In Thailand, reverence for the natural wealth, taking steps to preserve the unique landscapes, rare flora and fauna. That is why there are so many nature reserves and national parks where human economic activity is restricted or completely prohibited. The Khao Sok National Park in the south of the country is one of these protected areas. It is quite far from the major resorts of Thailand, but its popularity is only increasing. Come to Khao Sok tend to a few days in a tourist village has everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Description of Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok Reserve in Thailand was organized relatively recently, in 1980. It covers 740 km², which includes picturesque valleys, mountain peaks, tropical forests, lakes, rivers and coastal areas, limestone caves, steep karst cliffs, stunning beauty of waterfalls. Unique plants have been preserved in the area, with 41 species of bamboo alone in the park.
The park is open to the public, the area is well landscaped, there are roads for cars and hiking trails. In the village of Khao Sok hotels and gesthouses, guides and travel agents organize individual and group tours. On the main street are cafes, restaurants offer national and European cuisine. You can stop by a massage or tattoo parlor, rent a bicycle, stock up on groceries for the day’s excursion or beach supplies.
The main attraction of the park is Lake Cheo Lan.
Between the entrance to the park and the lake is about 65 km.
Most of the photographs in the brochures were taken just on the shore of the lake, where you can clearly see the famous rocks, emerging vertically from the water and covered with colorful moss.
Khao Sok National Park is visited by groups from Phuket, Krabi and Khao Lak resorts, as well as tourists who have decided to visit one of the largest nature reserves of Thailand on their own.
The terrain in the park is so varied that sometimes it’s hard to believe that all this splendor is within a single preserve. The jungle area includes the rainforest, part of the caves, waterfalls, and the Soca River.
After the construction of the Ratchaprapha Dam, many species of unique animals were threatened with extinction and only the timely creation of the reserve saved them, stopping them literally on the verge of extinction.
Khao Sok National Park has preserved rare animals and birds:
- bamboo rat, distinguished by its impressive claws, tough fur, and habit of sleeping in freshly dug holes during the day;
- A barking deer with an elegant build, small horns, and an unusual sound similar to a yapping sound when danger is approaching;
- The Malaysian bear, which is on the verge of extinction, spends most of its life in trees, an endemic animal with no other enemies except humans;
- The Malaysian tapir is quite secretive and difficult to see, as it leads a nocturnal lifestyle;
- The smoky leopard is extraordinarily beautiful, prefers to feed on small prey, willingly poses for tourists from afar, not allowing them to approach and immediately disappearing into the jungle;
- The rhinoceros bird can frighten the uninitiated with its flight because the sound of the air being cleaved by its powerful wings sounds like the sound of an approaching train;
- The Indochinese tiger is darker colored and more placid in character; it does not make contacts or attack people, and lives in mangrove forests or bamboo thickets, delighting tourists with its occasional throaty growl.
These animals are gradually rebuilding their populations, thanks to human care for the preservation of their habitat.
Another jungle attraction, which can be seen only with a lot of luck, is called a rafflesia. This is a huge parasitic flower, with a diameter of 1 meter and a weight of 10 kg. Making a bouquet out of it is not recommended. For all its exoticism and unusual appearance, the flower reeks of rotten meat from several meters away. This is how he attracts scavenger insects. Apart from the flower, the plant has nothing, no stems or roots; it lives off the host liana. It blooms only 3-4 days a year, to see it during a tour of the park is considered great luck, but still better to admire it from a distance.
They are small, but very beautiful. Falling water is always mesmerizing, especially among the lush tropical nature, so there are always visitors near the waterfalls. Some of the smallest water streams do not have bowls-lakes and you can not swim there. I’ll have to look for a more powerful waterfall.
They lead to them well-trodden paths, everywhere are installed signs in Thai and English, complemented by diagrams of the location of attractions.
Cheo Lan Lake
It is not quite correct to call it a lake, because it appeared after the construction of the dam and is man-made. But whatever the reason for its appearance, Lake Cheo Lan in Cao Sok National Park has become a major attraction. The hydroelectric power plant was put into operation in 1988, for this it was necessary to flood several villages and karst caves. Residents received good compensation in the form of new land allotments and exclusive rights to conduct tourism business on the territory of the reserve.
From Khao Sok village to the lake is about 60 km, travel time will be 35-40 minutes. Many people try to come just for the day tour, and then return to the comfort of the hotels of the tourist village. But if you want exoticism or a break from civilization, the original houses on the water, rafthouses, waiting for their guests. The floating street goes far from the shore, the houses are almost touching the walls, inside the minimum of amenities, the walls are made of bamboo frame, on which are attached panels of wicker thatch. Costs on the part of the organizers are minimal, and the income is not bad, since rent exceeds the cost of construction by several times.
Inside there are usually two mattresses, bedding and a pillow. The toilet is shared and you have to get to it. All the inconveniences are compensated by a mesmerizing view of the water surface and the opportunity to swim just stepping forward from the threshold of the cabin.
A more comfortable option is offered by the 500 Rai Floating Resort. The demand for rooms is high and you need to book a room in advance.
The backbone of the tourist business is groups coming from Khao Sok on rented minibuses. The number of participants in the trip can be up to 18-20 people. The general sightseeing tour is built on the principle of a kaleidoscope of impressions. In a few hours, tourists will make it:
- to visit one of the floating villages;
- to pass a section of the hiking trail that leads through the jungle;
- to see tigers and monkeys;
- visit amazing karst caves, in which the sculptor of the most unusual forms was only nature.
The Thais are very adventurous and try to include a lot of additional services in the already paid programs. Very popular elephant rides for all comers, of course, for a fee.
Everyone who comes to Khao Sok is told about the poisonous snakes. But it’s more of an educational measure, so that they don’t fight off the group and don’t go too far away. Self-travelers should note that there are indeed snakes, including the king cobra, but they are few and hardly visible.
Snakes do not attack first and do not show aggression, trying to quickly crawl away into the thicket. You just have to watch your step and pay a little attention.
The second tour includes a visit to the waterfalls. They are not as tall and powerful as the Niagara, but they have their own unique charm, so the program is also in demand.
Organized trips do not require renting transportation and planning an itinerary, finding the best accommodation and hotel reservations. There are no problems with food and excursions. In return, there are strict time limits for staying in the reserve and a fixed set of attractions. In addition, the trip will be expensive. The tour for one day costs 2000 baht, for two days the price is already 4500. A three-day tour with two overnight stays, one of which is scheduled at Cheo Lan Lake, will cost 5,500 baht. Therefore, many tourists go to the reserve on their own.
Entertainment in Khao Sok
Most of the time is spent walking through the park, touring waterfalls and going in search of rafflesia. In addition, in the reserve you can ride an elephant for 800 baht and observe their daily life, go kayaking at the same cost. The most inexpensive and spectacular entertainment is rafting down the river on inflatable circles. The cost of the trip will be 500 baht. A night safari will leave an unforgettable impression. For 600 baht you can see a very different jungle, living its own hidden life, full of mysterious sounds, rustles and smells.
How to get there and where to stay in Khao Sok
Going to an unfamiliar place without babysitting tour operators is always interesting and sometimes very profitable, provided that the possible difficulties are not frightening, and are perceived as a fun adventure. In Thailand, the tourism business is one of the main sources of income, so for visitors to the country all conditions for a comfortable and safe holiday. Tourist booklets contain detailed information about Khao Sok National Park, with approximate itineraries and recommendations for hotel choices.
You can come to Khao Sok Reserve by public bus, cab or rent a car. For a family or small company, renting a vehicle will be the most profitable option for the trip. The cost of renting a car starts at 1000 baht. For a ticket on the bus you will need to pay 180-200 baht, depending on the class of transport. If you order round-trip tickets in advance, the cost will increase to 600 baht.
It is worth noting that the national park visit is paid, the cost of 1 day is 300 baht.
There are a lot of housing options. There are classic hotels, where the rooms have everything you need. The original tree houses belong to the hotel
Khaosok Treehouse Resort, rest in them is comfortable and exotic. The floating bungalows on Lake Cheo Lan, called rafthouses, are also interesting in their own way. You can choose the best option and make a reservation by yourself through the Internet or resort to the services of travel agencies.
Also in demand:
- Jasmine Garden;
- Khao Sok Country;
- Bamboo Family;
- River Home;
- Khaosok Good view.
- Going to Khao Sok National Park, it is worth bearing in mind that most of the entertainment is hiking, visiting karst caves, climbing to the observation deck. You will need comfortable hiking clothes and shoes.
- Bungalows at Cheo Lan Lake look very interesting, but note that they lack basic amenities, not to mention air conditioning, internet and electricity. In some cases, it is worth considering a day trip to the lake, and pick up a room at one of the hotels located along the trail leading to the lake and in the tourist village.
- If you travel alone, you need to book a hotel in advance.
- In Thailand there is no winter and summer, the seasons are divided into dry and wet. During the rainy season, from May to November, prices are significantly reduced, the vacation will be more economical. And the downpours come quickly and stop just as quickly. After a few hours, it’s hard to even suspect that recently there were wide muddy puddles everywhere.
- For a two-day trip to the lakes, you’ll have to book a cabin. The simplest bungalows cost 500 baht, have no amenities, the conditions are close to the Spartan. The rental of expensive houses is 5000 baht, the furnishings resemble a standard hotel room. It is necessary to find out in advance where the most acceptable conditions and how much a room costs. The choice is huge, as there are about 20 floating hotels on the coastal territory, belonging to different owners.
You can come to Khao Sok National Park all year round, there is no big difference between the seasons. The peak of visits is in the winter months. The weather is beautifully sunny at this time.
Video overview of Khao Sok Park
A journey through the trails of the reserve will fill you with peace and admiration for the wonders of nature in an unspoiled corner of the tropics.