Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It’s a given that wherever you go, there are bound to be hoards of other tourists. When I do my research for traveling, I tend to find secluded gems, usually my destinations result in having to catch numerous different types of public transport and sleeping in a hovel, which is probably why these places are secluded. However, you’ll luck out with Khao Sok National Park.
Khao Sok National Park is situated in the Southern part of Thailand in the Sarut Thani Province. And as it stands, it is still way off the main tourist track of Thailand. The first thing I noticed as we entered the park was the incredible limestone mountains that towered some 600 meters over the trees. As it was low season, we hadn’t booked anywhere to stay, but decided that we would just see where we ended up. It turned out to be Arts Riverview Jungle House.
Our room was set out in the jungle with a balcony looking over a crystal clean river, with a view right onto a limestone cliff. The first thing we did was to organize an overnight lake trip to Cheow Lan Lake, while it was quite expensive for our backpacking budget, I would do it again and again. I can honestly say that this was my best trip in Thailand in the year that I’ve been living here.
The lake is 165 square kilometers of breathtaking beauty and turquoise water surrounded by virgin forest, which is older and more diverse than the amazon rainforest; all looked over by startling white limestone mountains. Accommodation is in a remote corner of the lake on floating lake bungalows, which although basic, make for an incredible experience. The area is full of waterfalls and rivers that a guide will happily help you hike to, and if you go at the right time of year, you may be lucky enough to see the Rafflesia Flower, which is the biggest flower in the world. The rest of the day can be spent relaxing and reading, or kayaking and swimming in the area in front of the bungalows. Waking up in the morning, you are assailed by the whooping of gibbons, and the long low calls of the giant hornbills.
The only thing that we found to be at fault on the entire trip was that we didn’t have more time to spend here, and that we hadn’t planned to spend more days in the National Park itself, where you can see various mammals such as the Malayan Tapir, Asian Elephant and White Handed Gibbons.
If Thailand is in your travel plans in the near future, then I would definitely advise that you make an effort to see this incredible area.
Getting to Khao Sok National Park is not as difficult as I expected it to be. Catch an overnight train from Bangkok to Sarut Thani, and then walk across the road at the train station and book a bus going to Khao Sok National Park. That Simple.
Prices will vary according to the level of budget you are going for and the companies that you use.
Train: Second Class Air Conditioned. 700 Baht (25US$)
Bus: 250 Baht (9 US$)
Arts Riverview Jungle House: Low Season 600 Baht (20 US$) per room.
Lake Tour: 2500 Baht (85 US$) Each- Food included.
Photos: Laura Paterson