What to do in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

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Khao Sok National Park Lake
Khao Sok National Park – Cheow Lan Lake

Being one of the biggest national parks in Thailand, the question “What to do in Khao Sok?” would require an extensive answer. Not much info is available on the web, therefore we thought to put this practical guide together.

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The history of Khao Sok

Khao means mountain, Sok means something like “dead corpse”. Our guide explained to us that, during the civil war in Thailand, many dead bodies were thrown from these mountains into the river. Sok is the Thai word for “dead body”, literally “what happens when a man die”. The park has a huge rain forest, with many wild animals: Flying lizards, giant golden spiders, many species of butterflies, at least three species of monkeys including gibbons.

Other than the forest, another attraction is the Chew Lan Lake. It’s actually a dam, created by the Thai, but it’s really incredible. They call it “Emerald lake” for a reason!

General info

What to do in Khao Sok
Main path in Khao sok

Where is it?

Situated in Southern Thailand, the province of Surat Thani, it’s easily reachable from the island of the gulf (Samui, Phangan and Tao) and from the biggest hubs of the country. You can fly to Surat Thani and then take a bus to the park. We were coming from Koh Phangan and it was easy enough. We booked a combined ticket from a ferry company, that included a ferry, a van and a bus, everything for 500 Bhat.

How much is the entrance fee?

The foreigners must pay an entrance fee of 300 Bhat, valid for one day. That means that if you want to enter the park for two days, you will need to pay twice. It’s indeed quite expensive, but we must say that the park is so beautiful that it is worth the money.

What to do in Khao Sok National Park

We had two full days to spend around the national park, and we were interested to discover the jungle, as well as explore the Chew Lan lake.

1 – Full day hiking

Bamboo forest
Bamboo forest

Our guide nicknamed “Two” (it means second, he’d say), took us around the jungle from 8.30 to 5pm. Before hiring a guide, we thought about it very carefully. The pros and the cons of hiring a guide?

Cons

– It’s bloody expensive: 2400 bath for the 2 of us, almost 60 euro. For our long-term travelers’ budget, it was quite of a price.
– It’s possible (legal) to hike without a guide, so why bother ourselves?
– If the guide is not nice enough, we’ll get bored!

Pros

– With a guide, we’ll probably see things we wouldn’t see otherwise.
– We’re not gonna be eaten by wild animals;
– We’re not gonna get lost in the jungle!

Well, at the end of our experience, we were very happy to have hired a guide! It’s true that you can walk alone, but just along the main path, that is beautiful but a bit boring after a while. If you want to go deep in the jungle, we warmly suggest you to do it with a guide. It’s easy to get lost, and guys, maps.me is not gonna help you. It’s slippery, there are leeches everywhere, giant spiders and poisonous snakes: We wouldn’t want to go alone!

Butterfly!
Butterfly!

Moreover, our guide was lovely. He was well prepared and showed us many things that we’d have missed alone.
We talked about family, religion, animals: We became friends!

We hiked all the way up through the bamboo forest, spotting two kinds of monkeys playing in the trees, spiders, lizards and butterflies. And yes, also leeches: those little bastards were always ready to jump on our legs at the first stop!

The highlights of the day

– Bamboo forest: It’s simply enchanting. High bamboos all over our heads, sounds of insects and exotic birds made us dream of some lost world. There is also a chance to spot a gibbon. They usually stay high in the mountains, but sometimes they come down. We just heard their typical sounds, but we were happy to see many other animals.

– Waterfall: The waterfall we saw was quite beautiful. Actually, after having seen so many “Thai waterfall”, this was a surprise. We wanna say that in Thailand we came across hundreds of waterfall, that actually revealed themselves more as tiny creeks. Never trust a Thai waterfall!

Waterfall in Khao Sok
Waterfall in Khao Sok

– Swimming in the river: Our guide knew an exclusive place were one could take a refreshing bath. The water was clear and freezing, but we jumped in. What to do in Khao Sok if not swimming in this fresh water?

Just before swimming in Khao Sok
Just before swimming in Khao Sok

The first day was quite hard, at the end. We hiked for about 4 hours, not that much but the humidity and the hot, sticky air made us dreaming about a fruit shake in the afternoon. A great day, overall, definitely something to do in Khao Sok.

2 – Cheow Len Lake

Bungalows on the lake
Bungalows on the lake

On our second day, we decided to see the lake. We did this independently: We rented a motorbike for 250 bath, fueled it with 100 bath of gasoline and rode our way to the lake. The ride is about 1.30 hour, from the village in Khao Sok to Rajjadamrom Pier. The road is really scenic, especially the first hour. Green limestone cliffs surround the road, making the trip unique.
From the pier, you can take a long tail boat for 1.500 bath, for about 2.30 hours. Quite expensive, yeah, but with an organized tour the price was 1.500 per person, lunch and visit to some cave included.

Emerald lake Khao Sok
No Photoshop needed for this water!

We were not interested in visiting the cave, and we could provide ourselves something to eat, so we went alone. We planned our tour with the boatman:

first, we went to see some limestone cliffs from a photogenic point. He drove the boat between the cliffs, showing us different places on the lake.

then, we went swimming close to some floating bungalows, built directly on the water. If you want, you can also stay there for the night, for around 2.500 bath with an organized tour. We just stayed there for an hour or so, enjoying the incredible views and swimming in the green water.

Boat in Cheow Lan Lake
Our boat in Cheow Lan Lake

The lake is one of the most beautiful places we saw in Thailand. It’s hard to describe its beauty: everywhere you turn, there view is paradisiacal. Different shaped cliffs emerging from the water, covered with trees and dense vegetation. Then, the color of the water is really emerald. No Photoshop could recreate this magic!

To keep you updated, check the official website of the National Park.

Now that you know what to do in Khao Sok National Park, which activity would you prefer to do? Let us know in the comments!

2 Responses

  1. Nivine
    | Reply

    Hello,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for this amazing website. My trip to Myanmar was based on yours, and it was amazing !

    Now, I would like to do the lake independently from Phuket. From where did you rent your motorbike ? Thank you.

    • Enri & Zuz
      | Reply

      Hey there, thank you very much for your kind words, we’re happy to hear that your trip to Myanmar was great! 🙂 Sorry for the late reply, hope it will reach you before you go. We rented the motorbike directly in the Khao Sok village, there are a few rental places and in case they don’t have a free motorbike they will recommend someone who has. In our opinion it is better to book one day in advance since there are not so many options and they get booked pretty fast! Let us know if you need any help :).

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