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(updated listing Khao Sok Rainforest Resort)
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All restaurants have fresh fruit and fruit juices or shakes (fruit blended with ice).  Convenience stores often sell bananas and other fresh fruit outside their establishments. Depending on the season, you will see in the trees and for sale a variety of fruit, including rambutan, longan, pomelo, mango, mangosteen, a few varieties of banana, papaya, and guava.
 
All restaurants have fresh fruit and fruit juices or shakes (fruit blended with ice).  Convenience stores often sell bananas and other fresh fruit outside their establishments. Depending on the season, you will see in the trees and for sale a variety of fruit, including rambutan, longan, pomelo, mango, mangosteen, a few varieties of banana, papaya, and guava.
*<eat name="Thai Herb Restaurant" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Great food, very affordable small restaurant run by a very nice family. Don't be intimidated by the large diverse menu. Everything I tried in my 3 meals there has been very good. Very clean, fresh and perfectly cooked food. Highly recommended.</eat>
+
*<eat name="Thai Herb Restaurant" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Great food, very affordable small restaurant run by a very nice family. Don't be intimidated by the large diverse menu. Everything I tried in my 3 meals there has been very good. Very clean, fresh and perfectly cooked food. Highly recommended. - Actually everything tastes like standard thai food, especially not better than the other restaurant vic-a-vis or around. But the service personal is really, really slow...</eat>
  
  

Revision as of 15:31, 2 February 2013

Khao Sok National Park [1] is a jungle reserve in Southern Thailand. It is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Thailand.

Contents

Understand

History

The Royal Forest Department declared Khao Sok as the 22nd national park of Thailand on 22 December 22 1980.

Landscape

The park has a total area of 738.74 square kilometres, which covers parts of the Khlong Yee and Khlong Pra Sang forests as well as portions of the Krai Son and the Khao Pung sub-districts in the district of Ban Ta Khun and the Khlong Sok and Panom sub–districts in the province of Surat Thani.

Flora and fauna

Climate

Get in

From/to Phuket or Khao Lak: There is a bus service (approximately one bus per hour; the last one starts from Phuket around 14:00). Transit time is 4 hours from Phuket and 2 hours from Khao Lak (including a 20 min stop in Takua Pa that you may use to visit the local market). Price: about 160 baht from Phuket.

From/to Surat Thani: Air-conditioned public bus from Surat Thani runs every hour starting at 07:00, passing the Surat Thani Train Station (at Phun Phin) 15 minutes later (so first bus from here is at 07:15). Tickets can be purchased at the Surat Thani Bus Station located at Talat Mai 31 or at a stall on the train station's bus stop. Transit time is around 2 hours. Price is 120 baht. There should also be a minibus service departing every hour from 07:30 to 17:30 but the last one can be cancelled. The public bus is comfortable and more reliable.

From/to Krabi: There is only one minibus per day. From Krabi at about 11:00 and from Khao Sok at 08:30. Transit time is 2-3 hours. Price: 300 baht. The minibus from Khao Sok does not go to Krabi town or Krabi's Talat Kao Bus Station, it drops passengers off at a makeshift "Minibus Station" a few kilometres out of Krabi town from where the only way to get somewhere useful is via one of the taxis waiting there. There is no direct bus from Khao Sok to Krabi (you would have to change at Surat Thani) and so the minibus still is the easiest option.

From/to Ko Lanta & Ko Jum: Minibus + ferry costing 650 baht leaves at 08:30 from Khao Sok and the ferry gets to Ko Lanta at 13:30. The ferry stops on the sea to drop off passengers to long-tail boats heading to Ko Jum. This ferry (which starts at Krabi) only runs during the high season which typically starts between 12th & 14th of November (it varies every year and you should check with your Ko Jum hotel beforehand). During the low season the minibus from Khao Sok will still go to Ko Lanta but will take an alternative route via car ferry which does not go via Ko Jum. There is no ferry or public boat to Ko Jum during the low season and the only way to get there is to charter a private boat.

From/to Chumphon: Minibus to Chumphon costing 500 baht leaves Khao Sok at 09:00 and gets to Chumphon at 14:00.

From/to Trang: Minibus to Trang costing 600 baht leaves Khao Sok at 08:30 and gets to Trang at 14:00.

From/to Ko Samui: Minibus + ferry to Ko Samui costing 500 baht leaves Khao Sok at 09:00 and the ferry gets to Ko Samui at 15:30. During the high season there is also an afternoon minibus + night boat costing 600 baht. The minibus leaves Khao Sok at 15:00 and the night boat arrives at Ko Samui at 06:00 the next day.

From/to Ko Phi Phi: Minibus + ferry to Ko Phi Phi costing 750 baht leaves Khao Sok at 08:30 and gets to Phi Phi at 16:00.

From/to Had Yai: Minibus to Had Yai costing 600 baht runs at 08:30 and gets to Had Yai at 16:00.

From/to Ko Pha-Ngan: Minibus + ferry to Ko Pha-Ngan costing 650 baht leaves Khao Sok at 09:00 and gets to Ko Pha-Ngan at 16:30. During the high season there is also an afternoon minibus + night boat costing 700 baht. The minibus leaves Khao Sok at 15:00 and the night boat arrives at Ko Pha-Ngan at 06:00 the next day.

From/to Satun: Minibus to Satun costing 800 baht runs at 08:30 and gets to Satun at 17:00.

From/to Pakpara: Minibus to Pakpara costing 800 baht runs at 08:30 and gets to Pakpara at 17:30.

From/to Sugaigolok: Minibus to Sugaigolok costing 900 bahts runs at 8:30 a.m. and gets to Sugaigolog at 7 p.m.

From/to Penang: Minibus to Penang costing 900 baht runs at 08:30 and gets to Penang at 20:00.

From/to Kuala Lumpur: Minibus to Kuala Lumpur costing 1300 baht runs at 08:30 and gets to Kuala Lumpur at 06:00 the next day.

From/to Singapore: Minibus to Singapore costing 1600 baht runs at 08:30 and gets to Singapore at 11:00 the next day.

From/to Bangkok: By plane: Surat Thani airport is the nearest one but you can also choose Phuket airport. By train: Surat Thani train station is the nearest one. Be careful: the southern line is very busy, advance booking is highly recommended. By night bus: There is only one night bus per day stopping at Khao Sok. In Bangkok, it seems that the only way to book and buy it is to go directly to the southern bus station in Bangkok (booking any other night bus sold by agencies is not recommended). In Khao Sok, it is possible to book and buy it in the local agency or at your hotel (ask for the real VIP bus, direct from Khao Sok to Bangkok).

Fees/Permits

200 baht for foreigners, 100 baht for students, 40 baht for Thais. If you are told otherwise feel free to go directly to the park entrance and buy a ticket there.

Many tours will include the park entrance fee, something to take into consideration when choosing a tour.

Get around

Walking is the primary mode of transportation, as the road to the park is only 2 km and the farthest one can walk into the park is about 20 km.

See

Rafflesia Flower. To see the Rafflesia flower you have to go when it is in bloom around late-January or early-February. The way to see it is not through the main entrance of the park. Go down to the intersection of the highway and the road to the park. From there, go right to km111 and on your right you will see a wooden ladder. Go up that and when you get to the first fork take a right. From there the little path crosses some streams and such so look hard if you can't find the trail again. This will take you most of the day if you start early (about 09:00), but you could be back in time to go to the temple with all the monkeys. If you find a tour group, just follow them until they get to a flower. The English guy at the restaurant next to the park said, "you don't need a guide but if you go by yourself it's not guaranteed that you will see the flower." Don't forget to buy a ticket before you go.

Do

Tours can include tubing down the river, caving, kayaking, and zipline riding in the forest canopy. Many tours will include drinks, food, and/or basic accommodation. Ask your guide in advance about dietary concerns (vegetarian or "jeh" for example), if lunch is to be provided for you on the tour.

There are nine trails starting from the Visitor's Centre:

1. Wing Hin Waterfall - 2.8 km

2. Bang Hua Rat Waterfall - 3 km

3. Wang Yao pool - 3 km

4. Bang Leab Nam Waterfall - 4.5 km

5. Than Sawan Waterfall - 6 km

6. Tang Nam gorge - 6 km

7. Ton Kloi Waterfall - 7 km

8. San Yang Roi view point - 2 km

9. Sip-ed-Chun Waterfall - 4 km

Be prepared for leeches, which are on the ground and in the trees on all the trails.

Doing any 2-4 day tour in the national park will easily please any traveler. Your guesthouse can easily help set you up. Choosing a tour that involves at least one night in a floating raft house in the national park lake is an unforgettable experience.

Suggested Itinerary

Khao Sok in 4 Days/3 Nights

Day 1: Leave for the area around Khao Sok National Park headquarters in the morning from Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi, or Surat Thani. Visit the elephant camp and explore nature by canoeing down the Sok River. In the evening, enjoy the sounds of the rainforest.

Day 2: Visit the jungle cave temple. Go hiking in the national park by yourself or by hiring a local guide. The trails inside the park are well marked and there are several waterfalls on the way. From January to February it's possible to find the world's biggest flower, the Rafflesia blossom.

Day 3: Continue to Chiew Lan Lake about 70 km away and depart from the Rajjabrapa Pier. On the way to the raft houses, sail among spectacular rock formations and make a detour for Gulin of Khao Sok, a scenic place on the lake. Check into a simple bamboo raft-house. Paddle a canoe to explore the lake and look for wildlife. Take a bamboo raft to a newly discovered drip stone cave. This tour can also be arranged from your resort. Morning Mist Resort offers a lodging discount when you book an activity.

Day 4: Value your stay in the wilderness. Get up with the sun. Take a canoe or arrange with the boat driver to go for a safari to scan the banks. Morning is the time of day when the animals are most active and if a branch in the canopy flicks from one side to the other, it is often a group of monkeys searching for their first meal of the day. Take a swim in the lake and head back to the pier by longtail boat. Transfer to ongoing destinations can be arranged.

Tour & activity operators

  • Wild Kingdom Tours Co., Ltd. [2] (บริษัท ไวลด์ คิงดัม ทัวร์) Tel: +66 76 296 231
  • Eco Voyage Co., Ltd. [3] [4]

Several places in town have high-speed Internet for 1 or 2 baht/minute. Some have headphones and Skype.

Buy

Souvenirs are limited to the gift shop at the park entrance and a few items at convenience stores. Sundries, snack foods, soy milk, and cold drinks can be found in the shops as well.

Eat

Most guesthouses have a restaurant. Meals are usually 70-100 baht; cuisines are limited to Thai and European dishes. The standard of hygiene across all establishments is high, however if you are concerned look for places displaying the Clean Food, Good Taste sign. This appellation is bestowed by the government on restaurants that maintain a high standard of cleanliness and food preparation.

All restaurants have fresh fruit and fruit juices or shakes (fruit blended with ice). Convenience stores often sell bananas and other fresh fruit outside their establishments. Depending on the season, you will see in the trees and for sale a variety of fruit, including rambutan, longan, pomelo, mango, mangosteen, a few varieties of banana, papaya, and guava.

  • Thai Herb Restaurant. Great food, very affordable small restaurant run by a very nice family. Don't be intimidated by the large diverse menu. Everything I tried in my 3 meals there has been very good. Very clean, fresh and perfectly cooked food. Highly recommended. - Actually everything tastes like standard thai food, especially not better than the other restaurant vic-a-vis or around. But the service personal is really, really slow...


Drink

There is one main road in Khao Sok where all of the guesthouses and bars are located. They all serve similar cocktails and drinks at similar prices, so just pick the one that has the best atmosphere for you.

  • Chill Out Bar, (across the street from Smiley's Bungalows). The name says it all. Plays mostly Bob Marley and serves up some great cocktails.
  • Rasta Bar, 259 Moo 6 (opposite Bua Pood souvenir shop), +66 83 0427240. Rastafarian-style interior. Reggae music, cocktails and other beverages. Chill with the best atmosphere.

Sleep

There is one main road in Khao Sok where all of the guesthouses are located. They all offer similar style accommodation (mainly bungalows). Price ranges between 200-2,500+ baht. Most have restaurants, bars, Internet, and a travel agency. Even in peak season it shouldn't be difficult to find accommodation.

  • Art's Riverview Lodge, [5]. 350-550 baht.
  • The Cliff and River Jungle Resort, [6]. 1,800 baht.
  • Khao Sok Nature Resort, [7]. Run by Mr Tee and Mrs Ae and was the first Tree House Accommodation in Khao Sok. The property is huge and contains a restaurant, fruit garden, orchid garden, etc. It is framed by limestone cliffs and a river (opposite is Art's River View).
  • Khao Sok Paradise Resort, +66 83 3061044 (), [8]. Contact Person: Theeranuch Limbos (Hotel Manager) 1,200-1,500 baht.
  • Khao Sok Rainforest Resort, 122 Moo.6, Klong Sok (located on the left-hand side of Khao Sok Bridge. The distance from Rt. 401 at km109 to resort is approximately 2.5 km), +66 898 276 230 (), [9]. Khao Sok Rainforest Resort lies along two streams in which you can swim and enjoy the tropical nature around you. Several types of rooms: Riverside Bungalow, Mountainside Bungalow, Tree House or Family Room. Bungalows have some great views of the jungle-covered mountains alive with colour and sounds. A certified tour operator and resort registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), License No. 34/00699. But it's quite expensive, the service is bad, nobody speaks english. (500-2,500 baht).
  • Khao Sok River Lodge, info@khaosokriverlodge.com (55/779-780 Villa Daowroong Village), +66 897 252 244, +66 897 252 277, [10]. 600-1,800 baht.
  • Morning Mist Resort, [11]. Beautiful garden setting with 200 different flowering plants, excellent restaurant, Internet service, and the only swimming pool in Khao Sok. 450-1,000 baht (can accommodate families in the larger bungalows).
  • Las Orquideas Resort (Khao Sok Resort), 265 Moo 6, Klong Sok, Khao Sok (200 m from park entrance), +66 77-395-009 (), [12]. Small, with only 5 bungalows, all of which are surrounded by flowers and exotic plants, all of which have large verandas and huge windows overlooking the rugged mountain tops of the national park. Top-of-the-line mountain bikes are provided for free, there is a swimming pool, free Internet, and the breakfasts are different every day! It is difficult to leave. 1,800-3,300 baht.
  • Our Jungle House, 183, Moo 6, Klong Sok, Panom (2.6 kms from highway 401. Go over the Sok river bridge and turn right.), +66 814 170 546, [13]. checkin: Noon but flexible; checkout: Noon but flexible. Situated on 25 acres of privately owned rainforest, Our Jungle House is a place apart, quiet and peaceful. Hornbills, several species of monkey, and other fascinating wildlife are frequent visitors here. Tree houses, bungalows, and comfortable cottages look out over a clear river stream to majestic limestone cliffs, surrounded by natural jungle. Restaurant, bar, river beach, Internet, tours. 1,300-2,700 baht. (8.91,98.53)
  • Palm View, 234 Moo 6 Klong Sok (500 m from park entrance), +66 857 850 539, [14]. This quiet set of bungalows is owned by a sweet Thai family. Great food and friendly staff. Accomodations are quite nice as well. 500+ baht.
  • Pantoorat Mountain Lodge (khaosokguide@gmail.com), 201 Moo 6, Klong Sok, +66 086 268'73'99, [15]. Bungalows that offer quiet accommodation and fantastic views from Pantoorat Mountain. 300 baht.
  • Smiley's Bungalows, 35/5 Moo 6, Klong Sok, +66 898 715 744 (), [16]. Has clean and comfortable concrete bungalows and tree houses and offers a spectacular view of the mountains. Early morning one can see the mist creeping down the surrounding hillsides. There is a restaurant, bar, tour counter and Internet with Wi-Fi. Amazing friendly service and family-run. 300-600 baht.
  • Tree Tops Jungle Resort, [17]. 2,000-3,800 baht.

Stay safe

Don't go off trail without a local guide or a ranger.

Do not explore the "Namtaloo" or "Through" Cave (a cave with a river running through) if it is raining or if you think it is going to rain. Rain is frequent and can come on fast. Unfortunately people have died as a result of this. If you are with an experienced guide he will not take you if he even suspects a chance of rain.

Get out

Walk to the main highway (opposite end is the park entrance). Mini buses on the corner head left to Surat Thani. Across the street and to the right, a giant "Bus Stop" sign serves as a stopping point for buses heading to Phuket. Tickets in advance are not needed. Buses come by every hour during the day.



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