6 Tips for Visiting Khao Sok National Park in Thailand

Welcome to Khao Sok National Park! It’s a fantastic destination that should definitely be on your itinerary when traveling through Thailand. Khao Sok National Park is an incredibly vast natural area with untouched jungle, impressive rock formations, and the green Cheow Lan reservoir. Hop in a kayak or a motorboat and explore the waters of Khao Sok National Park. Don’t forget to bring sturdy shoes to trek into the jungle of Thailand. A visit to Khao Sok National Park is an unforgettable experience, and here I’ll share all the tips to make the most out of your visit!

What makes Khao Sok National Park unique?

Khao Sok National Park is one of the largest and oldest rainforests in the world. The park is a staggering 160 million years old, making it the perfect place to admire Thailand’s jungle. In addition to the jungle, you’ll find beautiful green valleys, iconic limestone rock formations, and impresive green lakes. What also sets Khao Sok National Park apart is its diversity of flora and fauna. There are about 200 plant species and over 300 bird species. Moreover, leopards, tigers, snakes, elephants, bears, and monkeys inhabit the park. You’re less likely to encounter the larger animals, but the smaller ones often make appearances.

How to visit Khao Sok National Park?

Khao Sok National Park consists of two parts. One part is the village of Khao Sok, which serves as the base for visiting Khao Sok National Park. This village is located at the park’s entrance and is where you’ll arrive by bus. You’ll find many restaurants and accommodations here. The second part is the impressive Cheow Lan Lake. You’ve probably seen pictures of this lake because it’s the main attraction of Khao Sok National Park. The village of Khao Sok and Cheow Lan Lake are about 70 km apart, so I’ll explain them as two separate parts. You can’t visit Cheow Lan Lake independently but can only reach it by booking a day tour or a multi-day tour from the village of Khao Sok.

How to get to Khao Sok National Park?

When traveling to Khao Sok National Park, you’ll always arrive in the village of Khao Sok. Below you’ll find information on how to get to Khao Sok from Surat Thani and Koh Phangan.

From Surat Thani to Khao Sok

There are multiple minivans traveling from Surat Thani to Khao Sok every day, and the journey takes approximately 2.5 hours. Check out the current bus schedules and reserve your bus ticket in advance. You can also travel directly from Surat Thani Airport to Khao Sok. Minivans depart from the airport in the morning and afternoon, taking you directly to Khao Sok. You can purchase these bus tickets at the airport. If you arrive late in the afternoon or evening, there’s a high chance that no more minivans will be departing from the airport. In that case, you’ll need to take a taxi to Khao Sok or stay overnight in Surat Thani and take the bus to Khao Sok the next day.

From Koh Phangan to Khao Sok

If you want to travel from Koh Phangan to Khao Sok, you’ll first need to take the ferry to the mainland and then continue your journey by bus. It’s wise to book a boat + bus combination so that you always catch the connection when transferring. The entire journey takes about 7 hours.

From Krabi/Ao Nang to Khao Sok

From Ao Nang in Krabi, minivans depart daily to Khao Sok. You’ll be picked up at your hotel in Ao Nang, and the total journey to Khao Sok takes about 4 to 5 hours. Check out the current departure times and reserve your spot on the bus in advance.

Unique Accommodation at Our Jungle Camp

In the village of Khao Sok, you’ll find many accommodations, but my absolute favorite is Our Jungle Camp. This eco-lodge is located in an amazing setting. It’s situated by the river and surrounded by jungle. You can stay in a bungalow, a treehouse, or a bamboo hut. Each accommodation is unique. When you stay at Our Jungle Camp, you’re also supporting the educational activities facilitated by the eco-resort for local schools. They contribute to raising environmental awareness among children and their families. It’s a wonderful initiative!

Our Jungle Camp offers various tours that allow you to experience Khao Sok National Park in different ways. You can go on an evening safari, go rafting or tubing. Additionally, Our Jungle Camp also offers tours to the Cheow Lan Lake, where you can choose between a day trip or an overnight tour. All activities and tours in Khao Sok National Park can be booked on-site in the village, and you don’t need to book in advance. I would recommend staying at Our Jungle Camp for two nights and then spending one night in a floating bungalow with the two-day tour, which I’ll explain more about below.

Important: Our Jungle Camp is a popular accommodation and tends to book up well in advance, especially during the high season. Booking early is a must. Upon check-in, you can inquire about the available tours and book one or more of them. If Our Jungle Camp is fully booked, the treehouses at Jungle House are also very cool, or if you have a smaller budget, the bungalows at Khao Sok Riverside Cottages. You can also arrange tours on-site at these hotels.

Overnight Stay in a Lake Bungalow

During the day, the Cheow Lan Lake can get crowded, but as the day progresses, it becomes quieter. This is because many people visit the lake on day tours. It is fantastic to spend one or more nights here. You’ll stay in a basic hut floating on the water. From the hut, you’ll have a phenomenal view of the lake. You can peacefully enjoy the sunset while the sounds of animals in the jungle grow louder. This is an unforgettable experience. This overnight stay is always part of a multi-day tour, and I’ll explain more about it below.

A two-day tour to Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok is a fantastic way to truly experience Khao Sok. During this tour, you’ll stay overnight in a floating bungalow on the lake and explore the highlights of Khao Sok National Park during the day.

On the day of departure, you’ll be picked up between 08:00 and 08:30 in a minivan and taken to Cheow Lan Lake, which takes about an hour. There, you’ll board a longtail boat and cruise across the beautiful lake to your accommodation. You’ll navigate through towering limestone formations and enjoy breathtaking views. Upon arrival at your lake bungalow, you can relax before a delicious lunch is served. Drinks are not included, but all meals are provided. You can specify if you prefer a vegetarian meal or one with meat and/or fish.

The afternoon and evening are filled with adventurous activities. You’ll take a beautiful jungle walk to a viewpoint and explore a lovely cave on a bamboo raft. As the sunset approaches, you’ll return across the lake and embark on an evening safari. Silently gliding along the shores of the reservoir, you’ll catch glimpses of the nocturnal wildlife coming to life. If you haven’t spotted many animals, don’t worry because there’s a morning safari at 6:30 am the next day. I personally spotted a group of elephants during the morning safari, which was truly remarkable. After the morning safari, you’ll enjoy breakfast and have some time for swimming or canoeing. Then, you’ll return to the village of Khao Sok.

You can book this tour at Our Jungle Camp, and advance reservations are not required. This applies to all tours in Khao Sok National Park. You can book the tour when you check-in at your hotel, and if you wish, you can depart the following day.

Practical Tips for Khao Sok National Park

Here are some additional tips and practical things to know when visiting Khao Sok National Park.

  • Rain Gear – Whether it’s rainy season or not, bring a poncho or rain gear as unexpected showers can occur.
  • Sturdy Shoes – Good shoes like sturdy sneakers or hiking boots make a real difference when hiking through the jungle.
  • Leeches – Wearing long socks and/or pants will protect you from annoying leeches. If you have a leech on your leg, you can easily remove it with some tobacco.
  • Drybag – A drybag can come in handy to keep your valuable belongings dry, especially when kayaking. It’s always useful to have one in a country like Thailand.
  • Mosquito Repellent – Don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent as mosquitoes are highly active in Khao Sok National Park.
  • Luggage – If you have booked a multi-day tour to the lake, you can safely leave your other belongings at your hotel in Khao Sok.

Our favorite places to stay in in Khao Sok

As mentioned earlier in this article, Our Jungle Camp is one of the best choices for accommodation in Khao Sok. However, you should book in advance as it is often fully booked well ahead of time. If it’s already fully booked or if Our Jungle Camp exceeds your budget, then Khao Sok Riverside Cottages is perfect. You’ll stay in an idyllic wooden bungalow surrounded by jungle and located by the river. This hotel is a bit further away from the village. If you’re looking for a unique overnight stay and have some budget to spare, you can stay in a treehouse at Jungle House! Here, you’ll wake up to the sounds of the jungle and have a truly unique experience in Khao Sok.