Tourist’s guide to Khao Sok National Park in Thailand

One of the most interesting areas of Khao Sok National Park (Thailand) is Lake Cheo Lan in its very heart – with small rafting houses, unusual water tents and natural jungle around.

Khao Sok National Park

Visitors recommend trying to capture the diversity of Khao Sok. At first, the park may seem unnaturally bright and impressive, so it’s better to familiarize yourself with several tried and tested directions to visit this unique natural corner. By visiting it, you will see firsthand the natural diversity of flora and fauna in Khao Sok.

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Jungle, lake, natural naturalness

Khao Sok was founded in 1980 and became the 22nd national Thai park. It is densely encircled by the tropics typical of these places, permeated by waterfalls, towering picturesque cliffs of limestone rock. And all this around a beautiful lake. Due to its fascinating history, this park still has many secrets hidden in its dense forests, which tourists are invited to find.

Khao Sok Lake

Location

Lake Khao Sok with an adjoining park is located in the province of Surat Tani, in southern Thailand. The total area of ​​the natural zone is 740 km2. The territory extends to parts of the forests of Khlong Yi, Khlong Pra Sangi and others. Khao Sok Park is comparable in size to the neighboring national parks and wildlife reserves. Together, protected areas cover more than 3,500 km2, which in area represents more than half of Bali.

Flora and fauna

Khao Sok Park, in addition to the lake, includes:

  • piedmont rainforests – 40%;
  • plains of tropical forests – 27%;
  • limestone rocks – 15%;
  • lowland mountainous “scrub” – 15%;
  • 3% of tropical forests at altitudes of 600-1000 m.
Flora

The tropics around Khao Sok Lake are a partly interspersed evergreen and tropical forest. About 200 different flowering species are found per hectare, which makes it one of the most biodiverse regions (in the middle forests of Europe or North America, there are only about 10 tree species per hectare).

A tropical forest

Here you will see large-flowered rafflesia, fancy creepers, figs and an ancient dipterac carpa, coconut palms and bananas, bamboo and others. And also the famous relic trees with supporting roots in the form of boards – people used them to make drums, boats and battle shields. Some hunters use roots as a way to communicate. If you tap on the roots, then the sound spreads over considerable distances and usually does not scare animals.

Fauna

The national park has a mass of peculiar animals: from fifty species of mammals, more than 300 species of birds, about 30 species of bats, the richest species diversity of reptiles, amphibians and insects. Here unusual representatives of the kingdom of animals meet, and the color of birds allows you to admire them unhindered, enjoy singing and other natural pleasures.

Bird in the park

There are also many dangers in the local jungle. Of the large predators, the tiger, the Malay sun bear, and the leopards live. There are 170 species of snakes, of which 48 are poisonous. However, according to statistics, fatal bites are more than rare: 10 to 20 cases in Thailand per year. Pythons, cobras, large spiders in these places are a completely common occurrence, and if you do not disturb them, you can observe their life activity quite safely. Amusing scenes from the life of monkeys will especially please.

Scenes from the life of monkeys

A bit of history and climatic features of the park

Due to the high mountains and the influence of monsoons from the Pacific and Indian oceans, the highest rainfall in Thailand is 3500 mm per year in the area of ​​Lake Khao Sok. The heaviest rains are from May to November, the dry period is from December to April. Although even at this time there is still the possibility of heavy rains, there is always a chance to get wet unexpectedly in the rainforest.

Heavy rain

Khao Sok is very warm throughout the year, with the hottest months being March and April. Nevertheless, temperatures vary only in the range of 4 ° C per year, the highest vary from 29 to 33 ° C, the minimum – 20-23 ° C.

The rainforest in this region is one of the oldest in the world, since Thailand has been in the equatorial zone over the past 160 million years. The climate in this area was almost untouched by ice ages, the land area is relatively small and surrounded by the sea on both sides. Even while drought reigned elsewhere on the planet, enough rain was still falling in the Khao Sok region to maintain the vitality of the dense forest.

Mountains in Khao Sok

Khao Sok in Thailand is known for its mountains of limestone and karst origin. In most of the region, heights are about 200 m above sea level, mountainous terrain on average rises to 400 m. The highest peak in the National Park is 960 m.

Entertainment

Excursions to Khao Sok Park are very popular among tourists. Thailand’s calling card is elephants, so a separate event is given to acquaintance and communication with these animals. They are allowed to feed, iron, you can order a ride on horseback. The demonstration of the surroundings, flora, fauna, lake shores, steep cliffs overgrown, karst caves also always impresses travelers.

Elephant walk

Kao Sok Park is of particular interest to newlyweds who spend their honeymoon in Thailand. Everything is suitable for a romantic trip: picturesque landscapes, and many places where you can spend time together.

It is also proposed:

  • canoeing on canals between islands and on the lake,
  • hiking in the jungle of varying difficulty
  • visiting mangrove swamps,
  • dive into the depths
  • water procedures with elephants,
  • night in a tent directly on the water surface,
  • bathing.
Canoeing

An entertainment complex in Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park is usually included in prepaid tours.

Where to settle

Surrounded by the Khao Sok National Park, it is easy to find suitable housing very close by, literally half a kilometer from the lake. The choice is quite large – many dozens of offers at various levels (hotels, houses, apartments), ranging from a hostel and the like for $ 6-8 per night with a bed in a 6-bed room, ending with comfortable rooms with breakfast included (costing up to $ 500 per day).

Elephant Hills Tented Camp Hotel
Elephant Hills Tented Camp

The average price tag for tourist accommodation in Khao Sok ranges from $ 100, depending on the remoteness and comfort of living. But finding housing at lower prices is not a problem at all.

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How to get there

Transfer to Khao Sok Park

Khao Sok Park is 160 km from Phuket. The best way to get there is to book a tour and use the included free shuttle service.

If you wish, you can get to Khao Sok and Lake Cheo Lan on your own by bus, minibus, taxi or rent a car.

  • Minibuses. The trip will cost 3500-5500 ฿ (~ 106-166 $) per car from Phuket bus stations. Tickets can be purchased directly at the bus station. The road will take 4 hours.
  • Buses From Phuket can be reached in 5-6 hours. Flights begin to run early in the morning, at 7-7.30 in the morning. Frequency of movement – every hour or two. Tickets can be ordered directly through travel agencies or purchased independently at the departure station. Price 180 ฿ (~ $ 5.7).
  • Taxi. You can take a taxi anywhere, but not everyone can afford this type of travel. A one-way trip will cost about 5,000 baht.

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Excursions to Khao Sok Park

The easiest and most meaningful way to explore Khao Sok Park in Thailand is to book one of the guided tours before arrival. Typically, tours include lodging, meals, activities in accordance with the itinerary, entrance fees to the National Park and services of an English-speaking tour leader licensed by TAT.

Excursions to Khao Sok Park

In addition, all travel packages contain transfers to Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, Surat Thani, Khan and even Samui. Since trips are designed for small groups with limited capacity, it is recommended to book in advance, at least 3 days in advance.

Boat trip

Excursion programs cover 2, 3 and 4 days – optional. It is proposed to visit the jungle, lake and surroundings, to make a large-scale tourist safari with trips, boat trips, acquaintance with animals, culinary, Thai culture. Prices for two full-service adults: from 13,000 ฿ (~ $ 410) to 25,000 ฿ (~ $ 790) and above. One-day excursions per person cost 1,500 ฿ (~ $ 22.7) with a minimum package of visits and visits, but the organizers will definitely recommend staying overnight.

Useful Tips
Snakes in the park
  1. It is advisable not to walk in the dark without a torch, since most snakes are active at night. If you meet a snake, stop and wait for it to crawl away. Apply a bandage when you bite, try to move less to prevent the rapid spread of poison throughout the body. If possible, take a snake picture and get to the hospital. Do not try to suck out the poison: saliva will quickly transfer the poison into the bloodstream!
  2. Do not be afraid of local leeches, they are not dangerous, although they are very diverse.
  3. Elephants in the park
  4. If you love elephants, limit yourself to communication with them “on equal terms”. Walking on an elephant in Khao Sok National Park is considered doubtful by many – animals do not always look happy pets, riding them is uncomfortable and unsafe, there is also no comfort, there is stiff stubble on the back of the animal, it constantly blows and bends strongly.
  5. Forests are very wet, torrential rain can fall at any minute, it is recommended to take this into account when going for a walk, excursion, or hiking.
  6. If you go to the park by train, choose first-class cars, as cheap cars are often crowded, and in the first class you will be guaranteed to sleep in a bunk.

Khao Sok is one of the most interesting places to visit in Thailand, primarily due to the picturesque landscape and natural uniqueness. Created by natural processes for many millions of years, the jungle environment allows you to get acquainted with its natural diversity, organize cognitive leisure and a good rest. Khao Sok (Thailand) is accessible all year round and is able to give pleasure outside of the seasons, you can come here for a secluded pastime, as well as companies and necessarily family.



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