Thailand’s Hidden Gem
A beautiful place in Thailand that we didn’t even know existed. That’s what’s great about meeting other travellers. You hear so much stuff you didn’t even know about and get so many new ideas and recommendations. We’re so grateful we were told about this little secret and it was the best day visiting Khao Sok National Park.
Khao Sok is situated on the mainland between Phuket & Krabi. It is a huge rainforest that’s full of wildlife and is one of the biggest & oldest national parks in the country. With 738-sq-km, it is full of wild Elephants & gibbons and not to forget, plenty of bugs and spiders. The best time to visit is dependant on what you think of the weather. Although wet season between April & December can be very rainy, it brings out the amazing wildlife. Although dry season makes it easier for the trekking as it will be less slippy and muddy.
The Park is open from 8am-6pm and has an entrance fee of 200 baht. This mainly goes towards the maintenance of the park and for the park ranger.
You can visit Khao Sok National Park & stay over night in the area. There are a variety of floating bungalows and raft houses to stay which all vary with prices.
However, we decided to just do a day tour simply due to preference.
If your interested in visiting Khao Sok for the day, here’s a guide of all you need to know.
The day tour
Visiting Khao Sok National Park cost us 3,300 baht each which comes to about £78. We werent sure if we wanted to spend this but we had heard such good things about Khao Sok that we thought fuck it, why not. We don’t want to miss out on doing things and we didn’t want to leave and regret not going.
So what did the day include?
We got picked up from our hotel promptly at 730am. The driver was so kind, he let us bring take our coffee and made space in the cup holders. He gave us a little info about Khao Sok and his personal experiences there. We then made ourselves comfy for the 2 hour journey ahead.
When we arrived at Khao Sok, our driver sorted out our tickets for us, told us where to go and introduced us to our tour guide. We then got on the long tail boat for our little trip around Cheow Lan Lake. This place was incredible. We felt like we were in some sort of movie like Jurassic Park or something. A dinosaur was definitely about to jump out!
The water was a amazing emerald colour and was so beautifully clear. This was the kind of water we expected at Halong Bay. Whereas Halong Bay was merky and disappointing. Cheow Lan Lake was perfect! The limestone hills shot straight up and covered by bright greenery. It was rather surreal. Everywhere you looked, the view was spectacular. The boat trip lasted about an hour and then we got dropped of at the floating bungalows for a play in the lake and for lunch.
Khao Sok Activities
The kayaks were included in the cost of the trip but we had to pay a 500 baht deposit for each paddle. It might sound a lot but its only a deposit so if you don’t lose the paddle, you’ll get the money straight back when you return. It was pretty cool as we were allowed to kayak pretty much anywhere we wanted. The water was so calm and peaceful. It was incredible to be able to take ourselves off and experience the lake just on our own.
I’m always dubious about lunch on tours because you never know what its going to be or even if you going to get enough of it. Unless you take snacks with you, its probably will be the only main meal you eat of the day, so it has to be substantial. The lunch was pretty much on point. We had various dishes which was shared between four of us. Chicken Thai green curry, grilled fish, vegetables, omelette & fruit. There was plenty of food and definitely filled us up!
A little trek
Next was a little hiking trip and the 200 baht entrance fee. We didn’t realise we had to pay anything else which was a bit annoying but then we didn’t have a choice at the time. It’s not like we could say no. So we paid the fee, grabbed a walking stick provided and got on our way. It wasn’t a difficult trek. Just quite a few hills and steps. You don’t need to massively fit to be able to complete it and everyone walks at a pretty slow pace anyway so its definitely doable. Just have to watch your step as it becomes quite slippy.
The trek took us to a little bamboo raft which was pretty cool. We all piled on and a 10 min trip took us Pakarang Cave. I didn’t go in as Caves aren’t really my thing as claustrophobia get the better of me. However, Joe doesn’t mind so he went straight in. They were all given to torches and the guide took them about 60 metres in. The cave was full of Stalagmites. These of which I’ve only just learnt what they are. So just incase you don’t know either, A stalagmite is a type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave due to ceiling drippings. Joe said it was all pretty impressive but I think he was more bothered about the gigantic spider he saw in there!
When you experience the rainy season!
As soon as everyone came out the cave, the expected rain arrived, and man did it come down! It absolutely poured! Everyone put on their poncho’s and headed for the dreaded trip back. We still had our little trek back to the boat to do which was very wet and slippy. Unfortunately thats prime settings for leeches. Luckily Joe or I didn’t get any but there were a few in the group that found some of their feet. They don’t hurt or are infectious, so just flick them off and you’ll probably need a little plaster. Not the end of the world 🙂 They gave out Oreo’s so definitely made everyone feel better.
The journey back was definitely an experience. A trip through the lake, on a long tail boat in pouring rain and wind. Everyone was huddled in their poncho’s battling through the weather. It really wasn’t great. Although it didn’t last long before it eased up and we were given more snacks which was a bonus. Our driver was waiting for us when we returned and took us straight back to our hotel. Easy!
Was it worth it?
Visiting Khao Sok National Park was pretty amazing. After being in Thailand for nearly a month, we definitely started to have enough of beach days and island tours. Beaches start looking the same and heading to island after island gets a bit tedious. It was so refreshing visiting this rainforest and experiencing the tranquility of Cheow Lan Lake. I don’t think many toursits know about this place which is a good thing as bigger tour groups would ruin it. We had about 15 people on our tour and even that got a bit annoying at times. I think Khao Sok is a little hidden gem in Thailand and it should stay that way. The wildlife is so big there and id hate to think anything would ruin that.
If your wondering whether to visit Khao Sok then you definitely should and I think a day trip is just perfect. Enjoy nature at its finest and experience one of the biggest national parks in Thailand.