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Khao Sok National Park

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Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : Southern Thailand : Central Gulf Coast : Khao Sok National Park
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Khao Sok National Park [1] is a jungle reserve in Southern Thailand. It is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Thailand.

Understand

History

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

Landscape

The park has a total area of 738.74 square kilometers, 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 (app. one bus/hour - last one starts from Phuket around 2 pm). The transfer time is 4h from Phuket and 2h from Khao Lak (including a 20 min stop in Takuapa that you may use to visit the local market). Price: about 160 baths from Phuket. From/to Suratthani: the same bus is running approximatly every hour. Transfer time is about 2h30. Price: about 120 baths. There is also a minibus service: depature every hour from 7:30 am till 5:30 pm (but the last one can be canceled) From/to Krabi: Only one minibus per day, starting from Krabi at about 11 am; starting from Khao Sok at 8:30 am. Transfer time is 3 hours. Price: 300/350 baths. From/to Koh Lanta, Koh Jum or Koh Phiphi: There are join tickets you can by as well on those islands as in Khao Sok, including the Khao Sok/Krabi minibus. Prices: 650/700 baths for Koh Lanta or Koh Jum; 750/800 baths for Koh Phiphi. From/to Bangkok: By plane: Suratthani airport is the nearest one but you can also choose Phuket airport. By train: Suratthani train station is the nearest one. Be carefull: the southern line is very buisy, advance booking is highly recommended. By night bus: There is only one night bus per day stoping 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 of Bangkok (it is not recommend to use any other night bus sold in the agencies). 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 - or 40B for Thai locals. If you are told otherwise feel free to go directly to the park entrance and buy it there. A lot of 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 2km and the farthest one can walk into the park is about 20km.

See

Rafflesia - 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. You go down to the intersection of the highway and the road towards the park. From there you go right until mile 111 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 through 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 (9ish) 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 the ticket before you go.

Do

Tours can include tubing down the river, spelunking, kayaking and zipline riding in the canopies. 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 - this should not be a problem.

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 4 Days / 3 Nights

Day 1 - Leave for the area around Khao Sok National Park head quarters in the morning from Phuket, Krabi or Suratthani. Visit the Elephant camp and do Nature exploring by canoeing down the Sok River. In the evening, enjoy sounds from the rainforest.

Day 2 - Visit the jungle cave temple. Go hiking in the National Park by your self or by hiring a local guide. The trails inside the National Park are well marked and there are several waterfalls on the way. From January to February it's possible to find the Worlds 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 we will sail amidst spectacular rock formations and make a detour for Gulin of Khao Sok - a scenic place on the lake. Check in on simple bamboo rafthouse. Paddle a canoe to explore the lake and look for wildlife. Take a bamboo raft to a newly discovered dripstone 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 of the 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 where the animals is 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 the 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(0)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, soymilk, and cold drinks can be found in stores as well.

Eat

Most guesthouses have their own restaurant. Entrees are usually 70-100 baht a meal, but the 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 accolade is government awarded to restaurants that maintain a certain 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.

Drink

The Our Jungle House Resort has a fantastic restaurant in the middle of the Jungle.

  • Chill Out Bar. Across the street from Smiley's Bungalow's. The name says it all. Plays mostly Bob Marley and serves up some great cocktails.

There is technically 1 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.

  • Rasta. Bar, Moo6 T. Klongsok Phanom (Opposite Bua Pood souvenir shop), +66 83 0427240. Rastafarian style interior. Reggae music, cocktails and otehr beverage.


Sleep

There is technically one main road in Khao Sok where all of the guesthouses are located. They all have similar style accommodation (mainly bungalows). Price ranges between 200B-2500+B. Most have restaurants, bars, internet, and a travel agency. Even in peak season it shouldn't be difficult to find accommodation.

  • Smiley's Bungalows, 35/5 Moo 6 T. Klongsok, 08-9871-5744 (), [5]. Has clean and comfortable cement 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 WiFi. Amazing friendly service and family run. 300-600B http://www.smileybungalow.com
  • Las Orquideas Resort (Khao Sok Resort), 265 Moo 6 T. Klongsok, Khao Sok (200 meters from park entrance), (66) 77-395-009 (), [6]. The resort is 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 this paradise... 1800-3300 bahts
  • Pantoorat Mountain Lodge (khaosokguide@gmail.com), 201 Moo 6 T.Kong Sok, (0066) 086/268'73'99, [7]. Bungalows that offer quiet accommodation and fantastic views from Pantoorat Mountain. 300.


  • Morning Mist Resort, [8]. Beautiful garden setting with 200 different flowering plants, excellent restaurant, internet service, and the only swimming pool in Khao Sok. 450-1000 baht (can accommodate families in the larger bungalows)..
  • Our Jungle House Resort, [9]. Wooden treehouses, bungalows and cottages.Contact person: Eric Limbos (Hotel Manager) - ourjunglehouse1985@gmail.com . 800-2400 Bahts.
  • Khao Sok Paradise Resort (Formerly Treehouse Resort), [10]. Contact Person: Nattanit Noopaen (Hotel Manager) E Mail: khaosok.hotels@gmail.com 1200-1500 Bahts.
  • Khao Sok River Lodge, info@khaosokriverlodge.com (55/779-780 Villa Daowroong Village, East Chaofah Rd., Tambon Vichit, Muang, Phuket, Thailand 83000), +66 (0) 89 725 2244, +6 (0) 89 725 2277, [11]. 600-1800 Bahts.
  • The Cliff and River Jungle Resort, [12]. 1800 Bahts.
  • Art's Riverview Lodge, [13]. 350-550 bahts.
  • Tree Tops Jungle Resort, [14]. 2000-3800 bahts.


Camping

Backcountry

Stay safe

Don't go out of the trail if you are not with a local guide or a ranger. Do not explore the "Namtaloo" or "Through" Cave (a cave with a river runing through) if it is raining or if you think it is going to rain. It is a rainforest so 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 entrance of the 2km road (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, most buses come by every hour during the day.



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Rasta. Bar, 259 Moo6 T. Klongsok Phanom Surat thani (Opposite Bua Pood souvenir shop), +66 83 0427240, [15]. Rastafarian style interior. Reggae music, cocktails and other beverage and chill with the best atmosphere.

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