About Khao Sok National Park
The Khao Sok National Park is located in the south of Thailand, between the coasts of Surat Thani (where the Gulf of Thailand is) and the Andaman Sea ( Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi ). It has an area of 739 km², slightly more than the island of Menorca and consists of two well-differentiated parts: the town of Khao Sok and Lake Cheow Lan, both separated by 60 km. A lot of wild animals live in the park, some easier to see like the gibbons or the great hornbill, a bird that will leave you with your mouth open and others, like the wild elephants, that are not seen so often. Also if you go in January and February you will also have the chance to see the rafflesia, one of the largest flowers in the world.
Fee to enter Khao Sok National Park
This fee costs 300 baht and the worst part is that it is only valid for one day. If you enter on different days you have to pay again, unless you access after 4:30 p.m., in that case it also works for the next day but keep in mind that the park closes at 6:00 p.m.
The village of Khao Sok, the entrance to the National Park
Khao Sok Village is located around the entrance to the national park. It’s basically a main road with accommodation and restaurants on both sides and this is where almost everyone arrives on their first day. This is what you can do in Khao Sok town.
Enter the National Park and walk some of its routes
At the entrance they will give you a map with several points marked, most of them you can easily reach by following the indications. Almost the entire route runs parallel to the river, so it is difficult to get lost, here we leave you the map. You can only get to the Bang Laeb Nam waterfall (point 4) without a guide, which is already 9 km round trip.
Hire an activity at Khao Sok National Park
There is also the option of hiring some of the many and varied activities that will be offered in any of the Khao Sok accommodations. The most common are these: –Night trekking with a guide : around two hours with a local guide going through some routes of the park while you look for animals with a flashlight. Insects are usually seen above all, for cooler animals such as slow loris you have to have a little luck. –Activities on the Khao Sok river : you can enjoy the river that runs through the town of Khao Sok by kayaking. But if paddling isn’t your thing, sign up for tubing, which is basically letting yourself be dragged down the river on a float that is almost always the inner tube of a tractor wheel. –A night camping in the jungle : this is not in all the activity catalogs but it seemed like a great time for those who come with time and do not mind spending a little more money. You can hire a local guide with whom into the jungle and spend the night there. Only suitable for the most adventurous.
Cheow Lan Lake, the jewel of Khao Sok National Park
And although the jungle is fine, the most famous image of Khao Sok National Park is its huge lake surrounded by limestone mountains filled with vegetation. The most interesting thing is being able to sleep in one of the cabins that are scattered along its banks, and wake up as if in a dream in the middle of this landscape. It is without a doubt one of the best experiences that can be lived in Thailand.
We are going to tell you what to see in the lake and how to get there.
How to get to Cheow Lan Lake?
What almost everyone does is hire a two-day and one-night excursion from Khao Sok Town. Practically all accommodations can manage it, we advise you to write to them beforehand to find out what options they have. Everything is included in these tours: transportation, trekking, kayaking, cabin accommodation and all meals and drinks. There are differences between the accommodations, from very basic bamboo cabins to some truly luxurious, we recommend that you inform yourself beforehand so as not to be surprised. I stayed at Smiley Lake House, something in between, and the tour cost me 2,500 baht (about €68 per person). Normally these accommodations offer free kayaks so that you can explore the surroundings of the area yourself. If you want to take everything contracted before you go, including transportation from your accommodation in Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak or Surat Thani, you have this tour of 2 nights and one day (it is more expensive than doing it on your own and hiring it there). Another intermediate option to enjoy a visit to Khao Sok National Park is to get to Ratchaprapha Marina on your own and hire a boat ride there. there for 1,500 baht (price for the entire boat). Finally, there is also the possibility of directly booking one of the floating hotels on the lake through booking. In general, they all have a free transfer between the port of Ratchaprapha and the accommodation.
What to see in Cheow Lan Lake?
The simple fact of sailing on the lake is already a wonder, but there are some places that you cannot miss: – The Guilin of Thailand: it is the star of the lake and its most photographed place. These are several limestone rocks that rise above the water and are reminiscent of the famous Guilin area of China, one of the most visited points in the Asian giant. – Nam Talu Cave : one of those places that lovers of adventure sports will love. It is a 500-meter-long cave through which a river flows that in some sections covers so much that you even have to swim (only a few meters, but keep that in mind for your electronic devices). The cave is wide and at no time do you have to crouch down, but its visit is limited to the dry season, from the end of December to the end of May, the exact dates change every year depending on the weather. – Diamond Cave: it is another of the best caves in Khao Sok, its stalagmites and stalactites form one of the most impressive geological settings in the park. It is also wide and here it is not necessary to get into the water to explore it. In both caves you are going to see bats, maybe some spiders and they say that sometimes there are snakes, although we did not see them, but to be warned. I saw all of these sites on the two-day, one-night tour. At least for the caves it is essential to be accompanied by a guide.
Useful information about Khao Sok National Park
Finally, I leave you with all the practical information to visit the Khao Sok National Park in the best way:
› Best time to visit Khao Sok
The ideal is to go between January and March, during the dry season. The rainy season runs from the end of April to the beginning of December, although the rainiest months are from May to October.
› How much time is needed
Give it at least two nights and three days. The normal thing is to arrive at the town of Khao Sok, take advantage of that day to explore the area or do some activity and, the next day, make the excursion to Lake Cheow Lan, with a night in a cabin.
Getting to and from Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok is located in the south of the peninsula. Close to major cities like Surat Thani or Pukhet. Here are some directions to get there and get out:
Getting to Khao Sok by plane
The airport that may suit you best is Surat Thani. You will have no problem finding a flight there from different cities. But for the price of flights compared to ground transportation, it is only worth it if you fly from very far, for example from Chiang Mai. Once in Surat Thani you have to arrive by land.
Arriving by land: The bus or the train
There are several possibilities to get to Khao Sok National Park depending on where you are coming from.
Getting to Khao Sok from Bangkok
You can take the train to Surat Thani. Once there you combine it with the bus (120 baths approx) or with a minivan (200 baths) to Khao Sok. The difference between the two is that the minivan will leave you at the door of your hotel, and the bus at the intersection with the main road, from which you have to walk a little over 1 km to reach the hotel area. We warn you that they will not make it easy for you to find the bus, because “the minivan mafias” will almost kidnap you to go with them. Every hour a bus leaves from the Surat Thani train station to Khao Sok. The first one arrives around 7:15 a.m. approximately. The journey is about 2 hours. There is a night bus from Bangkok to Khao Sok. Tickets are purchased at the southern bus station in Bangkok “Sai Tai Mai“. To return to Bangkok it is a question of retracing the path. Take the bus or minivan to Suratthani and then the bus/train to Bangkok. You can also inquire about the availability of the Khao Sok-Bangkok direct bus.
If you are already in the south of Thailand
From the east side (Suratthani, Gulf of Thailand, etc)
If you are in the eastern part, let’s say in the Gulf of Thailand area (Ko Samui, etc). Your goal is to get to Surat Thani and from there take the bus to Khai Sok. The route is the same as the one we have explained from Bangkok. Better to go to the train station because the bus station is a bit far. If you come from the islands of the Gulf of Thailand (Ko Samui, Ko Pa Nga and Ko Tao ) you can buy a combined ferry + minivan to Khao Sok that can cost you approximately 700 baths.
From the west (Krabi, Phuket, Andaman Sea, etc..)
If you are in the western part you also have good connections with Khao Sok.
- From Phuket and Khao Lak, a bus leaves every hour for Khao Sok (160 baths).
- From Krabi. At the bus station you can find the minivans that take you to Khao Sok. They leave several a day. It can cost you about 300 baths the way.
These are the main destinations from which most travelers arrive in Khao Sok, but there are good connections from almost any city in Thailand. To get out of Khao Sok you also have a lot of minivans on offer. You won’t have a problem!! If you want to check the schedules and prices of transport, take a look at this post about the best pages to consult transport in Thailand
Where to sleep in Khao Sok
The Khao Sok Natural Park could be divided into two large areas:
- Khlong Sok Village : Where the entrance of Khao Sok NP is located.
- Ban ta Khun: the area of the Cheow Lan lake where the boat routes take place.
Khlong Sok Village is where 99.9% of visitors stay. There is a wide range of resort-type accommodation for all budgets. The cheapest we saw was 400 baths for a simple bungalow, at the Ever Green Resort. You also have options for shared hostel-type rooms, but if you are two people, a cheap cabin is more affordable. In Ban Ta Khun, 50 km from Khlong Sok, there is not as much accommodation on offer and the prices are similar. This small town is about 13 kilometers from the lake.
How to visit Khao Sok National Park and Chew Lan Lake: with excursion or on your own.
To visit Khao Sok and the lake you have two options: hire the excursions offered in all the hotels, or do it on your own. Here we explain both. The price of admission to Khao Sok NP is 300 baths and is valid for 24 hours. This is important because if you set it up right, you can see the park and the lake, paying only once.
Visit Khao Sok and Chew Lan Lake by hiring an excursion.
Tourism agencies in Khao Sok itself offer you a fairly wide variety of activities in Khao Sok NP. Here is a list of some of them with their prices per person:
- Half day tour in Khao Sok National Park – 600 baths
- Full day excursion in Khao Sok National Park – 1200 baths.
- Night tour in Khao Sok National Park – 500 baths
- Excursion and camping in the jungle – 2300 baths.
- Jungle survival trek – 2500 batht.
- Day at Cheow Lan Lake – 2500 baths.
- Night at Cheow Lan Lake – 2,500 baht.
- Tour Pack 2 days 1 night – 2650 baths
- Tour Pack 3 days 2 nights – 4500 baths.
As you can see, the options are not entirely cheap. But if you don’t have budget problems and you’re too lazy to move around too much to do things on your own, you can write down these prices in your budget. It is important that you ask if the entrance to the park is included, because many do not include it.
How to visit Khao Sok National Park and Chew Lan Lake on your own
As usual in Thailand, nobody explained to us how we could visit the park and the lake on our own, so we ventured there to look for information.
Free trekking in Khao Sok
To do the trekking inside the Khao Sok NP is as easy as buying the ticket and following the path indicated, both on the map and during the trekking. It is true that there are more difficult areas for which they recommend taking a guide, but many of the points of interest, such as waterfalls, etc., can be easily reached. If you are interested in having things specifically explained to you about the biodiversity of the park, then yes, take a guide.
Chew Lan Lake for free
To go to Chew Lan Lake on your own you will have to move a little more since there are about 50 km of distance between the two points. You can take a bus that leaves from the intersection of road 401 (the main one) with the road where Khlong Sok Village begins. The schedule of this bus is a mystery since we asked several people and they told us that sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Others that only one passed in the morning. The other option is to rent a motorcycle and go yourself. Just follow the 401 towards Surat Thani. When you arrive at Ban Tan Khun you will see the sign for Ratchaprapa Damm, which is the jetty for the lake. We recommend you use MapsMe because it will take you without problems! For the Chew Lan Lake you also need the entrance to the Khao Sok NP. As we said at the beginning, the entrance to the park lasts 24 hours, so if the sheets do not stick to you, you can take advantage of the same entrance to visit both areas. Once at the pier you have several boats at your disposal, don’t worry. Three hours on the lake is 1500 baths, the whole boat. The maximum number of people per boat is 6. If you find partners you can share, otherwise it may be a little more expensive, but even so, you can go more calmly at your own pace!
How to book floating cabins on Cheow Lake on your own
If what you want is to spend a night in the floating cabins of Khao Sok, know that you can book it on your own. Of course, you have to do it in advance. There you can also rent a kayak to explore the lake quietly! The website from which reservations are made is the official page of the national parks of Thailand. The page has the English option so you can do it without problems. The process is simple, although certain aspects must be taken into account:
- It has to be done from Thailand since it is not yet possible to make the payment by card/Pay Pal, and it must be done at a Bank of Thailand ATM or at one of the authorized agencies.
- It can be reserved with a maximum advance of 60 days.
- No more than 3 consecutive nights can be booked.
As we have mentioned, the process is simple and intuitive. The only drawback is that in the “Floating House” option there are no photos available so you can see them, but there are plenty of photos on the Internet and you can get an idea of what they look like. And that you know that from this page you can also book accommodation in all the other national parks in Thailand that have that option.
Are there crocodiles in Khao Sok?
No, none of this! over a year ago.
What is the characteristic of Khao Sok?
Home to the oldest jungle ecosystem in the world, Khao Sok National Park and the surrounding area form a protected region of more than 3,600 square kilometers. It features pristine jungle, waterfalls and holes, and striking limestone cliffs that rise sharply from the verdant canopy.
Khao Sok okay?
The lake can be attracted from Phuket or Krabi, but it is a very long day. The hiking part isn’t worth bothering with (in the small amount of time you have) in my opinion, but if you’ve never been to a jungle before, you’ll probably love it, but there are better jungle experiences in Thailand.
What should I bring to Khao Sok?
What should I bring when I visit Khao Sok? Bring cool, quick-drying clothes, a swimsuit, a hat, good walking shoes that you don’t mind getting wet (water shoes are never a bad idea!), a flashlight, sunscreen, personal medications, and toiletries. dresser.
Where do I go after Khao Sok National Park?
If you like our Thailand itinerary, the next destination is Bangkok. Read here: things to do in Bangkok. If you don’t follow our itinerary, you can travel from Khao Sok National Park South to Phuket and Krabi or North to Koh Samui, Ko Phangan.
What city is Khao Sok in Thailand?
Khao Sok National Park is located in southern Thailand, within the province of Surat Thani. It is almost 600 km from Bangkok. In terms of well-known nearby cities, Khao Sok National Park is on the mainland between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui.
How do you get to Khao Sok National Park?
By plane: Surat Thani airport is the closest, but you can also choose Phuket airport. By train: Surat Thani railway station is the closest. Be warned: the southern line is very busy, advance booking is highly recommended. By night bus: There is only one night bus per day stopping at Khao Sok.
How do I get to Khao Sok National Park?
If you are traveling by air or riding the rails, the closest place to Khao Sok is Surat Thani. You can get flights or trains here from various places in Thailand. From Surat Thani, it’s about a 2-hour bus ride to the park. You can also catch a minibus from Krabi, Phuket or Khao Lak.
Can you stay in Khao Sok National Park?
An overnight stay in a floating bungalow is often included on multi-day tours of the park. Or, if you prefer to organize your trip to Khao Sok independently, you can also book a stay in a floating bungalow on sites like Booking.com and Agoda.
Is it worth visiting Khao Sok National Park?
Yes! Khao Sok National Park is one of the most beautiful destinations in Thailand. Due to the 2-day tour where you enter the ancient jungle and where you have the opportunity to stay in a unique location, this park is excellent to visit.