One of the 102 National Parks in Thailand, Khao Sok is home to the oldest evergreen forest in the world, covering an area of 738 sq km. Incredibly, it consists of rainforest which is older and more diverse than the Amazon Rainforest. The 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! 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, which only blossoms for five days each year and when it does it is said to emit a stench akin to rotting flesh!
Places to Stay in Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok Village is really just one street, filled with cute little bungalows and resorts. Ranging from around 300 baht – 1,500 baht, there is a range of accommodation to suit all budgets, from tree houses to wooden huts and fancier hotels. The village itself is quite small consisting of a few restaurants and reggae-style bars that stay open until about 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.
Things to do in Khao Sok National Park
Trekking in the jungle:
Trekking independently or with a guide is an essential activity in Khao Sok National Park. Windy trails will take you right into the heart of the jungle where you can find bathing pools, waterfalls and an incredible array of plants, not to mention the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world.
The cost to enter the National Park is 300 THB for one day, which is around $9 USD. 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. 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! 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 to the national park where you can book your trek with the camouflage-clad park rangers.
Boat trips on Ratchaprapha Dam:
Ratchaprapha Dam is the most famous sight of Khao Sok and a must see while you’re there. It is actually located a 60km drive from the main area where most travellers stay and getting there by car, van or motorbike will take you about an hour. (As the crow flies the lake itself is much closer.)
The dam was created in 1982 to ensure a steady supply of water to the South and as a large mountainous area was flooded, over 100 tiny islands were formed, stunning limestone rocks jutting out of the emerald green water against the blue sky has been compared to Guilin in China. You can take a minivan with a driver for a day trip to get there or you can hire a motorbike and make your own way there. Once there, you can take boat trips on the dam from the main pier. At 750 baht each for 2 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.
Exploring 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. Bright green mountains covered in palm trees and dense forest – you’ll be stopping your bike every two minutes to take photos. A motorbike will set you back about 300 THB for the day.
Overnight stay in the floating huts:
You can book an overnight stay in floating huts located right on the water’s edge. Wake up in the heart of the national park to the tranquillity of the lake amidst beautiful scenery. You can book accommodation from any number of travel agents in the main backpacker village near the national park entrance.
As well as treks in the jungle, motorbike trips and boat rides on the lake there are many other outdoor adventures on offer in Khao Sok National Park. Kayaking or canoeing down the river, tubing and elephant trekking (we don’t recommend it) can all be organised from guest houses in Khao Sok Village.
Khlong Phanom National Park
Just a short drive away, you’ll find another national park with trekking trails and viewpoints. This park is just 100 THB to enter and there is only one 2km trail, as well as an interesting fish cave. Only really worth it if you have your own transport and are passing by on the way to the dam. The scenery around here is jurassic!
Do you want to experience Khao Sok National Park as part of a Group Adventure?
Tru Travels are a great company for backpackers wanting to cram in a lot of adventure into a short amount of time! On their 8-day Highlights and Hidden Gems Tour of Thailand, you’ll discover Khao Sok National Park with a group of fellow, fun-loving travellers, plus get to spend a night in a floating hut on the beautiful Ratchaprapha Dam. There’s tubing, kayaking, spelunking and lots more!
Getting to Khao Sok National Park
From Bangkok: Take an overnight bus or train from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Train Station to Surat Thani. Then, take a one-hour minibus to the National Park.
Where to go Next?
From Khao Sok National Park, you’re spoilt for choice with amazing destinations to go next. Wedged perfectly in-between two coast lines, you’ve got the stunning Andaman Coast and Krabi on one side and the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao on the other, just where will you choose?
- 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 Di Caprio in the film of the same name.
- Railay and Ton Sai: Nearby Railay and Ton Sai, beaches located on the main land 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 beach.
- Koh Samui: Hopping over to the other side of the Peninsula, you’ll find Koh Samui. Flashpackers will delight in Koh Samui’s abundance of restaurants, activities and nightlife.
- Koh Phangan: The island lures thousands of backpackers each month to experience what is probably the best beach party in the world – the Full Moon Party.
- Koh Tao: Diving is the order of the day and many backpackers get their underwater licence by taking a PADI course.