reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
You can expect to see mammals like the Asian elephants, Barking Deer, Malayan Sun bears, swinging gibbons, etc. Birds like Great Hornbill, Blue-winged pitta, Kingfishers, and Grey-breasted spiderhunter are among the species of Khao Sok. Asian water monitor, Red-tailed green rat snake, Mangrove Pit Viper, Mangrove Snake, Monocled Cobra, Leeches, Common tree frog, King Cobra, etc., are among the numerous species of reptiles and amphibians.
Beauties of Khao Sok National Park
Chiew Lan Lake (Ratchaprapha)
There is a magnificent lake positioned approximately 65 kilometers east of The National Park of Khao Sok Offices. The drive there would take about one hour. It was developed in 1982. Limestone outcrops reaching higher than 950m stand above the lake.
Chiew Lan Lake is normally visited as part of a day tour or an overnight tour. Others like to travel alone. Tours usually transport visitors to the location and provide guides. Aside from canoeing, if you fancy visiting the rainforest while you’re there, there are trekking possibilities across the lake. You can rent a boat for 2000 Bahts (about 65USD) per day from local fishers at the river’s entry. In addition, you can discover the coves, waterways, and caves along the lakefront by renting a boat.
From the southwestern coast, you can walk to two caves. The limestone formations of Tham Nam Thalu and the underground streams are grand. The rainy season is not a recommended period for visiting because there have been incidents in the past.
The other one is Tham Si Ru. Between 1975 and 1982, communist rebels used Tham Si Ru’s four interlinked passageways as a hidey-hole. There is a pathway along Chiew Lan Lake’s southwestern shore that leads to the cave.
Ton Kloi Waterfall
The key path of the national park, which passes across the Sok River and heads to Ton Kloi Waterfall, is 7 kilometers long. Ton Kloi is a gorgeous waterfall that originates from the canal Klong Sok. It’s a year-round, singular waterfall that flows down from a high cliff.
The path is mostly walkable by yourself. However, the last 4 kilometers of this path, over the path head, will necessitate the help of a guide. It’s a genuine jungle path that takes you through many tinier waterfalls, a place for you to swim, and a gorge before ending at Ton Kloi Waterfall.
There are other waterfalls in this park, and all of them are less than 7 kilometers away from the office of Khao Sok. However, remember that some of them are not attractive through the dry season.
The most common waterway around the lake is Khlong Long, which is positioned on the northeast side of the lake, is less than 20 kilometers from Cheow Lan Lake Dock. Limestone slopes, a cave, and a relaxing perspective are the most satisfying parts of this waterway, and travelers can reach them after a two-and-a-half-hour hike through the woods. One can see five raft houses in Khlong long. They are in acceptable condition.
This waterway is about 25 km from Ratchaprapha Dam. It was once considered the most distant river in Thailand before the time that the dam was constructed. The Klong Saeng River fills the lake too. You have to get the permits from the Khao Sok office and expend some money to enter the area.
This secluded section of the lake is perfect for hiking and nature observation. Hiking through a nature reserve, it is possible to view waterfalls, mines, and mammals such as gibbons and deer. Occasionally, even more, interesting animals like elephants, mainland serow, great Argus, and others would be noticeable. The preserve is also home to distinctive types of bears.
On the northern side of the lake, Khlong Mon is about 25 kilometers from Cheow Lan Lake Dock. The region is characterized by high heels and shallow valleys that make it an excellent site to see hornbills, eagles, and other species. An entertaining path through the woods will lead west to the Khlong Saeng waterway, taking less than 5kilometers. On the north side of the waterway are other smaller trails that you can access. Tam Gia is the single raft house of this area.
Things to Do in Khao Sok National Park
It’s possible to rent Inner Tubes and float the river throughout the stormy season as the river is full. A few organizations in the area provide transport to and from the starting point. This water activity must take about an hour to 1.5 hours. Note that you have to pay about 400 or 500 Bahts (13-15 USD) per person.
Consider that canoeing provides a more enjoyable option than tubing when you don’t like floating in the water. Canoeing down the gently flowing Sok River is the perfect carefree activity. It’s even better if you have a canoe guy to take care of all the difficult work. Moreover, they are experts in finding animals along the river as well.
You may be fortunate enough to recognize distinctive species. Apart from the wildlife, there are beautiful limestone cliffs covered in dense jungle, as well as some regional communities along the river. Locals fish, wash laundry, and get their water for everyday use from the river. An excursion to a cave might also be fun later. This must take about two hours and a half, costing about 800 Bahts (about 25 USD).
This guided journey on a moving bamboo raft takes you off the tourist trail. With the help of a leader, you will identify distinctive animals and plants as you float down the river. The excursion includes exploring a cave and trekking across the area. Just like the Canoe trip, Bamboo rafting might take a little longer than the other mentioned water activities (about 4 hours) and costs 1200 Bahts (about 38 USD)
The whole park is full of distinctive species, some infrequent and others easily observable. With some luck, you might be able to see mammals like long-tail macaques and banded-langurs. However, bigger mammals like elephants are not likely to appear near the common tourist treks. Amphibians, snakes, and lizards are usually observable in ways that end up in the waterfalls. A fine time to see reptiles and amphibians is in the dusk.
What to Pack to Khao Sok?
There are some essentials when you are getting into a tropical forest. Consider this list when you are packing for a trip into The National Park of Khao Sok: Drybag, Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Playing Cards, Water bottle, Swimsuit, Chacos, Bug spray or balm, a Towel, Headlamp, extra clothes for the time you’re getting wet, Swimsuit, maybe a pair of Flip flops, and of course, Snacks.
There are many Resorts, B&Bs, Lodges, and Cottages in The National Park of Khao Sok. They all give acceptable facilities like Wi-Fi, restaurants, and Free parking. These places are mostly budget and family-friendly. Still, there are some romantic and mid-range resorts for those interested.
If seeking something else, there is a place for camping near the office of The park, with facilities like toilets, showers, and a tiny café. For more fees, you can hire tents, pillows, blankets, and sleep bags.
Many restaurants are available in the Khao Sok village close to the National Park. There you can try a variety of Thai and international foods, all of the fine quality.
In short, the weather is usually hot. From April to December, you have to expect lots of rainfalls as they are all considered to be in the wet season. With an average maximum temperature of 34°C, March is the most tropical month of the year. In September, the maximum rainfalls are seen. Therefore, if you don’t like wet months, you really should avoid traveling in September.
An acceptable time to hit The National Park of Khao Sok is June to September, the most suitable time for water sports. From May to October, everywhere is really green. You can expect occasional rains and muddy hikes during the dry season, normally from November to April. Khao Sok is best attended during the dry season.
Here you can see a table of the average temperature and precipitation in Khao Sok:
Way to Khao Sok
The Khao Sok National Park is accessible from different places. Most of the tours take care of transferring you to the region. Still, It isn’t hard to go there, and you can do it by yourself.
If you are traveling from Bangkok, you can fly to Surat Thani Airport (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานสุราษฎร์ธานี). In addition to being close to Khao Sok, Surat Thani is also small and has a relaxed atmosphere. There are regular airplane flies from Bangkok to Krabi and Phuket. They are both close to the park. Also, Koh Samui is close to The National Park of Khao Sok since it’s in the same province. Although Samui is an island, it’s a good option.
Trains from Bangkok’s Hualanphong Station connect to Surat Thani’s Phun Pin station overnight. It’s recommended to buy a first-class ticket. Generally speaking, trains arrive close to 7:30 in the morning. From there, you can go to the National park. Train number 167 is Rapid and departs at 6:30 PM. Train number 85 is express and leaves an hour later. Finally, trains number 39 and 41 are Special Express, leaving Bangkok at 10:50 PM. The prices of first-class tickets vary from 578 Bahts (about 18.5 USD) to 1839 Bahts (59 USD).
Some minibusses depart from Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, Koh Samui, and Don Sak Pier to the destination of Khao Sok. Their pick-up time will get confirmed when you buy a ticket. Ferries are prepared from Samui and Koh Phangan to DonSak Pier.
- Remember to take enough water with yourself.
- Please carry your garbage to the Park Entrance.
- Many species might not be safe, so you should avoid touching anything that you do not know.
- Don’t go through the unknown paths without a leader.