A Traveller's Guide to Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Hire a riverboat and cruise through one of the world's oldest evergreen rainforests in the heart of the Khao Sok National Park
Hire a riverboat and cruise through one of the world's oldest evergreen rainforests in the heart of the Khao Sok National Park | © Kittichai Songprakob / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Culture Trip Travel Team
4 September 2021
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Escape to the unspoilt waterways of the Khao Sok National Park, home to one of the oldest evergreen rainforests in the world dating back 160m years. Discover our guide to exploring one of the astounding nature reserves in Thailand.

Want to explore Khao Sok National Park? Book Culture Trip’s exclusive 10-day Southern Thailand adventure, where you’ll experience a wildlife boat safari on Khao Sok Lake.

While it’s only an hour’s flight away from Bangkok, Khao Sok is a world away from the hectic pace of the capital. This national park is nature’s playground filled with secret hiking trails, hidden waterfalls and spectacular landscapes of towering limestone karsts and lush bamboo forests. Whether you’re raring for an adventure or looking for peaceful respite, you’re sure to find it here in Khao Sok.

What to do in Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is the largest area of virgin forest in southern Thailand and home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna. In fact, there are claims that Khao Sok’s biodiversity rivals – or even tops – that of the Amazon rainforest. This is especially apparent in the rainy months where you might come across boars, gaurs, gibbons and even the occasional sun bear. High above in the treetops, there are more than 300 bird species, making it especially exciting for budding ornithologists.

While the hiking trails from the park headquarters are relatively well maintained and easy to follow, it’s definitely worth booking a guided nature walk with one of the knowledgeable local guides.

One of the most exciting activities to try during your time in Khao Sok is cave exploration. Deep in the forest lie mysterious caverns such as Nam Talu – it takes about an hour of bashing through the jungle to reach the entrance. For something a little less strenuous, visit the Phra Kay Petch Cave, a 15-minute hike from the Klong Ka raft house. Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of ancient stalactites and stalagmites.

On hotter days, swap your hiking boots for a swimsuit. Khao Sok is situated around a giant lake, home to a number of waterfalls and swimming spots. A longtail boat is the best way to enjoy a lake tour of Khao Sok – and if the water is calm, dive into secret spots along the Sok River. With Culture Trip, you can enjoy a wildlife safari by longtail boat on our specially curated 10-day Southern Thailand adventure. It’s also possible to rent a canoe from Ratchaprapha Marina to explore under your own steam.

Where to stay in Khao Sok National Park

Keeree Tara Chiewlarn Resort

Keeree Tara Chiewlarn Resort
Courtesy of Keeree Tara Chiewlarn Resort / Expedia
Featuring charming wooden bungalows built over water, this rustic, adults-only property allows you to get reacquainted with nature. While facilities are fairly minimal, they do have an on-site restaurant that serves delicious home-style Thai comfort food, with a buffet breakfast available daily. Ratchaprapha Marina is just a short boat ride away.

Our Jungle House

Our Jungle House
Courtesy of Our Jungle House / Booking.com
Built more than 30 years ago, this guest house is a true pioneer in sustainability – each room is built with natural materials and minimal interference to the rainforest. Activities on offer include trekking, bird-watching and river cruising from its location in Khlong Sok on the outskirts of the national park. Alternatively, unwind with a therapeutic Thai massage or yoga session.

Elephant Hills

Safari Lodge, Luxury
Elephant Hills
Courtesy of Elephant Hills / Hotels.com
Enjoy a glamping experience at this luxury jungle camp, which offers a safari-style stay on the site of a Khao Sok elephant sanctuary. These giant mammals have been rescued from the logging industry and are now living out their golden years here. Bed down in a luxury tent and wake to the sound of trumpeting elephants outside your door.

Where to eat in Khao Sok National Park

Rafflesia Cafe

Cafe, Thai

With a lush jungle setting overlooking the water, this quiet dining spot is ideal for a relaxing meal after a long day of trekking. A good mix of Thai and Western-style dishes are served, plus they are more than happy to accommodate vegetarians and vegans.

Khao Sok Mountain View

Khao Sok Thailand , drone aerial view over the lake
© Baarssen Fokke / Alamy Stock Photo
This family-run resort features a small but excellent restaurant, helmed by the friendly matriarch. Enjoy a scrumptious selection of Thai comfort food such as som tum (green papaya salad), tom yum (hot and sour soup) and banana pancakes while drinking in the postcard-perfect views.

Family Restaurant You Are My Family

Restaurant, Thai
Chicken Pad Thai with Bean Sprouts and Peanuts
© Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo
Don’t let the homely appearance fool you – this no-frills cafe serves a delectable array of local dishes, including massaman curry and pad thai. The portions are larger than usual but the prices are still affordable – making it a must-visit for voracious eaters.

How to get to the Koh Sok National Park

From Bangkok, catch a domestic flight to Surat Thani airport. From there, hop on a public bus – it will take you straight to the national park in about 90 minutes. Public bus tickets can be purchased at Surat Thani Bus Station or at the Surat Thani Train Station bus stop.

If you’re travelling from Phuket, rent a car and take a scenic three-and-a-half-hour journey to Koh Sok. Alternatively, take a public bus from either Phuket Town or Phuket Airport. From Krabi, book a ride on either an air-conditioned bus or minivan, which will take you to Koh Sok in about four hours.

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