Everything you need to know about the train from Bangkok to Khao Sok

The pilgrimage from Bangkok to Kao Sok is everything you want and more for a solo journey into some of Thailand’s most magical jungle landscapes. If you have the time, book yourself a sleeper car on an overnight train. Put together a new playlist full of your road trip favorites. When you book your Bangkok to Khao Sok ticket, check to see if there are any bottom bunks available. This is the seat that converts into a bed next to the window. I didn’t know there was any difference and ended up staying on an upper bed which was still fun. And you can always wander around the cars for a good view. The sleepers run a bit chilly so bring something warm, and have some extra baht on hand. When the sun begins to greet the sky vendors hop on board with Thai coffee and condensed milk, crullers, baos, and little breakfast dishes that will satiate your appetite and provide you with a sweet breakfast moment.

Bangkok to Khao Sok – Arriving at Surat Thani

Once you arrive at the Surat Thani train station, you are going to be led by someone to a bus stop which will cost about two hundred baht and bring you to the Kao Sok bus station where you can catch a ride to the riverside. At first, I thought…”this seems like a pray that everything works out kind of plan” but don’t worry, it really does. There are also friendly people all along the way to help you get to your destination despite the language barrier.

Khao Sok Riverside Cottages

Easing into the jungle

Once I arrived in Kao Sok, the residual angst began to slowly dissolve from the soot of the city’s shadows. I started to feel completely enthralled in the shades of green. On this particular trip I was awarded the opportunity to volunteer as a photographer and videographer of the grounds and tag along on some experiences of the Riverside Cottages. Upon arrival, you are greeted with a refreshing glass of iced lemongrass tea and a sense of place. The accommodations are your dream nature getaway. Beautiful dark teak cottages draped with bright greens and big beautiful windows. There is an absolute guarantee you will be in awe by the abundance of life all around and the fun river to cleanse your spirit and return to the child within.

What to bring?

With great jungle landscapes come great packing responsibilities. Do yourself a favor and buy or bring a headlamp. There are so many nocturnal bugs, birds, and animals that come alive at night. Although I don’t recommend that you wander far on your own at night, I still enjoyed perusing the walkways to check out spiders weaving their webs or frogs gallivanting from leaf to leaf. I would pack extra socks, rain gear, and long sleeves/pants! The best way to protect yourself from any unwanted bug intimacies is by adding layers. What really worked for me in a pinch, was the laundry service done by the hotel. This efficient and affordable service helps you bounce back from any deep river crossings or epic adventuring. I also suggest bringing something that can allow you to shift perspective or optics. I personally brought a microscope but both binoculars or a magnifying glass can give you a fun opportunity to catch things that may pass the ordinary eye.

Bangkok to Khao Sok river tubing

Bangkok to Khao Sok – Magic adventures and life lessons

When you make the journey from Bangkok to Khao Sok you will be rewarded by so many opportunities. Everyday there is something different you can do with your time. And I mean it when I say you cannot go wrong. There is a full day tour around Cheow Lan Lake. It includes a long and beautiful boat ride to see the breathtaking limestone cliffs. Enjoy lunch at the lakeside cottages with ample opportunity for dock jumping or kayaking. Experience a jungle expedition full of mushrooms and fascinating plant species. This day trip is the perfect balance between hiking, swimming and sitting back to take it all in.

There is also a very sweet Khao Sok  elephant rescue, one that you can feel positive supporting. After your journey refresh yourself with a lazy river afternoon full of rope swings, laughter and coffee prepared for you in hollowed bamboo trunks. I was also able to join in on a jungle cooking class. It provided me with an epic feast using local ingredients. Learn some foundational Thai cooking techniques including how to make coconut milk and curry paste. This is, in my opinion, an epic way to return and share your adventures with your loved ones. The family that runs this class is completely full to the brim with life. This class feels as if you were dropped in a home to learn about everyday life, as opposed to something curated for tourists. My personal favorite was the garden to table banana flower fritters and sticky rice cooked in bamboo trunks.

Bangkok to Khao Sok - Jungle cooking class

Bangkok to Khao Sok – Conclusion

When you journey from Bangkok to Khao Sok a great contrast awaits your arrival from the hustle and bustle of the city. Lose your fears and inhibitions and head into the jungle. I guarantee many preconceived feelings about the jungle will be completely debunked after this trip. I find the jungle to be a very embracing place, wild yes, but with an innocent curiosity not so different from one’s own.

Lessons from a giant wasp

I learned this one night playing when a a giant jungle wasp landed on my guide’s face.  He effortlessly allowed it to crawl up and down his face until it flew away. I was panicking on the inside, stone on the out, and so impressed by his ability to shapeshift into just another piece of the whole organism that is the landscape. He said something along the lines of they are not out to get you, you just have to let go and be one with it all. This moment summed the entirety of my thoughts about jungle immersion.

Take the trip from Bangkok to Khao Sok and remember to relearn to let go. Take a breath and travel just far enough outside your comfort zone to remember what this life is worth living for.