Khao Sok is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Thailand. This National Park covers an area of 739km2 and sits in the Surat Thani Province of South Western Thailand, above Phang-Nga. If you want to get away from the bright lights and bustle of Bangkok, a trip to Khao Sok is an absolute must. In this article, we look at how to get to the park, where to stay, and what to do.
The Geography and Biodiversity of Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok is known as a virgin rainforest – it is extremely old and has a forest that is just as diverse and verdant as the Amazon Rainforest. The landscape is made up of a multitude of limestone and sandstone rock formations. Moreover, vast forests full of bamboo and other tree species covers much of the park. Within its boundaries, you can find endless varieties of plant and flora such as Mangosteen, Durian and Jujube. Finally, the park is packed full of wildlife including the Tapir, Asian Elephant, Tiger and Banteng.
How to get to Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok is based in a remote location. The closest inhabited tourist areas are Phuket and Khao Lak. The following is some basic travel info on how to get to the national park:
From Khao Lak:
– Local bus service: one bus per hour approx. 160 Baht – Journey time: 2 hours
– Tours: Many day tours leave from Khao Lak and include a minibus journey to the park
– Local bus service: one bus per hour approx. 160 Baht – Journey time: 4 hours
– Tours: Many day tours leave from Phuket and include a minibus journey to the park
– Plane: Flights from Bangkok to either Phuket or Surat Thani
– Train: Bangkok to Surat Thani – book in advanced as the southern line is busy
– Bus or Minivan: Once you have flown to Phuket or Surat Thani, a bus journey takes approx 4 hours from Phuket. A minivan from Surat Thani airport to Khao Sok usually takes less than two hours.
Places to Stay in Khao Sok National Park
Most people will opt to stay in Khao Lak or Phuket and simply take day trips to Khao Sok. The journey from Khao Lak is approximately 2 hours, but from Phuket, it takes a minimum of 3 hours 50 minutes. If you want the full jungle experience, we wholeheartedly advise staying in the park itself, however. Khao Sok has a variety of great resorts.
This resort features reasonable prices and provides you with your very own jungle cabin. The accommodation is well equipped and it is possible to see the river from your decking. If you want food and drink, the Rafflesia Café is your on-site venue of choice.
If you want something a little more upmarket, the Royal Cliff Resort & Spa is the hotel for you. Still cheap in comparison to similar hotels elsewhere, this hotel is magnificent. As you would imagine, you are surrounded by immense limestone cliffs; the views from your villas are superb. This hotel also offers boat tours along the river.
This resort features glamping accommodation that is in an elevated position – the views from the villas are awesome, especially during sunset and sunrise. The amenities are top class, and there is also a pool to relax in after a busy day trekking through Khao Sok.
Top Things to do in Khao Sok National Park
You could comfortably spend a week or longer exploring this beautiful protected area. However, most people only stay for a few days, so picking the best activities is important. From boat tours to jungle trekking, there is something for everyone in Khao Sok. The following are some of the top-rated things to do in this National Park:
Cheow Lan Lake
In the northern parts of Khao Sok, you can find the epic Cheow Lan Lake. This body of water is renowned for its beauty and limestone rocks stemming from the depths to provide a stunning landscape. A boat tour on this lake is one of the top things to do within the park. The Rajjaprabha Dam offers a superb viewpoint of the lake and surrounding cliffs. Alternatively, you could choose to stay in a floating cabin on the lake and wake up to the sunrise in this peaceful and majestic area.
Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary
Deep within the park you can find a haven for elephants – Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary. This place believes in the Fair treatment and respect of elephants – no chains and no riding. Visiting the sanctuary will provide you with a close encounter with these majestic animals. You can feed them and learn about their behaviour and habits.
Also known as Coral Cave, this subterranean wonder is usually included within a trip to Cheow Lan Lake. The cave is only accessible via boat, and you must be comfortable climbing stairs. Within the cave, you can see some stunning limestone formations and some mind-boggling stalactites and stalagmites. Tip: Watch out for bat poo!
Many tour companies offer an exhilarating trek through the forests of Khao Sok. This is the best way to see the national park first hand. You are likely to see some amazing wildlife species and insects with the added possibility of seeing gibbons and maybe even a snake or two. You may even be fortunate enough to see the rare Rafflesia flower, which is the largest in the world.
We hope you have found this guide useful – Khao Sok really is an amazing place to visit. From luscious jungles and towering limestone cliffs to gorgeous lakes and elephant sanctuaries – this is undoubtedly one of the most breath-taking parts of Thailand.
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