Khao Sok is probably not the first place you think of when you are planning a trip to Thailand. But if you are looking for adventure and you are ready to see an amazing piece of nature, make sure you spend a few days here!
Khao Sok wiki
Khao Sok can be found in the Surat Thani Province and is home to the biggest National Park of Southern Thailand. It is said that the Khao Sok National Park is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in this country since 1980.
The village itself is quite small and actually consists of one mainstreet; the city center of Khao Sok. The locals here run hotels, hostels, bars and restaurants. For travelers this is the place to be, since tours can be booked here as well.
Reasons to visit Khao Sok
The main reason for travelers to visit to Khao Sok is the Khao Sok National Park, but it is also a great place for bamboo rafting, canoeing, tubing, elephant trekking, showering and feeding elephants, lake tours, jungle tours (three to ten days) and hiking.
How many days are needed for Khao Sok?
It is recommended to stay two to three days in Khao Sok. We reserved three days for Khao Sok while we were in Thailand; one day for traveling to Khao Sok, one day for showering and feeding elephants and one day for a lake tour (including a boat tour, five km trekking, a cave visit and a lunch). We also explored the city center, but there is honestly not much to do..
Where to stay in Khao Sok
Khao Sok offers many places to stay, but we highly recommend the Khao Sok Palm Garden Resort. This resort is located in a quiet street and it is only a five minutes walk to the main street. But the best part is that you have your own clean and spacious jungle house!
The only disadvantage of this hotel is the availability of WiFi; this is only available at the reception. But if you are only here to eat and sleep, this should not be a big problem.
Tours in Khao Sok
The owner and his wife of the Khao Sok Palm Garden Resort are very friendly and were always happy to help us. Even though you can book tours in the city centre, it would be better to book them at the resort if you stay here. We booked the “Elephant showering and feeding” tour (1.000 baht per person, including discount) and an one day trip to the lake (1.500 baht per person).
The owner prepared us well for the lake tour; he gave us flashlights, shoes, raincoats and waterproof bags. The best service we could wish for!
Other tours that can be booked at the Khao Sok Palm Garden Resort are an Elephant trek (please avoid this one!), full day hikes, bamboo raft, tubing and canoeing.
Showering and feeding elephants
“They say an elephant never forgets, but what they don’t tell you is that you will never forget an elephant”. I simply love elephants and I believe that they are the most amazing creatures in this world. When I found out that the Khao Sok Palm Garden Resort offers a tour to feed and shower elephants, I immediately wanted to book it! But as we all know, it should be a place where they actually take care of the elephants. No riding and trekking allowed!
The sanctuary we visited is called Khao Sok Elephant Sanctuary. It is said that they look very well after their elephants and they are treated extremely well by their mahout.
What I like about this place is that they first give you background information to learn more about elephants. After this “elephant class”, we could walk with the elephant to the mud bath. If you aren’t afraid, you are more than welcome to join the elephant to give him/her a muddy massage.
After the mud massage the mahout took us through the forest and over farmland to another pond. During this walk you will learn more about the elephant culture of Thailand and the special communication between the mahout and his animal.
After washing the elephant in the pond, it was time to walk back. I think this was my favorite part of the whole tour; when we got back we were allowed to feed the elephant bananas!
I enjoyed this part the most because it was the first time that we could give the elephant something in return. In my opinion elephants should live freely in the jungle. They should not be covered in mud and washed in a pont three times a day. They should be happy, live with their family and think for themselves (in the sanctuary the elephant moved only because the mahout said so)..
Even though I personally had mixed feelings during this tour, you should give this sanctuary a try if you want to meet elephants. The sanctuary spends the money well on their animals and riding and trekking are forbidden here.
One day trip to the Khao Sok National Park
The main reason we traveled to Khao Sok is because we had to explore the Khao Sok National Park. Even though we visited Thailand in the rainy season, we were lucky enough to have just a little bit of rain on our one day trip to the lake (I can’t imagine how this area will look when the sky is clear and the sun is out!).
Our day started at 8.15AM with a nice breakfast at the Khao Sok Palm Garden Resort. After we finished our breakfast we spent one hour in a bus to the Ratchaprapha Dam, followed by an one hour boat tour to the floating raft houses.
After a great lunch, it was time to trek to the Namtalu cave. If you are lucky, this trek will take one hour and a half. If you are as fortunate as us, it can easily take three hours. It completely depends on your team members and their trekking speed. One tip: bring good shoes! You will cross rivers, climb rocks and walk on muddy paths..
After the three km trek you have some time to swim. Unfortunately for us, it was raining much more when we got back. We decided to head back by long tail boat. Normally this is the perfect time to look for wildlife along the way. Our tour guide showed us bats and an island full of monkeys!
We spent one day at the lake, but it is also possible to spend two days. If you spend two days at the lake, you will stay one night in one of the floating houses. The next morning your trip starts with a wildlife safari before you head back to the pier and the Ratchaprapha Dam.
End your day with a Thai massage
After a day of exploring there is nothing more convenient than a good massage! Massage salons are literally all over the place in Thailand and this also applies to Khao Sok. You will find several salons in the city center, but the one we can recommended is Numgern Thai Massage. The massages are good and the prices are reasonable. For us it was the perfect way to end the day!
Where to eat in Khao Sok?
There are several restaurants in Khao Sok but one definitely deserves a recommendation here; Wind Song bar & restaurant. The staff is very friendly, the quality of the food and drinks is good and they offer free WiFi. Grab a seat on the terrace, enjoy the view and watch travelers walking by. We could sit here for hours, cheers!
We hope we inspired you with our blog about Khao Sok! If you have plans to visit Bangkok as well, don’t forget to read our blog about Bangkok. Our Thailand video can be found here. If you have any questions or you want to share your story with us, please feel free to contact us any time!