Khao Sok National Park hosts an abundance of wildlife across its jungle surroundings, as long as you are willing to go and look for it (or you have a super talented guide to do it for you – thank you Lek!). I swear my guide had superhuman powers, with his ability to spot the tiniest set of glowing eyes amongst the bushes and identify it as a baby mouse deer. There are too many animals to list here but some of the ones I saw included civet cats, scorpions, pig-tailed macaques (we were very lucky to see these!), snakes and gliding lizards! The national park is also home to more elusive animals such as elephants, gibbons, tapirs, tigers and even bears, but you will be unlikely to see any of these.
As the quote goes, “Wander where the Wi-Fi is weak”.
Ultimate luxury and high speed internet is not abundant in Khao Sok, in fact, expect occasional blackouts as electricity is in short supply. Take this as your cue to distance yourself from the world of social media. Stay away from Instagramming your dinner, Tweeting your every move and spending hours scrolling through Facebook. Your brain will thank you for it later.
There aren’t many places you can go for a swim in a calm, cool river with just the sounds of wildlife around you. No cars beeping their horns, no people shouting TUK TUK MADAM, no loud party backpackers drinking and listening to bad club music. This National Park is purely nature’s orchestra performing just for you.
Fancy something a bit more exhilarating? Then take a speeding long tail boat across the almost never ending Cheow Lan Lake. If you want to avoid getting wet then take a seat at the very front of the boat, or in the middle of a row, because you can get drenched! Alternatively explore the darkness of Nam Talu Cave, where you have to navigate your way through chest deep water to reach the exit*. Don’t forget your headtorch! * Please do not even think about going to the cave without a guide or during monsoon season, it can be dangerous.
Had one too many plates of noodles or bottles of beer? That’s OK, all travellers go through stages like this as street food favourites are always the cheapest option, plus its hard to resist an ice cold beer on a hot day. If this is the case then your body will thank you after you put it through its paces and leave it slightly sore the next morning. There are plenty of hiking opportunities in Khao Sok, with beautiful views and the opportunity to see wildlife in its natural environment and the world’s largest flower, what more could you want? Get those walking boots on, put your muscles to the test, and get exploring!
“Khao Sok is just a boring jungle with plants everywhere” –said no one, ever. Picture turquoise rivers lazing over rocks, vines that can be used as jungle swings, towering mountains casting huge shadows, waterfalls trickling down steep slopes, caves as dark as night and green as far as the eye can see. You can even watch the sun set from your own floating wooden bungalow!
I could think of thousands of reasons why you should visit Khao Sok National Park but I think you get the picture now, you just have to go! It is one of the most naturally beautiful places I have seen and I will definitely not forget it in a hurry.
What to know before you go
- Entrance fee to the park is 300THB per person per day. Here’s a tip – if you enter after 4pm then you can use the ticket for the following day as well! This is perfect for doing a night safari and then a day tour the next day.
- Depending on what you are doing activity-wise depends on the footwear you will need. For Nam Talu cave do not wear walking boots as they will fill with water. However, I advise you to wear sturdy shoes you don’t mind getting wet (hiking sandals, although ugly, are ideal for this!).
- Bring mosquito repellent! mosquitos are everywhere so be prepared.
- A head torch is useful too if exploring the caves or jungle at night
- Local buses to the national park go from Surat Thani, Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak for fairly cheap, so grab one of these instead of booking an expensive taxi.
- Getting to Cheow Lan Lake from Khao Sok town takes around an hour so it can be difficult to combine with another tour in the same day.