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“Welcome to the Jungle!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park
Surat Thani, Thailand
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Type: National Parks
Activities: Viewing wildlife
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Characterized by lowland rainforests and limestone mountains, this 739-square-kilometer park offers a variety of outdoor adventure including elephant trekking, hiking, jeep safaris and canoeing.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Coventry, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Welcome to the Jungle!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

This place is amazing! If you want to see wildlife and get back to basics you should visit the national park. Try out some of the walks, which can be self guided from the national park HQ or arrange to stay on a raft boat on the reservoir. A very special experience waking up on the lake to the sound of the gibbons call.

Loved this experience and would recommend anyone try it, if only for an overnight.

Visited March 2013
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Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
144 reviews 144 reviews
38 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
337 helpful votes 337 helpful votes
“Klong Sok is ok, but the lake is amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013 via mobile

This will be a long review, so first a summary: Khao Sok is huge, and most of it is inaccessible. There are two main access points.

The first is on the far west of the park in the village of Klong Sok, where pretty much everyone starts out. There are tons of accommodations ranging from cheap and funky to expensive and nice. The explorable part of the park here consists of a number of trails, some ok waterfalls (nicer in rainy season of course), decent jungle, and lots of leeches. This area is ok, but not amazing.

The second access point is the pier at the dam on the east side of the park, about 60km from Klong Sok. This is where you take a boat onto the huge Chiew Lan Lake. Most people do this as part of a tour package and to do it otherwise would be potentially challenging and expensive. The lake itself is EPIC. Beautiful turqoise water with stunning limestone karsts towering above in all directions. Do it! Seriously.. It is worth it.

Now for the long part:

This is my third time to Khao Sok and by far the best! My first two visits were just to the west end of the park (Klong Sok) and I had no idea that the lake was so great, so I did some rafting trips, hiked in the jungle, and lounged in a treehouse bungalow. Good times, but I wasn't sure why people raved about Khao Sok so much.

For this trip I had read about the lake online and I was interested to finally check it out. I am on a fairly tight budget and I was kind of put off by the tour prices (which apparently start at around 1500 baht for a day trip to the lake). I also dislike tours and avoid them whenever possible. I much prefer to explore somewhere on my own. However, it doesn't seem feasible to do the lake trip without a tour (especially if you are solo), so it was either the tour or nothing. I almost didn't do it, but reading the reviews here convinced me to go for it.

Be aware that not all tours are the same around here. Different companies offer different quality of experience. I got a 1 day 1500 baht special (included park fee) and it was good. There were 9 people on the tour which was ok, but it would of been nicer with 4-6 (some other tours had 16-20+ people which I think would of been too much). I booked my tour through Baan Khao Sok Resort, but I think it was actually operated by someone else.

We started at 8:30am and spent about an hour driving in a song thaew to the town nearby the dam. We stopped at the local market for a brief shopping stop and then headed to the pier. We got on a longtail boat and spent about an hour traversing the lake and ended up at the Ton Toey raft huts area which is in a fairly secluded part of the lake on the west end. We got to swim, kayak or simply lounge for awhile and then were served a very tasty and filling lunch. I am vegetarian and was happy with the veggie option (three different vegetable stir fries with tofu and steamed rice).

Next, we went on the 3.5 hour jungle trek to Nam Talu cave. They told me to bring shoes and NOT flip flops.. and guess what? I just brought flip flops! Bad idea. After about 5 minutes is became clear they were not working, especially since they were not good for water (slippery leather footbed) and there are many stream crossings on this hike... So, I went barefoot!! Everyone thought I was crazy, including the guide. Amazingly I kept up with everyone and didn't destroy my feet. It was actually kind of fun in a difficult adventurous sort of way. Anyways, don't follow my example! Bring good shoes that you can get REALLY wet (like swimming wet).

The trek was nice and the jungle was beautiful. The only downside was all the other tour groups which made it feel a little less exciting. The cave was AWESOME. I really like caves and this was one of the highlights of the tour for me. The cave goes for about 800 meters and has a river running through it. You go from one end to the other and get really wet. At some points you must swim. The water was clear and cool and I loved being in it. The cave also had some nice formations, lots of bats, and some big cave spiders.

After leaving the cave we hiked back to Ton Toey and had a great snack of fruit, fried banana fritters, and sticky rice snacks in banana leaves. We then got some more time to swim, canoe or relax.

Finally, we rode the boat back to the pier and took a songthaew home.. arriving back in Klong Sok at around 6:30pm.

The lake trip made me realize that Khao Sok is truly an amazing park. I can only imagine some of the unreachable spots within the park and how incredible they must be.

Someone wrote a review on here that said Phang Nga bay is just as nice and I have to respectfully disagree. I did the Phang Nga boat trip a few days ago and it was nice, but today's lake trip was incredible. If I come back (which I probably will), I would want to do either a 2-3 day lake tour, or possibly create my own tour by hiring a private boat.

In conclusion, Khao Sok has plentiful jungle, epic landscapes, nice caves, and an incredible lake to explore. It is a place to get "down and dirty", so perhaps it isn't for everyone, but for nature lovers it is great. I hope it doesn't get too popular or developed because I want it to stay just as it is! So on second thought, don't go here.. it is horrible! Hot, humid, leech infested. You are better off going to Phang Nga Bay. ;)

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Krakow, Poland
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Worth visiting for couple of days.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

I was not sure if jungle is something for me, but at the end it turned out that it was one of my favorite places in Thailand. Visiting this place was great adventure. We enjoyed couple of guided trips in the Khao Sok. We booked these trips at our resort. They were all suitable even for our 5-years old daughter, so do not be afraid of jungle!

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ISRAEL
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“HIDDEN GEM”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

I have contemplated not writing this review. There is relatively little information on the web and this is part of it's appeal that it is not overrun by tourists. I almost want to keep it a secret. Set in a rainforest it is green all year round . It is devoid of modern day luxuries making for a trully enjoyable jungle experience. Fall asleep to a concerto of insects -preferably in a tree or lake house. Enjoy real nature
BUT it is not for the faint- hearted. Beware of mosquitos, fleas, ticks and leaches which left me bleeding for over an hour. Even had a frog in our rafthouse room. So if you can deal with these minor nuicances(you will definitely encounter at least some of these creatures on your stay) make Khao Sok a stop on your Thailand itinerary.
Beware of companies such as limestone- offering trips at inflated prices.
Overnight at lake should cost around 2500 Baht all inclusive- can be booked locally.
Day trip around 1900.
The all day trek from the park gate is definitely doable alone. Just take the map from the ranger. There are many guides on the route so you will never get lossed
Our Jungle House highly recommended.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Limestone Lake Tours - Great company and beautiful locations”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

We wanted to spend a few nights in Kao Sok during our stay in Thailand but didn't know how to go about making all the arrangements for the floating lodge and transfers. Luckily, we found Limestone Lake Tours on the internet and they took care of all the details for us. I was a little hesitant just because booking over the Internet with a small company in a far away country can be scarey but everything worked out perfectly.

We spent two nights on the floating rafthouse at Cheow Laan Lake. The rafthouse had two sections - bamboo style huts and more modern wooden huts. We were in a wooden hut. The washroom facilities are basic and there is no hot water for showering. However, the days were hot so a cool shower was just fine after tramping through the jungle or kayaking around the lake looking for wildlife. Also, the swimming from right in front of the room was fantastic. The water was warm and still.

The tour included a short hike to a cave, morning wildlife viewing and we also hiked to a viewpoint for a fantastic sunset. We saw plenty of wildlife and our guide Yu was fantastic. With him we were lucky enough to see a bear and two deer along with a variety of monkeys. We also went exploring ourselves on the kayaks (included with the hotel) and had a wonderful experience just floating in the bays watching the jungle. The food at the rafthouse was excellent and the staff very friendly.

After the rafthouse we spent a night in a treehouse room at the Khao Sok Nature Resort. I wish we could have stayed longer than one night because this place was magical. The food was good and there was Wi-Fi in the reception area (althought is was sometimes intermittent). We did the jungle rafting on our final afteroon. We didn't see any wildlife but it was fun to drive down the stream for an afternoon.

Would highly recomment Limestone Lake Tours and both the rafthouses at Chieow Laan Lake and the Khao Sok Nature Resort.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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