Located in Surat Thani Province in southern Thailand, Khao Sok National Park, Krabi, is positioned just a 90 minute drive from Phuket Island. A locale of exceptional natural loveliness, with impressive limestone mountains, cliffs, caves, rivers, and waterfalls, it is a part of the major area of the Southern Thailand Rainforest. Much of the forest is still intact and houses a huge diversity of tropical birds, reptiles, insects, animals and plant life, and a wide variety of animals, including gibbons and barking deer.
The limestone mountains (known as karsts) are the remains of an ancient coral reef dating back some 225-280 million years ago. This coral reef is said to have been five times longer than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, stretching from China to Borneo. Some of the karsts rise up to almost 1,000 meters high, making them three times the height of those in nearby Phang Nga Bay and Halong Bay in Vietnam. The nature here has more in common with the Malaysian forest than the forest in the north of Thailand. Compared to those of the north, the forest in Khao Sok is taller, darker, more humid and evergreen.
Khao Sok is a fantastic place to go on vacation. Elephant trekking, trekking on foot, canoeing and jeep safaris are all possible activities, which will give you the experience of a lifetime. Khao Sok is perfectly situated on the mainland between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui, the most popular destinations in southern Thailand.
From Bangkok, take a direct air-con bus to Surat Thani which needs about 10 hours. Another way to get here is by train from Bangkok to Surat. The journey by train takes 9 till 12 hours. From Surat Thani are frequent buses to Khao Sok which take about one hour.
For those who like it faster and more convenient are
direct flights from Bangkok, either to Surat Thani or Phuket. Surat is more
near the park but has less frequent flights than to Phuket. From Phuket are direct
buses to Surat Thani which will stop at the Khao Sok National Park entrance.
Ratchaprabha Dam (Cheow Lan Lake)
In 1980 a huge dam was built at the periphery of the park to supply the province Surat Thani with water energy. This dam is known as Chiao Lan Lake. Locals offer boat tours on the 162-square-mile lake with over a hundred islands. The lake is surrounded by limestone mountains and cliffs covered in tropical rainforest that rise up from the shore of the lake and disappear into the far distance. The scenery has been compared to Qualin in China or Halong Bay in Vietnam. Few people know of the lake and even less have visited it. A boat trip should not be missed.
The park has numerous waterfalls such as the Bang Hua Council, Bang Nam Lab May Yai and Sip Et Chan. To get to the falls, a few kilometers need to be covered on foot. Those in need to cool down after the walk can refresh themselves in the accumulated clear waters of the cascades.
Many visitors to the tropical rain forests are often disappointed that they do not get immediately a glimpse of wild animals. The reason is that most visitors go to the park around noon. Animals are here extremely fearful of people because they were hunted more than 50,000 years ago by the forest dwellers. The majority of the larger animals in Khao Sok are only active after dusk. Especially cats, bears, deer, and even the elephants start just before sunset their search for food. Park visitors should look during the day for tracks. Tracks can be found best by a sandy or muddy river and in moist places along a jungle path. Visit the park at night with a halogen lamp. One must behave extremely quiet and the group should be small. Even dark clothing is advantageous. In no case visitors can smoke.
In some areas of the park there are huge bamboo groves. There are more than 1,500 species of this family. Bamboo is the oldest grass on earth and about 60 million years old. It is also the tallest grass (up to 10 meters high). Some species can grow more than a meter in one day.
Spiders & ants
Some of the most common insects in the rain forest are spiders, ants, termites and bees. The park is home to a large tarantula specie which builds massive webs. It is believed that these spiders not only consume insects but small birds. The female is very large and colorful, the male, however, much smaller. The red weaver ant is one of thousands of ant species and builds the nests on leaves and shrubs. Usually weaver ants only attack if their nest is threatened. Their bite is very painful. The eggs of the weaver ants are for many Thais a delicacy.
Wild fruits and Horn Bill birds
In the forests of Southeast Asia hundreds of different species of edible fruits grow such as jackfruit, mangosteen, durian, rambutan and pomelo, just to name a few. The Hornbill lives almost exclusively from the fruits of the tropical rainforest. It has its name from its enormous beak, which resembles a horn, and often has a bony elevation on the head. 30 of the world's 45 Hornbill species live in Asia, of which 13 species are common in Thailand.
Rafflesia Kerrii Meijer - the world’s largest flower
The Rafflesia Kerrii Meijer is with 100 cm diameter the largest flower in the world and can be found in Khao Sok National Park. The flower grows for 9 months before to blossom for only 7 days.
Elephant trecks and canoeing
Jungle safaris are available from Phuket, Khao Lak or Krabi to this park almost every day. Get indulged in activities like elephant trekking in the jungle and canoeing down the Sok River. You can canoe noiselessly down the Sok River in a steady canoe which has to be obviously paddled by an skilled guide. Keep watching birds and other small creepy animals that shall remain unnamed. You may also hold on as the amazing elephants take you on a trek straight into the forest. You will be astonished when you seeing the elephants magnificently making their way up the tiny steep trails.
Khao Sok is actually the wettest area in Thailand. But don’t let that put you off. After all, you are visiting the rainforest! This is due to its location; Khao Sok sits at the mountain ridge separating the west coast from the east coast. Winds from both the Gulf of Thailand in the east and the Andaman Sea in the west blow monsoon rain into the area; it can rain as much as 3.5 meters in one year.