Planning a trip to Southern Thailand? You should consider visiting Khao Sok National Park in addition to your other destinations. Khao Sok National Park is absolutely breathtaking and is a perfect full-day excursion for single adults, couples, and families.
The park is infamous for its day tour on Cheow Lan Lake. Cheow Lan Lake is stunning with clear green water and hundreds of large limestone cliffs.
How to Get to Khao Sok National Park?
Khao Sok National Park is roughly two hours from Phuket International Airport. To get to Khao Sok from the airport you can either hire a driver or rent your own car. Taylor and I rented our own car from Avis. We would recommend this option for anyone who would like to explore while on their way to Khao Sok. By renting our own car we were able to stop at local shops and eateries along the way.
If you are coming from Koh Samui, Khao Sok National Park is roughly two and a half to three hours from Donsak Pier or Surat Thani’s airport. From both of these locations, you can either rent a car or hire a driver.
Where to Stay in Khao Sok National Park?
It is rather rural around Khao Sok National Park and most hotels are almost 40 minutes away from the park’s entrance.
That being said, the hotels outlined in the link found in parenthesis (Khao Sok Hotels/Resorts) are where you want to stay and all offer great Khao Sok National Park Lake Tours. We stayed at the Rock and Treehouse Resort and recommend it to other fellow travelers. However, if you do not rent your own car, it will be difficult to get around unless you hire a tuk-tuk driver or taxi from the resort/hotel lobby. Some of the hotels provided in the link above are also within walking distance to multiple restaurants, which you may want to consider.
On our second night in Khao Sok, Taylor and I ate dinner at a local restaurant in town with a German traveler we met. The food and the company in the restaurant were both outstanding so we would definitely recommend checking them out.
Rock and Treehouse Resort is very unique. It has a jungle vibe and each bungalow feels like a legitimate treehouse surrounded by lush vegetation.
Khao Sok National Park – Lake Tour Itinerary
The tours are organized by nearby resorts and so if you choose to stay at one of these resorts you can simply ask the individual at the check-in counter to schedule you a tour.
- A shuttle will pick you up around 8:30-9:00 am. Khao Sok National Park is about an hour from the resorts to the park entrance where the boat tour begins.
- Stop at the Simongkol Food Market to shop local Thai cuisine, souvenirs, and/ or travel accessories. Taylor and I bought a dry bag since we forgot ours. If you don’t have one consider buying one that comes with padded straps before you get to Thailand, like this ZBRO Dry Bag with 2 Pockets Padded Straps and Reflective Stripe.
- Arrive at the Ratchaprapha Dam to board the longtail boat. We recommend sitting in the front of the boat to get the best pictures!
- Tour the lake and head to the raft house for lunch.
- Adventure time! After lunch you will be given two options to either hike or swim:
- The guided Jungle Trek Tour (more details about the hike below)
- Individual swim or kayak (we opted for this since we could venture out on our own)
- Return to the dam (park entrance) and head back to your resort.
The total tour time is roughly 8-10 hours. It starts at 9:00 am and you will get back to your resort/hotel around 6:00 pm.
Lunch at the Raft Houses
Lunch at the raft house includes fish, rice, prawns (similar to shrimp), and vegetables and is included in your total tour cost. Unfortunately, we didn’t take a picture of the lunch but it is served family style in the main floating raft house.
Jungle Trek or Individual Swim/Kayak
We opted to kayak and swim instead of participating in the Jungle Trek to the cave. Taylor and I were told that in order to reach the cave, you have to hike through rivers with the chance of getting bit by leeches. Also, there is no guarantee trekkers will be allowed into the cave because of the water levels. Due to the recent flooding in Northern Thailand where the youth soccer team got stuck in a cave for over a week, guides are very cautious and caves are basically off limits. For these reasons, we opted to explore the lake on a kayak and check out some of the scenery around the raft houses.
In the photo below we paddled into a small channel in the lake where we found wild monkeys eating fruit and leaves off the trees.
After about one or two hours of hiking or kayaking, depending on what you choose, it’s time to head back on the boat and make your way to the Ratchaprapha Dam. Once you’re back at the dam, the shuttle will be waiting for you, ready to take you back to your hotel. Expect to arrive back at the hotel around 6:00 pm.
In our opinion, it was a perfect day in the park and the perfect amount of time in Khao Sok National Park.
Khao Sok National Park: Where to Eat
Near the hotels, there are plenty of restaurants. Most are within walking distance. However, if you are staying at Rock and Treehouse Resort you will need to drive to this part of town or call for a taxi. In town, there is a restaurant for every taste bud, from Thai cuisine to western dishes like pizza and pasta!
We were recommended Pawn’s Restaurant for local Thai cuisine, and Khao Sok Rasta Thailand for western-style dishes.
Below is a map of the town which is located right off 401 Highway.
Instagram Worthy Photo Opportunities
Khao Sok definitely has some Instagram worthy photo opportunities so make sure to bring your camera gear!
Overall, the day tour out on the lake in Khao Sok National Park is a perfect adventure to add to your itinerary. You’ll have the opportunity to take amazing pictures, hike, swim, kayak, take in beautiful scenery all while enjoying time out on the lake.
If you’re in Southern Thailand or planning a trip to Southern Thailand, you’ll definitely want to consider adding Khao Sok National Park to your itinerary/bucket list. Khao Sok National Park is relatively easy to get to from Phuket or Koh Samui/Surat Thani and accommodations are cheap!
If you have any questions about Khao Sok National Park or would like to share some of your experiences there, drop a comment below!