Many of our visitors to Jungle Flight at Baan Tai have so much fun in the canopy of Koh Phangan that they are keen to have more outdoor adventures in Thailand during their holiday. One place I always recommend for experiencing the beauty of the Thai jungle is Khao Sok National Park on the mainland. It is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Thailand.
Khao Sok National Park is about 2 hours’ drive from Suratthani City. You can catch a public bus from the bus station on Talat Mai 31. There are also minibuses running every hour from 7.30 am to 5 pm. Tickets cost about 150 Thai Baht.
Independent travellers can make their own way to the park. The entrance fee is 300 Thai Baht for 24 hours. There is a small village where you can buy basic provisions. There are also plenty of lodges where you can get a bungalow. Many of the bungalows are tree houses where you can spend hours admiring the view from high up in the canopy. It is also possible to rent a raft house on the lake.
No cars or motorbikes are allowed in the park. So the only way to get around is to walk or hire a mountain bike. Although lots of people will insist you take a guide, three trails in the jungle are clearly marked. You can make excursions by yourself to swim or spot the wildlife such as monkeys and giant monitor lizards.
The advantage of booking a tour of Khao Sok National Park is that the fee usually includes fun activities such as going on ziplines, kayaking and caving as well as entrance fees. The tours also include guided treks that can take you into the heart of the reserve to see more. Here is a list of the trails that start at the visitor’s centre:
1. Wing Hin Waterfall – 2.8 km
2. Bang Hua Rat Waterfall – 2.9 km
3. Wang Yao pool – 3 km
4. Bang Leab Nam Waterfall – 4.5 km – Accessible only with guide
5. Than Sawan Waterfall – 6 km – Accessible only with guide
6. Tang Nam gorge – 6 km – Accessible only with guide
7. Ton Kloi Waterfall – 7 km – Accessible only with guide
8. San Yang Roi view point – 2 km – Accessible only with guide
9. Sip-ed-Chun Waterfall – 4 km – Accessible only with guide
There is a great variety of flora and fauna to spot at the park. Flora includes the famous Rafflesia Flower that blooms late January, wild bananas, mangosteen, jackfruit and durian. Fauna includes Malayan tapir, Asian elephant, tiger, sambar deer, bear, guar, banteng, serow, wild boar, pig-tailed macaque, langur, white handed gibbons, squirrel, muntjak, mouse deer and barking deer.
Finally, there is the attraction of Cheow Lan Lak. It is above the Ratchaprapha Dam. Here you can stay on raft houses and explore in kayaks. The lake is particularly picturesque as it is a good place to see the limestone mountains that dot the landscape.
Khao Sok is notable as it is part of a very old forest (over 160 million years old). It was created by tectonic plate movement. This movement created the impressive limestone karsts visible today. It is estimated the park contains over 5% of the world’s species.
More reading: Official website.