Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is a jungle reserve in Southern Thailand. It is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Thailand.

Understand

History

The Royal Forest Department declared Khao Sok the 22nd national park of Thailand on 22 Dec 1980.

Landscape

The park has a total area of 738 km2, which covers parts of the Khlong Yee and Khlong Pra Sang forests as well as portions of the Krai Son and the Khao Pung sub-districts in the district of Ban Ta Khun and the Khlong Sok and Panom sub–districts in the province of Surat Thani.

Get in

From/to Bangkok: By plane: Surat Thani airport is nearer, but you can also choose Phuket airport. By train: Surat Thani train station is the nearest one. Be careful: the southern line is very busy, advance booking is highly recommended. By night bus: There is only one night bus from Bangkok per day stopping at Khao Sok. In Bangkok, it seems that the only way to book and buy it is to go directly to the southern bus station in Bangkok (booking any other night bus sold by agencies is not recommended). In Khao Sok, it is possible to book and buy it in the local agency or at your hotel (ask for the real VIP bus, direct from Khao Sok to Bangkok).

From/to Ko Lanta, Ko Jum or Ko Phi Phi: 650-700 baht for Ko Lanta or Ko Jum; 550-600 baht for Ko Phi Phi.

From/to Krabi: Only one minibus per day, starting from Krabi at about 11:00; starting from Khao Sok at 08:30. Transit time is 3 hours. Price: 300-350 baht.

From/to Phuket or Khao Lak: There is a bus service (approximately one bus per hour; the last one starts from Phuket around 14:00). Transit time is 4 hours from Phuket and 2 hours from Khao Lak (including a 20 min stop in Takua Pa that you may use to visit the local market). Price: about 160 baht from Phuket and from Khao Lak about 120 baht.

From/to Surat Thani: Bus running approximately every hour. Transit time is about 2.5 hours. Price: about 120 baht. There is also a minibus service: departure every hour from 07:30 till 17:30 (but the last one can be cancelled)

Fees/Permits

300 baht for foreigners, 100 baht for students, 40 baht for Thais. Buy your admission at the park entrance. Many tours will include the park entrance fee, something to take into consideration when choosing a tour. Upon presentation of a Work Permit or Thai Driver's Licence, the fee may be reduced to the Thai rate at the gatekeeper's discretion.

Get around

Walking is the primary mode of transportation, as the road to the park is only 2 km and the farthest one can walk into the park is about 20 km.

See

Do

Tours can include tubing down the river, caving, kayaking, and zipline riding in the forest canopy. Many tours will include drinks, food, and/or basic accommodation. Ask your guide in advance about dietary concerns (vegetarian or in Thai, "jay", for example), if lunch is to be provided for you on the tour.

Doing any 2-4 day tour in the national park will easily please any traveler. Your guesthouse can easily help set you up. Choosing a tour that involves at least one night in a floating raft house in the national park lake is an unforgettable experience.

Suggested itinerary

Khao Sok 4 Days / 3 Nights

Day 1: Leave for the area around Khao Sok National Park headquarters in the morning from Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi, or Surat Thani. Visit the elephant camp and explore nature by canoeing down the Sok River. In the evening, enjoy the sounds of the rain forest.

Day 2: Visit the jungle cave temple. Go hiking in the national park by yourself or by hiring a local guide. The trails inside the park are well marked and there are several waterfalls on the way. In Jan-Feb it's possible to find the world's biggest flower, the Rafflesia blossom.

Day 3: Continue to Chiew Lan Lake about 70 km away and depart from the Rajjabrapa pier. On the way to the raft houses, sail amidst spectacular rock formations and make a detour for Gulin of Khao Sok, a scenic place on the lake. Check into a simple bamboo raft house. Paddle a canoe to explore the lake and look for wildlife. Take a bamboo raft to a newly discovered drip stone cave. This tour can also be arranged from your resort. Morning Mist Resort offers a lodging discount when you book an activity.

Day 4: Value your stay in the wilderness. Get up with the sun. Take a canoe or arrange with the boat driver to go for a safari to scan the banks. Morning is the time of day when the animals are most active and if a branch in the canopy flicks from one side to the other, it is often a group of monkeys searching for their first meal of the day. Take a swim in the lake and head back to the pier by longtail boat. Transfer to ongoing destinations can be arranged.

Buy

Souvenirs are limited to the gift shop at the park entrance and a few items at convenience stores. Sundries, snack foods, soy milk, and cold drinks can be found in the shops as well.

Eat

Most guesthouses have a restaurant. Meals are usually 70-100 baht; cuisines are limited to Thai and European dishes. The standard of hygiene across all establishments is high, however if you are concerned look for places displaying the Clean Food, Good Taste sign. This appellation is bestowed by the government on restaurants that maintain a high standard of cleanliness and food preparation.

All restaurants have fresh fruit and fruit juices or shakes (fruit blended with ice). Convenience stores often sell bananas and other fresh fruit outside their establishments. Depending on the season, you will see in the trees and for sale a variety of fruit, including rambutan, longan, pomelo, mango, mangosteen, a few varieties of banana, papaya, and guava.

Drink

There is one main road in Khao Sok where all of the guesthouses and bars are located. They all serve similar cocktails and drinks at similar prices, so just pick the one that has the best atmosphere for you.

Sleep

There is one main road in Khao Sok where all of the guesthouses are located. They all offer similar style accommodation (mainly bungalows). Price ranges between 200-2,500+ baht. Most have restaurants, bars, Internet, and a travel agency. Even in peak season it shouldn't be difficult to find accommodation.

Cheow Lan Lake

There are also many floating raft houses which offer accommodation on the lake. This ranges from simple bamboo and thatched roof accommodation provided by the Thailand Department of National Parks, to luxurious floating wooden cottages. Reservations can be made through tour companies, but it is also possible to hire a longtail.

Stay safe

Don't go off trail without a local guide or a ranger.

Do not explore the "Namtaloo" or "Through" Cave (a cave with a river running through) if it is raining or if you think it is going to rain. Rain is frequent and can come on fast. Unfortunately people have died as a result of this. If you are with an experienced guide he will not take you if he even suspects a chance of rain.

Connect

Several places in town have Internet for 1 or 2 baht/minute. Some have headphones and Skype.

Go next

Walk to the main highway (opposite end is the park entrance). Mini buses on the corner head left to Surat Thani. Across the street and to the right, a giant "Bus Stop" sign serves as a stopping point for buses heading to Khao Lak and Phuket. Tickets in advance are not needed. Buses come by every hour during the day.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, February 14, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.