Khao Sok National Park: Travel Guide & Things to Do!
The Khao Sok National Park is one of the absolute most beautiful natural highlights in Thailand. About 1 hour from Khao Lak and 2 hours from Surat Thani, Khao Sok is located in the south of the country. Characterized by breathtaking scenery with huge rock formations, deep jungle, tropical waterfalls and hidden caves, there are plenty of exciting things to see in the national park. However, the main attraction is Cheow Lan Lake, a gigantic reservoir in the middle of the jungle, where you can take spectacular boat tours. In addition, jungle tours, cave trekking, trips to see elephants and hikes to various waterfalls are also very popular activities in Khao Sok National Park.
In this travel guide, you will find all important information and tips about Khao Sok National Park in Thailand. Here you will learn everything about the best things to do, accommodation, excursions and activities. In addition, we show spectacular pictures and why a trip is worthwhile in any case.
General information about Khao Sok National Park
The 739 km² Khao Sok National Park is located in the south of Thailand, about 60 kilometers from Khao Lak, 150 kilometers from Krabi and the Phuket Peninsula. However, the nearest airport and railroad station are in Surat Thani. Khao Sok NP was founded back in 1980 and is now one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the country! This region is especially famous for its imposing limestone formations and the Cheow Lan Lake, a reservoir located in the middle of the rainforest, and with a size of 162 km² is a huge landscape jewel. For a visit to Khao Sok National Park you should plan 1 day or even better 2-3 days. Only then you have enough time to explore the wonderful places in the national park.
Khao Sok National Park provides habitat for numerous animal and plant species. A special feature is the giant Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, which hides in the deep jungle. In addition, hornbills, kingfishers, gibbons and even tigers also live in the dense forests. The park is best explored on a guided hike through the jungle, or with a boat tour on Lake Cheow Lan, where you can also learn many interesting facts about the flora and fauna.
The small tourist village Khao Sok Town is located not far from the main entrance of the national park. Here you will find a great selection of good restaurants, and there is a wide range of good accommodation. There are also a few stores there where you can stock up on mosquito sprays, sunscreen, waterproof backpacks and even hiking shoes.
Things to Do in Khao Sok National Park
The Khao Sok National Park offers a huge range of activities and unforgettable experiences. A boat ride at Cheow Lan Lake, a hike through the Khao Sok jungle, exploring the Monkey Temple and visiting an Elephant Sanctuary are just some of the best things to do there. Here are the most beautiful attractions and things to do in Khao Sok summarized at a glance:
Chieo Lan Lake Boat Trip
Cheow Lan Lake, or Cheow Larn Lake, is a 162 square kilometer reservoir created in 1982 by the construction of the Ratchaprabha Dam. In order to generate electricity, the river Khlong Saeng was dammed, and a huge area was massively flooded. Today, this beautiful lake in Khao Sok National Park is one of the most important attractions of the region, and a boat tour at the reservoir is almost a must for every national park visitor.
During a trip with the typical longtail boats you can enjoy an indescribably beautiful landscape! Especially spectacular are the mighty rocks that rise hundreds of meters out of the lake and conjure up a gigantic backdrop. On the way you will also discover small caves that you can explore or stop at one of the pretty floating bungalows with picnic and swimming in the lake.
Tip: There are possibilities to book also multi-day tours with special cave hikes, jungle trekking and overnight stays at the lake.
Hin Sam Glur Rocks
The landmark and, on top of that, a popular Instagram spot in Khao Sok National Park are the Hin Sam Glur rocks. Translated, the name means something like the “3 Brothers Rocks” or also the “3 Friends Rocks”. The three almost identical rock formations jutting out of the lakeside by side create a truly extraordinary appearance. Because of the unique scenery and special shape, an extensive photo stop is made there on most of the guided boat tours.
A real highlight and a must-do in Khao Sok NP is definitely to spend the night in one of the Floating Bungalows. These are floating wooden huts, which are connected by wooden walkways, directly in the lake. Here, you live in the midst of breathtaking scenery and enjoy a magical ambience that is rarely experienced anywhere else. The atmosphere is unique, especially in the early morning and at dusk, when the fog rolls in and the wildlife is at its most active.
The reservoir is also perfect for swimming and bathing. The water is pleasantly warm and so you can jump into the lake directly from the bungalow. Kayaking is also possible free of charge at the various floating bungalows.
The Caves in the National Park
There are many interesting caves to explore in Khao Sok National Park. Tours to them should not be done on your own, but better as part of a guided group. Some of these stalactite caves can only be reached by boat, while others can only be reached by a strenuous hike through the jungle. Good shoes are advisable for the visits in any case, because the paths are usually quite slippery. Also a headlamp should not be missing in the luggage.
Among the most interesting caves in Khao Sok National Park are the Khang Cow Cave with countless bats, the 500-meter-deep Nam Ta-lu Cave, the Coral Cave and the Pra Kie Phet Cave, where you can discover numerous impressive stalagmites and stalactites as well as spiders and bats.
Tip: Cave tours are only offered as part of guided tours. These can be booked on site or online in advance on GetyourGuide!
Khao Sok Jungle Hike
A great experience in Khao Sok National Park is a jungle tour. The best hikes start at the main entrance, just near Khao Sok Town. Right at the entrance, you will find a national park map, so you can orientate yourself well in advance. There are various routes that you can easily manage on your own. The trails are well-marked and lead through beautiful bamboo forests to several tropical waterfalls and usually, you can even spot one or the other monkeys like macaques and langurs. The most popular route is the 7 kilometer Ton Kloi Waterfall Trail.
With a bit of luck you can spot not only monkeys but also other species like bats, kingfishers, hornbills and many beautiful butterflies. Of course there are, like everywhere in Thailand, spiders and snakes, but you see them a little less often. Also tigers, bears and other predators keep well hidden in the jungle and are hardly to be seen.
Tip: Directly at the National Park Office you can book guided night hikes through the jungle or, if it is in bloom, tours to the rare Rafflesia.
The Waterfalls in the Park
In Khao Sok, as mentioned above, there are also some beautiful waterfalls to discover. The Mai Yai Waterfall is located on the main road and is the only waterfall in the park that can be reached by car. All others are connected with a jungle hike. The 7 kilometer Ton Kloi Waterfall Trail is beautiful. During this hike through the deep green jungle of Khao Sok National Park, you pass several waterfalls at once. Wang Phai Nga, Wing Hin Waterfall, Bang Hau Rat, Wang Yao, Bang Leab Nam, Tan Sawan Waterfall, Tang Nam Gorge and the Ton Kloi Waterfall. All these little natural wonders can be explored when hiking on the Ton Kloi Waterfall Trail.
Elephants in Khao Sok National Park
If you like to see elephants, you can also visit one of the Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuaries in the national park. In these elephant sanctuaries, former working elephants are offered a new, safe home. You will have the opportunity to feed, interact with, observe and even bathe with the rescued elephants during a half-day excursion there.
Recommended and very personal is the experience at Sonchana Farm and Elephant Sanctuary, where the Sonchana family lovingly cares for Somboon, a retired, very old elephant. More famous, however, is the Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary, where several pachyderms can be visited.
The Monkey Temple
An interesting sight, which certainly not everyone knows, is the monkey temple Wat Thum Nang Panturath, which is lovingly maintained by the monks living there! This temple complex is located on the outskirts of the village of Khao Sok, only a few hundred meters from the center. Although the temple itself is not overly spectacular, but here you will meet numerous monkeys, which are always happy about a small snack. T
he entrance fee to the monkey temple in Khao Sok is currently only 20 baht and a trip there is an insider tip, especially if you want to see free-ranging monkeys for the first time.
Getting to Khao Sok National Park
Getting to Khao Sok National Park can be organized relatively easily. The nearest airport is in Surat Thani, about 120 kilometers from the national park and another one in Phuket 130 kilometers away. You will also find a major train station in Surat Thani, which connects Bangkok with the south of the country.
However, most vacationers arrive by bus, minibus or cab from the surrounding tourist regions such as Krabi, Phuket or Khao Lak. Transfers can be easily organized locally or online.
Tip: Cheap tickets for flight, train, bus, minibus and even cab can be found online on 12go.asia.
Excursions to Khao Sok National Park
Of course, there is also the possibility to make guided trips to Khao Sok National Park from the bigger vacation destinations like Khao Lak, Krabi and Phuket. You have a wide choice between day and multi-day tours with different programs. Very popular are also 3-day tours with overnight stay in a floating bungalow on the lake.
On GetYourGuide you can find really great excursions to Khao Sok National Park, with current prices and even reviews.
Where to Stay in Khao Sok National Park
Near Khao Sok National Park, you’ll find a fabulous range of places to stay. From cheap hostels, small resorts and great luxurious hotels, it’s all there. Really cool are the so-called floating bungalows in Khao Sok, where you stay directly at the water! If you are looking for a recommendable accommodation, then we can give you these tips on the way…It’s worth a look!
- Resort with Pool: The Khao Sok Jasmine Garden Resort is a lovingly run small hotel in a great location, with a green garden and a wonderful pool.
- Glamping: The Tanoshi Glamping In Khao Sok is a real insider tip! The luxury tent is equipped with everything, and the sunsets from above are more than spectacular.
- Cheap Jungle Huts: The Khao Sok Silver Cliff Resort delights with pretty little huts right on the edge of the jungle, next to high rock walls!
- Floating Bungalow: The Panvaree Resort offers floating bungalows in a breathtaking location directly on the lake! An adventure not to be missed.
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