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 around us. First, he showed us that by cutting the end of certain rattan vines, fresh drinking water could be found. Next, he led us to vistas where you could see mountain-covered jungle. Additionally, he knew many bird calls, and got the Rainforest canopy chirping and whistling around us.
After a more challenging trails through lush jungle, we made it to our lunch site. Pu started a campfire to boil water for coffee. Then he cut a length of bamboo to serve as a kettle, and boiled water inside.
Meanwhile, we ate the delicious fried rice that the cooks at Riverside Cottages made for us. Afterward, once our stomachs were full, we rested before beginning our tour of the cave.
Earlier, we had wondered about the right kind of shoes…
“To wear hiking boots or water shoes? That is the question.”
For the hike, we had a bit of both. However, neither type seemed to be perfectly right.
This writer would suggest supportive shoes that can get wet (think Chacos). Otherwise, a pair of water shoes that can be changed into before going into the cave. Due to the wet and muddy nature of cave hikes, we wouldn’t recommend hiking boots.
The cave was close by, and we equipped ourselves with headlamps where possible. By contrast, those who forgot headlamps used iPhone flashlights to light the way.
Then we made our way into the cave. The damp coolness and inky darkness of the cave was very welcome compared to the hot ascent.
As our tour led us deeper, Pu was able to show us many different spiders, frogs, and cave crickets. At the same time, he would explain which ones were nice and which were not.
Pu was also very informative about which stalagmites and stalactites were still growing. He also explained to us proper cave etiquette in regards to these formations. Specifically, that we shouldn’t touch our surroundings unless absolutely necessary for safety precautions.
A secret cave: one of many
Khao Sok Park’s limestone karst mountains are riddled with caves like this. They were formed over thousands of years by the slow, ceaseless trickle of water. Even during our tour, we could hear the cave growing and changing: drip…drip…drip.
The sound of water seeping through the cave ceiling surrounded us. At the same time as we were passing though, water was dissolving and re-depositing imperceptibly small amounts of calcium. In the same way that wind constantly shapes sand in a desert, water was changing the underground landscape around us.
Time seemed to slow in the pitch black heart of the mountain while we stood, entranced by the magical transformation taking place around us.
One of this writer’s favorite parts of any cave experience is the reemergence into sun and light. The Rainforest air is fresh and warm, and rich with the scent of earth and the abundance of life found in Khao Sok Park. The light brings energy and warmth, reminding us that it is still daytime. Meanwhile, the sounds of the birds and insects in the surrounding forest are nearly deafening compared to the echoes of the cave.
We happily hiked along the river, but soon realized that the hardest part had yet to come. Namely, that there were hills and rocks demanding to be climbed up and jumped over. The hike back wass more technical and challenging, involving a lot of clambering and skidding over boulders and river rocks. As a result, we all got a workout, along with a heightened sense of achievement. This hike seemed one of the more difficult on offer in Khao Sok Park. It was not for the faint of heart, and requiring a certain amount of skill and surefootedness.
Khao Sok Park is full of magical, little-known places like this cave. It pays to have a good guide!
After testing our own limits on this hike, we were all ready to dry off and take a seat. The truck was silent on the drive back as we sat thinking about the day. Neither the silence nor the coolness could compare the that of the world we had just left, however. The stillness of the cave still echoed in our hearts and minds as we rode: an excursion never to be forgotten.
Are you coming to Khao Sok park to experience excellent jungle hiking first hand? If so, be sure to check out our blog detailing our Top 3 hikes in Khao Sok jungle!
You can find even more useful info on Riverside Cottages website. Once you’re in Khao Sok our staff will make sure you get the most from your time here!
Find your perfect Khao Sok accommodation here, and dare to explore the depths of Khao Sok park!