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A few days in the beautiful Khao Sok National Park

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Southern Thailand

Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 24/05/2024, 00:30

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

I thought about Khao Sok Park in Thailand for a very, very long time. It was a Thai dream of mine that I wanted to fulfil. In the end, it came true. Staying in Khao Sok was a total surprise to me and I fell in love with the region. In this post I will tell you how I spent my days there, what I did. You will find some great recommendations of places to visit in and around Khao Sok National Park.

You’ve definitely heard of this park because it’s where the turquoise water and the rocks sticking out of it are. It’s also where you can sleep on a lake, in bamboo huts and enjoy the surrounding nature and silence.

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    For me, Khao Sok has become a benchmark for the future and not just because of the views, but also the accommodation I have come to stay in.

    About Khao Sok National Park

    Khao Sok Park is a natural reserve in the south of Thailand. It features virgin forests, older than the Amazon, sand cliffs, and the artificially created Cheow Lan Lake.

    The mentioned forests are inhabited by many species of birds, mammals and reptiles, and are home to unique plants rarely seen elsewhere.

    Khao Sok Park itself is located on the water, but a short distance away you will also find beautiful and unparalleled areas that are definitely worth seeing and exploring.

    Orientation

    Khao Sok Park itself occupies a vast area in the south, but you’re sure to head to Cheow Lan Lake when going to see the famous sand cliffs. From there the tour boats start and from there you will also get to the cottages on the water.

    Many people stay right there. You will also find a couple of nice places around the lake. Keep in mind, however, that this part of Thailand is less developed and there are stretches of road with little going on, not even decent shops or petrol stations.

    The area by Baan Nam Kem is slightly more inhabited. And there is a good choice of accommodation there too.

    To the south of Cheow Lan Lake is a large national park – Klong Phanom, and even further south we already have the sea and the islands of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi, which I recommend to visit. They can also be the base for a trip to Khao Sok Park.

    What to do and how to spend time in Khao Sok?

    About to spend a few days in Khao Sok Park and wondering what to do there and how to make the most of your time? Here are a few suggestions.

    Visit the Cheow Lan Lake

    boats on khao sok lake
    Views like these are only in Khao Sok.

    Everyone who comes to Khao Sok Park wants to go to this very place. The lake tour lasts a whole day. During this time you will visit caves, forests, learn a little about the park and there will also be a stop for photos. In addition, each tour offers swimming and kayaking on the lake.

    Book your trip to the lake here.

    Spend the night on the lake

    Floating houses on the Khao Sok lake.
    Spend the night in one of these little huts.

    On Cheow Lan Lake, you have the opportunity to stay overnight. In the nooks and crannies of the lagoon you will find floating rafts with bamboo houses on them. Some are very expensive and extremely beautiful, others are cheap and simple. Choose the option you can afford and spend the night on Khao Sok Lake.

    Here a note of caution, these cottages are booked very far in advance. During peak season it can be very difficult to get a place.

    Book your accommodation here.

    Visit the Tsunami Centre

    In 2004, Thailand was hit by a massive tsunami that claimed many lives. Thailand is still commemorating the tragedy to this day.

    Tsunami Centre is an information centre where you will see the course of the tsunami and how the country recovered from the tragedy.

    Map

    Kayak through the Thai Amazon

    A canal on the Thai amazon with kayaks parked in the bushes.
    The Thai Amazon is a network of small, peaceful canals.

    Thai Amazon – that’s the name of the place. I went there without much expectation and I loved it.

    The Thai Amazon is a network of canals in the mangrove forests where you rent a canoe with a guide and paddle along, looking at animals, birds and reptiles. You can see snakes and monkeys here. I only had the chance to see beautiful birds and lots of warblers.

    Map

    See the iron bridge

    A metal bridge near Khao Sok Park.
    This bridge is a lovely place to rest.

    Not far from Khao Sok Park is the Bung Sung Bridge. It is a metal structure that connects opposite banks of the river and adjacent fields. It may not be anything stunning, but I was personally impressed by how beautiful the area was. I walked along the bridge, watched the buffalo grazing and couldn’t get over how quiet the area was.

    Just a short walk away is the Thai Amazon and then small towns where you’ll have breakfast or an early lunch. Be aware that around 2pm everything closes for the evening and it’s hard to find something to eat here.

    Map

    Admire the grafitti in Ta Kuapa

    A woman sitting on the bench in front of a grafitti of a car in Thailand. She looks like she's driving it.
    There are plenty of grafitti all over this town.

    Old Ta Kuapa is a small town in the Khao Sok area that is inhabited by Thais of Chinese origin. This is evident in the architecture and also in the graffiti that adorns the walls of the buildings.

    I walked the streets for a very long time, even though the town is not large. I also had a look at Kopi café, where I ate delicious Thai desserts and had a good coffee.

    Map

    Visit the caves and waterfalls in the area

    There are a lot of caves and waterfalls in the Khao Sok area. I think you need at least one full day to explore them. Just go on Google Maps and see where the nearest such attractions are.

    Rest and relax

    A view over the hills in Khao Sok National Park.
    This kind of view is what you’re getting when visiting the Khao Sok National Park.

    I rented a bungalow a fair bit from Khao Sok Park, in the wilderness, in the forest. The accommodation itself was tiny and a little uncomfortable, but the view from the cottage was beautiful.

    Every morning I would wake up, work on the balcony at sunrise, and then have breakfast overlooking the mountains and a stream flowing by.

    There are a lot of places like this in and around Khao Sok. I think it’s a great idea to totally reset and relax.

    How to get to Khao Sok National Park?

    An entrance to the cave in Khao Sok National Park.
    There are plenty of caves in the Khao Sok Park.

    To Khao Sok from Bangkok

    The most common land connection to Bangkok is an overnight bus to Surat Thani and then a van to Khao Sok. You can shorten your journey by flying to Surat Thani.

    From Surat Thani to Khao Sok

    You will get to Surat Thani by plane. From there you can take a van to Khao Sok Park. If you are already in Surat Thani you can take a mini van from the city centre.

    From Phuket to Khao Sok

    You will find a number of carriers on Phuket that will take you to Khao Sok National Park. The journey takes 3 hours.

    Accommodation

    I didn’t have this opportunity to sleep on the lake because I was looking for accommodation too late. So I chose something on land – Khao Sok Home River Resort. I highly recommend this place. The cottages are small and the receptionists could use some further training, but the views from the window and the surroundings are divine. It is certainly a beautiful place.

    If you absolutely want to spend a night on the water, I would recommend it:

    Where to eat and drink?

    I didn’t come across anything special during my 3 days in Khao Sok. I ate my dinners and breakfasts at the resort. There was virtually nothing in the area where I could eat. On a trip to the lake we had a delicious lunch on the water. The only place I can think of is Kopi cafe with super desserts in Old Ta Kuapa.

    Where to go next?

    From Khao Sok Park, you can go to many other places. Probably the easiest to get to from here are:

    Khao Sok Park is a beautiful place where nature has created something truly amazing. I only spent 3 days there and I already know that more is needed to explore the area. If you only care about seeing the lake, then 2 full days will definitely be enough.

    Have you been to Khao Sok Park? Share your opinion. Are you going there? Ask me a question in the comments.