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 one has ever been attacked by a snake on the Khao Sok night safari. Plus, you will have a guide with excellent eyes, so there is not chance that you will step on one.”
“What about the darkness?”
“You will have headlamps. And besides, the trail is easy. You will be in no danger of falling or getting lost.”
Admittedly, it did get a bit ridiculous at the the end there….
Now, we were in the jungle, surrounded by shadows and the dark outlines of towering trees. Strange sounds came from every direction, and the glowing eyes of spiders, frogs, and larger creatures shone out of the darkness. Our worst fears realized? No way – we were having a blast!
In the jungle
We had a friendly guide, JaJa, who spoke good English. We had headlamps. Finally, we were well prepared for the mosquitoes with long pants, long sleeves, and plenty of spray. Fifteen minutes into the walk, and we had forgotten all of our doubts! We had seen a scorpion and some bats already. This Khao Sok night safari was quickly turning into a great adventure!
The mysterious eyes in JaJa’s headlamp beam were reflecting a brilliant green, but the rest was blocked from view by branches. At a word from JaJa, we turned off our lights, falling into silence, our attention focused like lasers on those eyes. Then, they began to move – whatever it was, it was climbing! Soon the branches cleared, and the mystery critter came into view. It was the size of a small dog, and looked a lot like a teddy bear as it moved along the branch. What is it? It was a slow loris – the world’s cutest primate!
We watched as it climbed, slowly, through the canopy overhead until it disappeared in the branches. It was only then that we realized we were all standing there in nearly total darkness! No one was watching out for bears or pythons or tigers…but we were all OK. This brought smiles to our faces.
Off the beaten path
As the Khao Sok night safari continued, we grew more and more comfortable. Soon, we left the main trail and took a small foot path off to the left. Now, the forest was close enough to touch on either side. Branches stuck out every now and then, but no tigers attacked from the darkness. Earsplitting chirps and clicks sounded close by, and JaJa pointed out the cicadas, leaf insects, and giant crickets that were making them.
Finally, on this narrow path, we saw the first deadly snake of our Khao Sok night safari! It was in a tree a few feet off the ground, moving along a branch. JaJa spotted it right away, but it took another couple minutes before we were all looking at it. He said it was a temple viper. If it bites you, you will be in big trouble! We watched, waiting for it it jump off the tree and attack us, but nothing happened. JaJa even walked directly by it, and it just sat there!
All very impressed with JaJa’s nerve, we continued, looking back to make sure that the viper wasn’t following us. JaJa wasn’t looking back, however. Rather, he was looking down at the ground.
“What are you looking for, JaJa?”
“A spider hole.”
“Oh, a big spider?”
“Yes. Very big.”
Soon, he had found it. To us, it was just a patch of ground like any other. We traded looks, then checked around to make sure the snake wasn’t creeping up behind us. When we turned back around, JaJa had a stick, and was prodding this piece of ground. We watched, as JaJa carefully poked a specific spot. Suddenly, four hairy, jet black legs shot out of the ground and grabbed at the stick! By the time the gasps and screams had faded into the surrounding darkness, the legs were gone.
The victorious return
It was a tarantula, JaJa explained, as we wrung our hands, wondering what other creatures were concealed mere inches from our feet. There was nothing to worry about, however. Apparently, the spider was very picky about coming out of its burrow, and JaJa was the only one who could make it reappear.
At this point in our Khao Sok night safari, we were all feeling pretty brave. We had survived seeing the snake and tarantula, and had managed to get this far without any tiger attacks. Soon, we returned to the main path, and at JaJa’s recommendation, we turned off all of our lights. Now only JaJa had his light on, and we were amazed at the difference it made. Jungle life was all around us, and JaJa seemed to be finding all of it in his flashlight.
As we made our way back to the entrance, JaJa found more tarantulas, frogs, sleeping monkeys and even an owl! All were illuminated in his headlamp, and because his was the only one, we spotted everything at once!
We left the forest with our headlamps off and looking up into the trees, rather than at our feet. We had seen a deadly viper and the bizzare slow loris, along with a host of other crazy jungle life. Best of all, we had entered the world’s oldest rainforest, at night(!!), and survived to tell the tale! It had been a Khao Sok night safari that we would not soon forget!
You can find the full activities list and suggested itineraries onRiverside Cottages website. Once you’re in Khao Sok our staff will make sure you get the most from your time here!
Interested in a daylight hike instead? Be sure to read our Top 3 Khao Sok hikes.
Wondering what else to do in Khao Sok? Read up on our Top 6 Khao Sok activities!
Find your perfect Khao Sok accommodation and dare to explore the depths of Khao Sok jungle!