Khao Sok Blog

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Khao Sok Blog2019-09-24T08:09:07+00:00

KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK BLOG

Welcome to our Khao Sok blog, a useful insight into all things Khao Sok. Here, you will find over 30 blogs to help maximize your experience from the village to Khao Sok National Park to the best activities. Please check the full list of Khao Sok blogs below, or search by category or keyword. We also regularly highlight other aspects of travel tourism and adventures in Thailand.

Where to stay in Khao Sok? The best Khao Sok National Park Hotels

Where to stay in Khao Sok? The best Khao Sok National Park Hotels Although we are blissfully far away from shopping malls and mega-resorts, travelers will find no shortage of accommodation here! Tucked amongst the mountains, visitors will find Khao Sok national park hotels with options for all budgets and travel styles. To help sort the wheat from the chaff, we have provided an overview of where to stay in Khao Sok! Here, you can find our recommendations of the best hostel, Khao Sok river lodge, and treehouses. We hope that you find it useful! Where to stay in Khao Sok: Khao Sok River Lodges The Sok River meanders lazily through the village and surrounding forest, and is a defining feature of the landscape. Wondering where to stay in Khao Sok that will allow amazing nature-watching and relaxing opportunities? A Khao Sok river lodge provides [...]

Thai elephant – a guide to the best Kao Sok elephant sanctuary

For many guests visiting the Thailand jungle, visiting a Kao Sok elephant sanctuary is of great interest. This area has many options for a Khao Sok elephant experience. But are they truly ethical?  Not all camps are equal. Thai elephant experts encourage camps that use only local Kao Sok elephants, experienced mahouts, and a low-intensity schedule for the animals. The camps described below are essentially elephant retirement sanctuaries, providing a no-ride program that is fun for guests and the elephant alike. What to consider before a Khao Sok Elephant experience We recommend that the mindful traveler avoid camps that offer elephant riding. While carrying travellers on their back may seem easy, it is still hard work. Even though they are massive, and their strength seems endless, Thai elephants need plenty of time to eat and rest. In fact, a wild Thai elephant spends about [...]

Bikes and boats – A Khao Sok Safari

Emmanuel Caristi shares insight from his recent Khao Sok safari with Riverside Cottages. We arrived to find wooden bungalows surrounded by tropical jungle, a place to find peace and reconnect with the nature. The accommodation was truly beautiful!  Rooms are made with natural materials and beds are comfortable. Best of all, the view from the windows makes you feel like you are in the heart of the rainforest! Khao Sok safari on two wheels - A bike adventure Our Khao Sok safari began with a bike trip. The resort’s in-house guide showed us through Khao Sok village with patience and care. The first place we visited was the local school. Within minutes we were surrounded by smiling, excited children! They immediately started to pose for photos, happy to interact with foreigners. Our next short stop was at a family-run organic farm. [...]

How to find Khaosok – Koh Sok – Koh Sok national park

A guide to the mis-spellings of Khaosok, and how to find good info online! Almost everyone planning a trip to this area will research their trip on the internet. People often wonder how to spell the name of this area. Most commonly used is Khao Sok, followed by Koh Sok, and finally Khaosok. This can cause confusion for first time visitors, who frequently wonder how to actually spell Khao Sok? If you have ever visited Thailand, or encountered written Thai, you know that it does not use the Roman alphabet.  Thai has its own unique alphabet representing vowel and consonant sounds, many of which do not exist in western languages.  As a result, expressing the Thai language in the Roman alphabet relies on a process called ‘transliteration.’  This is essentially using the Roman alphabet to approximate the sounds of Thai.  For this reason, Thai place names can have multiple [...]

Gateway to the undiscovered: Khlong Phanom National Park

Nestled up against Khao Sok is a primordial landscape unknown to most western travellers: Khlong Phanom National Park. It is overshadowed at every turn by its larger neighbor and nearby Khao Sok Lake. However, Khlong Phanom National Park is rich in natural wonders and opportunities for a Thailand forest tour! In this blog we’ll look at what the intrepid traveler can find in this unexplored section of Thailand jungle! Sometimes spelt Klong Phanom or Klongphanom, the park is just a couple of  kilometres down highway 401 from Khao Sok. Khlong Panom National Park covers just over 400 square kilometers. Most visitors to Khao Sok have seen the park without knowing it. The soaring vertical cliffs of Khlong Phanom can be seen from the road off to the west, and make up some of the most dramatic scenery on the way to Khao Sok Lake. Thailand [...]

Top 6 activities in Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok NP is part of Thailand’s largest protected area. Within the unspoiled jungle, locals are leading a revolution in the quality of nature tourism. All Khao Sok national park activities are led by local community leaders and well trained guides with strong English language skills. There are just so many things to do in Khao Sok from a relaxing jungle cooking experience to a 10 day deep jungle survival tour! We have picked the Top 6 Activities in Khao Sok to suite everyone’s travel style! [fusion_progress height="20px" text_position="on_bar" show_percentage="yes" percentage="70" filledbordersize="0" unfilledcolor="#cccccc" striped="no" animated_stripes="no" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility"]Adventure[/fusion_progress][fusion_progress height="20px" text_position="on_bar" show_percentage="yes" percentage="100" unfilledcolor="#cccccc" striped="no" animated_stripes="no" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility"]Culture[/fusion_progress][fusion_progress height="20px" text_position="on_bar" show_percentage="yes" percentage="20" filledbordersize="0" unfilledcolor="#cccccc" striped="no" animated_stripes="no" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility"]Fitness[/fusion_progress] 1 - Jungle Cooking In Khao Sok we love to make and eat great food! Visit a local Thai family to experience local culture and authentic dishes in a one [...]

Surat Thani Airport to Khao Sok

The Surat Thani airport is my favorite in Thailand.  This is due to its small size, laid-back feeling, and high ratio of coffee shops to customers.  However, getting from Surat Thani airport to Khao Sok can be challenging. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss getting from the Surat Thani airport to Khao Sok via public transportation.  Afterwards, check out our map and directions page for more travel information. Surat Thani airport to Khao Sok: the journey begins After you exit the baggage claim area in Surat Thani airport, head to the transportation booths lined up against the far wall.  Find the booth selling shared van tickets to Khao Sok.  The cost is 300B/person to the Khao Sok bus station, or 350B/person to the resort.  Guests will need to contact the counter staff prior to 16:30, sometimes earlier. If you come during low season, there is a good chance that [...]

Khao Sok Elephant Retirement Sanctuary

What is the Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary & Retirement Park? The domestic Thai elephant typically has 2 choices – carry tourists on their back or pull logs out of the forest. As they age, these jobs become difficult and dangerous to their health.  This is true of the Khao Sok elephant.  In order to offer a better life we have created the Khao Sok elephant sanctuary or retirement park. Here we provide a safe space for the older Khao Sok elephant to enjoy life instead of working in exploitative situations. In addition to organic vegetables and fruit, our farm has plenty of space to provide them with a healthy, balanced elephant diet. Discover more about this Khao Sok elephant experience. The Khao Sok elephant sanctuary and this unique Khao Sok elephant experience are part of an ongoing community based eco tourism program organized and promoted [...]

Rainforest Revival: from Fading Villages to a Vibrant Future in Khao Sok with Community-Led Tourism

Visiting with jungle guides, fruit farmers, and elephants, Alexander Vysniauskas shares how 3 simple concepts are empowering the emergence of Responsible, Community-led Tourism in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand The fight for the preservation of Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park begins in the late 1970s, with an armed uprising deep in the jungle strongholds of present day Cheow Lan lake. Before the National Park was established, student activists, labeled as communists, were able to keep the encroaching logging and mining companies at bay. The fight against exploitation continues to this day, now against the scourges of modern agriculture and mass tourism. Khao Sok National Park in Thailand is one of the world’s oldest and most diverse tropical forests. The vast, untouched tropical paradise is rich with wildlife and more than 1500 plant species, including one of the world’s largest flowers -  Rafflesia kerii. Wild elephants, tigers, [...]

Khao Sok jungle hike: journey to the giant bamboo

In terms of an epic Khao Sok jungle hike, our recent trek to the ‘Chiang Ruun’ bamboo ranks among the best! The hike featured dense jungle with unique karst geography and flora, along with some truly bizarre insect sightings. Additionally, we saw the ‘Chiang Ruun’ bamboo, growing on a mountain ridge high atop a limestone karst mountain. ‘Chiang Ruun’ (ไผ่เฉียงรุน) is a member of the Dendrocalamus family. It is the largest species of bamboo in Thailand, and grows in only a few places throughout the south. One of the sites for this natural wonder is Klong Phanom National Park, just up the road from Khao Sok. Compared to Khao Sok, Khlong Phanom is tiny, with 90% of the park’s area occupied by steep limestone karts. Due to this fact, the park is virtually unknown and almost never visited. As a result, Khlong Phanom has maintained much of its natural [...]

Top Tips for your Cheow Larn Lake Trip

What you need to know before visiting Khao Sok Lake Despite the fairy-tale scenery, Cheow Larn Lake remains a very remote destination of rapidly-increasing popularity.  For this reason, please take time to understand what you are getting into. Armed with the right information about what to expect, you can have a fun, safe lake trip. You should learn about the Cheow Lan Lake floating houses before deciding to stay in them. Here's what you need to know: The good, the bad, and the jungle 4 things to consider… Checklist – what to bring to the lake History of Cheow Larn Lake The Good, the Bad, and the Jungle THE GOOD - Cheow Larn Lake is one of the most stunning locations in the world - tower limestone cliffs rising from the turquoise water surrounded by jungle. The combination of scenery, swimming conditions, and wilderness, means Khao Sok [...]

Taking the train from Bangkok to Khao Sok

One great aspect of traveling through Thailand is easy access to affordable transportation.  For example, bus routes criss-cross the country, passing through, or at least by most villages.   Additionally, airports have sprung up like mushrooms on a log.  As a result, it is possible to get from one distant point to another in the same day.  Finally, there is the rail system snaking through the countryside.  It is the rail system that we’ll focus on here.  Specifically, taking the train from Bangkok to Khao Sok. Unfortunately, there is no direct train from Bangkok to Khao Sok.  However, the rail system does come close.  The nearest train station lies in PhunPhin town, adjacent to Surat Thani, and 100 kilometers from Khao Sok.  Our journey beings about 650 kilometers to the north, at Hua Lampong, Bangkok’s central train station. Finding Hua Lampong Traveling by train from [...]

Khao Sok Night Safari – Full Moon Party (of fear)

The air was alive with sound.  It hung around us, thick and warm, in the velvety air.  Chirping, humming, whirring, croaking and clicking in every pitch imaginable sounded from the darkened jungle close by.  We had stopped mid-step at a word from our guide.  Now we followed the beam of his headlamp, which illuminated two glowing eyes in the trees above.  We were twenty minutes into our Khao Sok night safari trekking adventure, and so far it had been an eye-opening experience! Khao Sok night safari: am I going to die? We had been hesitant to book the Khao Sok night safari.  The jungle, at night?!?  Why would we do that?  The desk staff at Khao Sok Riverside Cottages was helpful in making us feel better, however. “What about all the deadly snakes?,” we asked.   “What deadly snakes?”  Was the reply.  “No [...]

Khao Sok wildlife: A guide to the critters of the Riverside Cottages

Visitors to Khao Sok National Park will soon discover that life is everywhere in the rainforest!  Here at Khao Sok Riverside Cottages, this is especially true.  Due to our environmentally-friendly approach, the surrounding area remains rich in life and diversity.  As a result, guests at the Riverside Cottages will find many types of Khao Sok wildlife just outside their door!  Below is some information on some of the most commonly seen critters. For many first-time visitors, the rainforest can be a strange and intimidating place.  New sights and sounds greet our guests, and it can be difficult to sort these into ‘dangerous,’ versus ‘harmless’ categories.  This uncertainty can create insecurity and discomfort, which can have a negative impact on a guest’s stay with us.  Having moved into the rainforest, we understand this feeling, and believe that honest education is the best solution.  Our guests will [...]

A Khao Sok Jungle Adventure: Journey to Meuang Chon

With the dry season on the way, travelers should begin thinking about their next Khao Sok jungle adventure!  We take adventures seriously at Khao Sok Riverside Cottages, and are always looking for new experiences to share with guests.  Therefore, we would like to tell you the story of our favorite Khao Sok jungle adventure to date.  That is, the trek to the old Chon Mining Area.  In brief, the adventure involves deep jungle camping, an abandoned tin mine in the mountains, towering waterfalls, and pristine nature.  We hope you’ll enjoy our story and consider making such an adventure the highlight of your next Khao Sok trip! The outset of our Khao Sok jungle adventure We met up at the Khao Sok Lake office in Takun, twelve kilometers outside of Cheow Larn Lake. There were eight of us in the group. Bodhi, Nick and I made [...]

Sweat it out: A Khao Sok National Park Weather guide!

Thailand is closely bound with nature, and nowhere is this relationship closer than in the rainforests of the south.  In the Khao Sok jungle village, life revolves around the monsoon, which effect many parts of daily life.  Therefore, before you book your ticket, it is recommended to do a bit of research.  Understanding Khao Sok weather can be challenging, but we’re here to help! Officially, we can divide Khao Sok weather into three seasons: The Hot Season, from March to May The Monsoon Season, from June to October The Dry Season, from November to February However, as life here is so closely related to the monsoon, we’ve broken the year into only two, distinct seasons.  Below, you will find information on the Monsoon season, and the non-Monsoon season! Khao Sok national park weather - The monsoon Monsoon season [...]

Leaving Khao Sok to Koh Samui and beyond

Due to its remote location, departing Khao Sok can seem challenging.  To make it easy, we have therefore prepared this post to help our guests organise their onward trip.  We can also arrange private cars to deliver guests to nearly any location in southern Thailand. Below, we also provide information about public transportation from Khao Sok to Koh Samui, Khao Sok to Koh Phangan, Khao Sok to Surathani, Khao Sok to Phuket, and Khao Sok to Krabi. Please read the details below and then make a booking with reception team when you are at the resort. The final section deals with leaving directly from the lake instead of from our resort. Please note that all prices and times are subject to change, and should therefore be verified with reception on arrival. In addition, the prices we charge for public transportation tickets are the same as all other hotels and [...]

Jungle Cooking in Khao Sok

Nearly everyone that visits Thailand loves Thai food, and it is easy to understand why. Thailand’s abundance of herbs and spices make seasoning food easy. Additionally, Thais have mastered the art of blending these spices into masterworks of taste and texture. Spicy, sweet, sour, salty: every bite of a well-prepared Thai dish has a little of each. It is no surprise that Thai cooking courses are so popular among Westerners traveling here. Who doesn’t want to learn a little of this culinary magic to take home? Here at Khao Sok Riverside Cottages, we have our own twist on the standard Thai cooking course. Here, deep in one of the oldest forests on the planet, our guests learn Khao Sok jungle cooking! Preparing for Khao Sok jungle cooking Coming to Thailand, it is easy to forget that not many years ago, most [...]

Out and back – a Khao Sok Nature Trail

There are many benefits to staying at a Khao Sok resort that is located in an isolated, natural setting.  It is peaceful and quiet, for example, and guests can enjoy the full jungle experience.  However, a location well away from the town center can be a difficult place to stay entertained, especially for children.  Recognizing this, we have developed a variety of free diversions, such as a game library, river tubes, and free WIFI.  Our favorite diversion, though, is our Khao Sok nature trail, which we will look at here. A glimpse into the past: our Khao Sok nature trail begins Suitable for all ages and abilities, our Khao Sok nature trail begins after a 1-minute walk up the road.  Guests will begin by crossing through a neighboring oil palm plantation.  The oil palm has an interesting history in Southeast Asia, and it is [...]

Khao Sok jungle camping: Journey to the Chon Mining area, part 2

Our Khao Sok jungle camping trip continues... The trail away from the Dton Sai took us through dense forest as our Khao Sok jungle camping trip moved forward.  As we ascended the mountain, we couldn’t help but notice subtle changes taking place around us.  The types of trees were changing.  The colonies of moss, orchids and lichens were becoming thicker and more diverse.  The smells were different too, with sweeter forest perfumes drifting between the trees. In addition to the flora, the sounds of the forest were changing.  From insect chirping to bird song, there was a noticeable difference. The best sounds, however, belonged to the groups of hornbills that would fly overhead.  We couldn’t see them, but we could hear them from a long way off.  The Great Hornbills were the loudest, with massive wings beating the air like a helicopter rotor.  Rhinoceros [...]

Hikers Paradise: Top 3 Hikes in Khao Sok Jungle

We have picked the Top 3 Hikes in Khao Sok, leading through the depths of the jungle, to reach waterfalls, swimming holes and caves! Spot unique animals and rare plants like the giant flower Rafflesia, listen to the never ceasing call of the jungle! 1 - Khao Sok Trekking with Deep Jungle Camping Two-day deep jungle exploration, an adventure to remember! You will get to know about various plants and diverse animal kingdom of Thai jungle! Enjoy jungle-style Thai dishes, such as delicious sticky mango rice or fried rice wrapped in a banana leaf. After a day long hike through deep jungle paths, spend a peaceful night sleeping in a hammock, under the stars! Expert guide will teach tropical forest survival skills- building a shelter, cooking with bamboo and the use of various plants! Looking for something a bit more intense?  Ask [...]

Finding a perfect Khao Sok bungalow

What makes a perfect Khao Sok bungalow?  This is an important question to consider when visiting this amazing place.  Your accommodation has the potential to make or break a trip to this jungle paradise.  Here, a good night’s sleep and a full stomach are important to enjoying the activities that Khao Sok has to offer.  At the Riverside Cottages, we have come up with four criteria for guests to evaluate a Khao Sok bungalow: Cleanliness Location Service Food Cleanliness The cleanliness and safety of a Khao Sok bungalow should be a major consideration of anyone traveling to this remote jungle location.  The nearest hospital is 30 minutes away, and the nearest international hospital is almost 3 hours away in Phuket.  Therefore, keeping healthy and safe is a must.  Keeping a rainforest bungalow clean and safe [...]

Khao Sok River Tubing

Khao Sok river tubing from the Riverside Cottages is a classic Khao Sok adventure!  Sitting on a large rubber tube, guests are borne downstream by cool, clear water.  During the activity, you will pass beneath soaring limestone cliffs covered in unique and bizarre flora.  Massive exotic hardwoods housing orchids, fragrant vines will stretch across the river, forming a leafy ceiling overhead.  Birds and butterflies flit across the water’s surface, and tubers might spot playing monkeys or sleeping snakes in the trees. Khao Sok river tubing is best during monsoon season, from June until November.  As a result of heavy rain, the river is high and the current is strong, and guests may encounter fallen trees or sunken bamboo.  Therefore, a guide will accompany your group to ensure safety at all times. Our Khao Sok river tubing activity begins and ends here at the Riverside [...]

Thai Dry Season: an April Portrait

The Thai dry season can be difficult to endure, but traveling to Khao Sok in April has virtues.  It is the hottest and driest month of the year, with a tropical sun blazing out of a pale blue, cloudless sky.  This means it is an excellent time of year for Khao Sok trekking, or visiting Cheow Larn Lake.  If only you can find a comfortable place to rest...The villageIn the village of Khao Sok, the asphalt and cement structures that have replaced the forest soak up the sun’s rays.  This ensures blistering heat from sky and ground during the day, and stored heat escaping into the night.  Nonexistent breezes do little to usher the heat away.  Visitors trying to enjoy a meal or cold beer must contend with frenzied construction work as the town makes repairs. Thai dry season on the RiversideAt Khao Sok Riverside Cottages, [...]

Khao Sok Park Cave Hike

We all hopped in the truck to head off to Khao Sok Park.  There, we would be hiking through dense Rainforest on the way to a little-known cave.  The staff at Khao Sok Riverside Cottages had arranged the trip.  Although most resorts here can arrange hikes, Riverside Cottages is one of the few that sends people to this part of the Rainforest.  Even though we had some great fried rice wrapped in banana leaves, we stopped grab some water and snacks.  It’s always good to have extra snacks! The trek begins in Khao Sok Park We arrived at the Khao Sok Park entrance, where we paid our entrance fee and got ready to go. Our hike started out heading downhill, which was a breeze in contrast with the uphill trek ahead. We stopped many times as our guide Pu explained all the wonderful intricacies of nature [...]