What is Khao Sok?
Khao Sok National Park, located in Southern Thailand is an area of 739km containing dense jungle, limestone cliffs and the fresh water Cheow Lan Lake. This makes it the ideal location for a variety of different activities. Visiting the National Park is a great way to see a natural area in Thailand and you can even have the opportunity to spend the night in a floating bungalow
Khao Sok National park is truly one of the most beautiful places we have visited.
We were lucky enough to visit while we were travelling through Thailand with Thaintro in January 2016. We arrived in the Surat Thani province of Thailand, following an overnight train that took 12 hours from Bangkok. We then took a mini bus to the docks where we boarded a long tail boat that took us into the national park.
The weather was perfectly sunny and clear (although it probably helped that we were there in January). The scenery was spectacular as we entered deeper into the national park. All around us were huge limestone cliffs coming from the water. After a journey of 20 minutes or so we stopped off beside a protruding rock which we were able to climb up and jump into the water. This was so refreshing after our long journey to this region. Once we had cooled down, we got back onto the boat to take us to our accommodation.
We stayed at Plean Prai Rafthouse which is conveniently located around 45 minutes from the pier. There are around 20 floating bungalows situated here, they are very basic inside (ours only had a mattress and a fan) but this was all we needed as we spent the entire day outside. In the middle of the two sets of bungalows is a dining area and a small shop. Also located at either end of the sets of Bungalows are toilets with Thai style flushing, which basically involves scooping water out of a barrel to flush! There are a few different places you can stay in the national park and a variety of styles ranging from very basic to luxury. So this may influence where you decide to stay, depending on what experience you want.
We spent most of the day jumping and swimming in the turquoise coloured lake with the rest of our Thaintro group and it literally felt like we were in paradise. We even managed to get this picture on a GoPro with the absolute genius idea of putting it on a little floating raft and pushing it out while on a timer setting!
Credit goes to Michelle for her GoPro photo, check out her blog Unorganized & Lost for great posts and ideas.
Later in the day we were able to go on a Jungle Trek, through lush greenery and were lucky enough to spot a monkey. The trek also involved a trip into a cave which was really cool. We were pretty exhausted by the end of this because trekking in Thai heat is not the most comfortable but we were glad that we went to experience it.
In the evening we were severed a variety of traditional Thai dishes – these were absolutely delicious but what Thai food isn’t? (We also had lunch and breakfast the following morning). Followed by playing games and talking to the staff that worked here. There is no WiFi at all and only electricity at this accommodation from 7-11PM, after this all the lights go out and you have a little lantern to guide you back to your bungalow. We were rewarded with the clearest and most magnificent view of the stars we had ever seen.
How to get there?
We were lucky enough that we did not have to organise how to get to Khao Sok National Park. The easiest way to gain access to the park is via Surat Thani and there are a variety of ways to reach it from different destinations in Thailand by bus, train, or plane. For more information on how to reach the national park please click here.
The easiest way to access the National Park is by booking a tour, I would highly recommend this as it took away any stress. Most tours will include transportation to the park from various places such as Surat Thani or Phuket, accommodation in the park and activities. There are many different companies that can provide this such as Khao Sok Lake, they also give you options for different comfort levels and number of days/nights.
So, why should you go?
- Scenery – It is absolutely breath taking and worth the trip just for this alone
- Nature – Swimming in a fresh water lake and jungle trekking, getting a chance to spot animals in their natural habitat
- Peace – There is something so relaxing being away from a civilisation for a night, it refreshes your soul
- Location – It’s a convenient place to stop in between Bangkok and the Islands
- Floating Bungalows – Staying overnight on a Floating Bungalow was the highlight! If you don’t want to stay overnight there are options for day trips or you can stay for longer than 1 night.. We wish we could just have stayed here forever!
These photos don’t do justice to just how beautiful this area us, and we would recommend the one thing you do before anything else when you visit Thailand is to make sure you add a trip to Khao Sok National Park.. We promise you won’t be disappointed!