Khao Sok national park

Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

One of the 102 national parks in Thailand, Khao Sok National Park is home to the oldest evergreen forest in the world, covering an area of 738 square kilometres. Incredibly, it consists of rainforest which is older and more diverse than the Amazon!

Khao Sok National Park is also famous for the manmade Ratchaprapha Dam, which created the beautiful Cheow Lan Lake and the 100 tiny islands that float there. One of the most popular ways to experience Khao Sok National Park is via a stay in the incredible floating bungalows. The park is also a haven for hiking enthusiasts. If Khao Sok is on your bucket list, rest assured that this guide will tell you everything you need to know to plan your own visit. 

Khao Sok National Park – Travel Guide

Khao Sok National Park Map & Resources

Best Time to Visit Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is open every day of the year, however, there are definitely important factors (ahem, weather!) to consider when planning your trip!

Backpackers should beware of visiting Khao Sok National Park during the rainy season. As the mountains face monsoon rain from both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, the park is the recipient of the heaviest rainfall in the whole of Thailand (about 3,500 mm per year)! Therefore, a visit to the park is best avoided during the monsoon months of May-November.

The ideal time to visit Khao Sok National Park falls between December-April because it’s typically dry at this time! Keep in mind that temperatures peak around March-April, so it may be a bit hot.

How Long Should You Stay in Khao Sok National Park?

You should stay a minimum of two nights in Khao Sok National Park. However, three or even four is better so you don’t feel rushed. We recommend spending at least one night in Khao Sok Village and participating in the night safari through the jungle before taking one of the multi-day floating bungalow tours to Cheow Lan Lake.

Cheow Larn lake
A floating bungalows trip is a must-do for visitors to Khao Sok National Park.

Where to Stay in Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok Village, also known as Khlong Sok Village, is where most travellers base themselves for a visit to Khao Sok National Park. The village is located walking distance from one of the national park entrances which is where most people go trekking for the day. 

However, many backpackers do not realise that the village is actually an hour’s drive (60km away) from the iconic Cheow Lan Lake, with its floating bungalows and boat trips! Despite this, it’s still much more economical to stay in Khlong Sok Village and take one of the many day trips offered by local travel agencies to the lake.

When it comes to hostels and guesthouses in Khao Sok Village, there is a range of accommodations to suit all budgets, from tree houses to wooden huts and fancier hotels. If you’re looking for more of a countryside escape then there are many places to stay that are closer to Cheow Larn Lake which offer more of a resort experience but they will be more expensive. 

Khao Sok views 1
There are a range of accommodation options for all budgets.

Best Accommodation in Khao Sok National Park

Disclosure: Some links on this page are affiliate links. We always write our articles before checking if affiliate links are available.

1. Khao Sok Jungle Hostel

With dorm rooms for approx. $10USD, Khao Sok Jungle Hostel is a very popular choice amongst backpackers. The owner is extremely helpful, even providing the necessary equipment for overnight treks. Everything is very clean and the location is great!

2. Khaosok Bamboo Huts Resort

If you’d prefer a private room, Khaosok Bamboo Huts Resort offers (surprisingly enough) bamboo huts from around $19USD. The huts have a bathroom with a hot shower. They’re in a quiet location, are nice and cool at night and free tea and coffee are included in the price.

3. Khao Sok Treehouse Resort

This resort is a bit of a novelty act. The way to your treehouse room (depending on the room) involves walking along platforms seemingly deep in the jungle. While this is definitely unique, some might go as far as to call the place a little tacky. What’s more, depending on the day, prices can skyrocket so make sure you don’t leave booking to the last minute!

4. Coco Khao Sok Hostel

With fabulous reviews, this comfortable, clean and friendly hostel is hard to beat for the shoestring traveller. For approximately $7USD you’ll have your own comfy single bed (not a bunk) in a 4-bed dormitory room. The on-site café serves delicious baked goods and great coffee, perfect to set you up for a day hiking in the jungle! It’s a good place to meet fellow travellers.

Coco Hostel, Khao Sok, Thailand
Coco Hostel is a good choice for budget backpackers.

5. Khao Sok Riverside Cottages

With a gorgeous natural setting and cottages overlooking the river, these lovely wooden bungalows with an on-site restaurant and massage centre, are an excellent place to base yourself in Khao Sok, especially if you’re looking for something a bit special! Rise early in the morning and have breakfast as you watch monkeys, kingfishers and other birdlife frolicking by the river. From $25USD per night for a double or twin room, it’s great value for money for a real jungle experience. 

6. Khaosok Good View Resort

If you’re after a bit more of a luxury stay, Khaosok Good View Resort has you covered. Bungalows start at around $40USD. Everything’s spotless, the staff are lovely, the food is great, there’s a fantastic swimming pool for soothing away some of that sticky jungle heat and the views from the resort are exceptional.

7. Elephant Hills

If you want to experience one of Thailand’s best elephant sanctuaries, you’re in the right place at elephant hills. Boasting an African-style luxury tent setup, the accommodation is first class. Undoubtedly the best thing about staying here is the proximity to the resort’s elephants too. No riding or bathing is allowed but visitors are allowed to feed these gentle giants. Elephant Hills is expensive but promises a stay you’ll never forget! 

Elephant tourism
Elephant Hills offers a stay you’ll never forget!

8. Cosy Garden Khao Sok

This glamping-style accommodation is wonderfully unique, with absolutely breathtaking views. Sleep inside a geodesic dome, overlooking the karst mountain scenery. With a huge double bed and boho wicca furniture, this spot is truly a hidden gem within Khao Sok National Park. Domes start at $60USD per night.

For more accommodation in Khao Sok National Park, check out availability and prices here.

Things to Do in Khao Sok National Park

1. Spot Wildlife

Khao Sok National Park boasts an amazing array of flora and fauna, including wild beasts such as the Malayan Tapir, the Asian Elephant, Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Pig-Tailed Macaque, White Handed Gibbon and even bears, leopards and tigers!

2. Boat trips on Ratchaprapha Dam (Cheow Lan Lake)

Cheow Lan Lake, created by the Ratchaprapha Dam is a must-see while you’re exploring Khao Sok. The lake is actually located a 60km drive from Khlong Sok Village and getting there by car, van or motorbike will take you about an hour.

You can take a minivan with a driver for a day trip or if you’re feeling adventurous, hire a motorbike for around 300THB and make your own way to the lake. (Most backpackers take a boat trip which is arranged as part of a tour from the main village.)

Floating bungalow
Did you even go to Khao Sok National Park without staying in the bungalows?!

If you have arrived at the lake without a tour, you can arrange boat trips on the dam from the main pier. At 750THB each for two hours (which includes your park entrance fee), the boat trips are a little pricey but well worth it to get closer to the unusual scenery. (The cost from Khao Sok village including transportation and the boat trip is double that, at around 1,500THB per person.)

3. Overnight in the Floating Bungalows

One of the highlights for many backpackers to Khao Sok National Park is staying overnight in a floating bungalow located on Cheow Lan Lake. Wake up in the heart of the national park to the tranquility of the lake, amidst beautiful scenery.

You can book this experience from travel agents in the main backpacker village or online in advance. The cost is around 2,500-4,500THB for a one-night, two-day tour, or 3,000-8,000THB for a two-night and three-day tour, depending on where you book. (Shop around for the best options as prices and quality of the tour varies.)

Note that you can end up paying significantly more than the quoted prices above if you are looking for high-end luxury. 

SEA Backpacker Loves…

Looking for a range of excellent Khao Sok floating bungalow experiences? We highly recommend these Khao Sok Floating Bungalow Tours run by Khao Sok Lake. 

4. Search for Rafflesia

Many nature lovers flock to the park as it is one of the few places on earth where you can catch a glimpse of the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia. It only blossoms for five days each year and when it does it is said to emit a stench akin to rotting flesh!

5. Go Hiking

Below you can see a map of the trails in Khao Sok National Park. You can pick this up for free at the park entrance when you buy your tickets. There are two main trails to do in the park which both begin from the visitor’s centre.

Khao Sok National Park Map
Khao Sok National Park Map.

The shorter trail (2 hours): The trail which goes to point eight on the map, San Yang Roi, is the shorter, the most difficult and least rewarding of the two, as you climb for around an hour up a steep staircase towards the top of the jungle canopy. While being in the heart of the jungle is fun, the disappointing thing is that you never reach a point where there’s a viewpoint or a waterfall (as it says on the map). Be aware that at times it is unclear which way to go as the path is very overgrown.

The longer trail (6 hours): This trail is definitely the most popular and interesting of the two, with many opportunities to side-step the path and seek out beautiful waterfalls and riverside spots. Most people make it to point six on the map where there’s a small café and a few benches to take a rest and watch the spectacled langurs playing in the trees.

The trail doesn’t get really exciting until you pass point six (which takes about two hours to reach) and start to walk along a smaller trail deep in the jungle. From here, the wildlife gets considerably more exciting, probably because fewer people make it this far – we had a right shock when we disturbed two enormous monitor lizards relaxing by a waterhole! It’s possible to hire a guide and camp overnight at the side of the river in this part of the national park.

Hiring a Hiking Guide in Khao Sok National Park

Hiring a guide will cost you around 700 THB per person if there are 1-2 people, and around 500 THB if you can gather a group of 4 or more people. This cost is negotiable at the main entrance where you can book your trek with the camouflage-clad park rangers. While you can trek independently, a guide will help you find off-the-beaten-track spots and heighten your chances of seeing rare flora and fauna. 

Also read: Best Hikes in Southeast Asia

Khao Sok 1
Khao Sok National Park is a paradise for hikers.

6. Explore Khao Sok Village

Khlong Sok Village itself is quite small and cute, with a friendly traveller atmosphere, consisting of a few restaurants and some lively reggae-style bars that stay open until around midnight. Don’t expect big parties, but the backpacker vibe is alive and well; though with a much more chilled-out feel than the nearby islands.

There are lots of massage places offering foot massages for around 250THB, which are very welcome after trekking in the park all day! In terms of restaurants, there are loads of places that serve cheap Thai and Western food on the main street, places to get decent coffee, and a pretty good pizza at Chao Italian Ristorante located near the entrance to the national park.

7. Explore on a Motorbike 

The entire area is blessed with spectacular scenery and hiring a motorbike is a great way to get around and see as much of the place as possible.

There are bright green mountains covered in palm trees and dense forest – you’ll be stopping every two minutes to take photos! A motorbike will set you back about 300 THB for the day and can be hired from hostels or travel agencies in Khlong Sok Village.

Khao Sok national park hike
You’ll stop every two minutes to take photos!

8. Visit Khlong Phanom National Park

Just a short drive away, you’ll find another national park with hiking trails and viewpoints. This park is just 100THB to enter and there is only one 2km trail, as well as an interesting fish cave.

This is really worth visiting if you have your own transport and are passing by on the way to the dam. 

Practical Considerations for Visiting Khao Sok National Park

Entry Fees

The cost to enter the national park is 300THB for one day, which is around $9USD. It’s officially the most expensive national park in Thailand, on account of its popularity, but you can’t really come here without experiencing the jungle treks or taking a trip on the lake!

The best thing to do is get up super early, pay the fee, and make the most of your day’s access to the national park. If you still have enough energy left, a night trek is also an option – especially for those of you who want to get your money’s worth out of your daily ticket! 

A night trek is a great way to spot some of the larger animals which may hide during the day when there are more tourists around. Note that you are not allowed to enter the park when it’s dark without a guide.

Good to Know! 

The 300THB ticket also allows you access to explore the nearby Cheow Lan Lake. You cannot take a tour of this area or a boat trip on Cheow Lan Lake without purchasing a ticket to the national park.

How to Get to Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is a drivable distance from the airports and town centres of Surat Thani, Phuket, and Krabi. Once you’ve reached those destinations, you can arrange for a bus, minivan, or private car to take you to the entrance of the park. 

While transportation to the park via private car offers convenience and ease of travel, this is by far the most expensive option. Private car transportation can be arranged with your accommodation provider beforehand.

Note: If you’re taking a bus or a shared minivan to the park, you’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the park. You will then need to catch a taxi to your accommodation.

Khao Sok national park entrance
Approaching the entrance of Khao Sok National Park.

How to Get to Khao Sok National Park from Surat Thani:

  • Surat Thani is the closest airport to Khao Sok. Once you land, you’ll need to catch a bus, minivan, or private car to the park.
  • You can book this before your arrival on popular travel sites like Phantip or or you can simply walk outside to negotiate your fare with the drivers eager for your business! 
  • Alternatively, you can find transportation at the Surat Thani bus station in town or go directly to the Phantip station to buy a ticket for a minivan or Phantip bus.
  • The ride should take about 2 hours. You’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the park where you can catch a taxi to your accommodations.

How to Get to Khao Sok National Park from Phuket:

  • Of the airports in the surrounding area of Khao Sok, Phuket is the largest. Therefore, depending on where you’re travelling from, it may be the easiest airport to fly into! Once you’ve arrived in Phuket you will need to take a taxi to Phuket town or take the public bus from the airport to the central bus station in Phuket town.
  • From the central bus station in Phuket town, buses to Surat Thani depart roughly every hour from about 7 am-3 pm. Get off at the Khao Sok bus stop at the entrance to the park. 
  • The ride should take about 4 hours. You’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the park where you can catch a taxi to your accommodations.

How to Get to Khao Sok National Park from Krabi:

  • Similar to Phuket, once you’ve arrived at Krabi Airport you will need to take a taxi to Krabi town where you can catch a bus or minivan to Khao Sok. 
  • There is one direct minivan departing daily at noon from the van station on Soi Roi Tha. 
  • Alternatively, The Black Tiger Travel Agency in Krabi town runs hourly vans and buses heading to Khao Sok National Park (note: the van makes stops along the way!). 
  • The ride should take around 4 hours. You’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the park where you can catch a taxi to your accommodations.

How to Get to Khao Sok National Park from Bangkok:

  • A flight is the most efficient way to get a little closer to Khao Sok National Park from Bangkok. 
  • However, if you’re up for a new experience, consider taking an overnight train to Surat Thani from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Train Station. The second-class sleeper train is air-conditioned and rather comfortable! The 7 pm train arrives at Surat Thani at about 6 am (about 11 hours total, if there are no delays).
  • From the Surat Thani train station, you can catch the Surat Thani-Phuket bus to Khao Sok. Exit the train station and walk 30m to the right.
  • The ride should take around 2 hours. You’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the park where you can catch a taxi to your accommodations.

Where to Go Next: 

  • Koh Phi Phi: On the eastern Andaman coast, backpackers go dewy-eyed at the gorgeous island gem, Koh Phi Phi, where you can take a long tail boat to explore ‘The Beach’ made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film of the same name.
  • Railay and Ton Sai: Nearby Railay and Ton Sai, beaches located on the mainland yet inaccessible by road, are popular amongst the rock climbing crew.
  • Koh Lanta: Chilled out Koh Lanta is an underrated castaway island which is fantastic to explore by scooter making a stop at beautiful beach after beautiful beach.
Nikki Scott - Founder South East Asia Backpacker
Nikki Scott | Founder & Editor

Nikki is the founding editor of South East Asia Backpacker and The Backpacker Network. In her early twenties, she left her home in the North of England on a solo backpacking adventure and never returned! After six months on the road, she founded a print magazine that became legendary on the Banana Pancake Trail. The rest is history.

Find me: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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