Khoa Sok National Park in Surat Thani Provence covers approximately 739km2 and includes the 135km2 manmade Cheow Larn Lake. The park contains includes the largest area of virgin rainforest in southern Thailand, parts of which are older than the amazon. Khao Sok is also known for its many ancient limestone Karsts that jut out from the landscape.
The park is extremely popular for those exploring southern Thailand, and is within easy reach of Phuket, Krabi, and many other popular tourist destinations. The nearest airport is Surat Thani approximately 100km away.
Khao Sok has some of the most bio-diverse forest on the planet, with some areas containing up to 200 species of plant per hectare. In many areas of the park the topsoil is shallow, which has encouraged many of the tree species to form buttress roots for greater stability by spreading their base and to take more nutrients from the shallow soil.
From January to March, if you are lucky you may see the rare Rafflesia Flower, which is the largest flower in the world, measuring up to 90cm in diameter. The parasitic flower infects wild Tetrastigma vines, and gives off a smell similar to a rotting carcass in order to attract flies, which pollinate the flower.
In addition, the park is home to a number of other notable species, such as, Pitcher Plants, Liana Vines and Dipterocarp Trees.
Khao Sok is thought to be home to over 5% of all known species on the planet, and in 2001 the world’s only known amphibious centipede was discovered in the park.
The park is home to 48 mammal species, including, Tigers, Bears, Guars, Malaysian Tapir and wild Elephants. As with most of Thailand’s national parks, illegal poaching presents a threat to the amazing wildlife that resides in the park.
There are over 180 species of bird in the park, making it an ideal destination for birdwatching.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Khao Sok is home to various species of Snakes, Lizards, Frogs and Toads, including tree frogs and the Monocled Cobra.
Things to do
Cheow Lan Lake
Cheow Lan Lake was created by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand in 1982, and was a result of the completion of the Rajjaprapha Dam. The lake has stunning limestone cliffs and Karsts rising from the lake’s surface, there are a number of boat tours available and most of the resorts on the lake offer free use of their kayaks.
There are many large limestone caves surrounding Cheow Lan Lake, you can take guided tours of many of them or visit one of the caves as part of a larger trek.
Trekking is one of the most popular activities in Khao Sok, you can either hire a guide from the park headquarters or use one of the many companies offering tours in the area. There is trekking for all levels within the park from beginner to advanced multi-day day treks, however, you should make sure that any guide you hire is TAT registered.
Canoeing & Bamboo Rafting
The stunning River Sok provides great canoeing and bamboo rafting opportunities, if you like you can even hire someone to paddle for you while you take in the breath-taking scenery and spot some of the birds and other wildlife that come to the river’s edge to drink.
Places to Stay
Unlike many of Thailand’s national parks Khao Sok has plenty of accommodation and resorts within the park boundaries. Most of the resorts are located around the Visitor Centre/Park Headquarters. Here are our top picks:
Cheow Lan Lake Rafthouse
Raft houses are small groups of floating bungalows nestled on the water’s edge. There are currently 17 raft house resorts, ranging from basic bamboo huts right through to luxury villas, depending on your budget.
The raft houses can only be owned by the decedents of the Cheow Lan Village, so if you’re looking for an authentic experience in rural Thailand staying at one of the raft houses is a great option.
More information can be found here, or if you’re plans are a bit more flexible, you can enquire at the parks headquarters.
Khao Sok Treehouse Resort
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, unique experience the Khao Sok Treehouse Resort offers treetop cabins, right in the heart of the Rain forest. Monkeys, rare birds and other wildlife can often be seen within the resort. You can find out more here.