Home Adventure Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Khao Sok National Park (2020 Guide)

Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Khao Sok National Park (2020 Guide)

by Chloe Gunning
Boat trip across Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
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From what to pack and details about the accommodation, to the amazing activities on offer, read this before visiting Khao Sok National Park, Thailand. 

If you want to take in Thailand’s raw beauty, then a trip to Khao Sok National Park should be at the top of your list. With epic limestone cliffs, a bright emerald lake and a chance to get up close to wildlife, our time in Khao Sok was the highlight of our trip to Thailand. 

In all honesty, we had several dilemmas about whether to visit Khao Sok National Park on our recent holiday. We were only in Thailand for just over two weeks, and from our research it seemed like Khao Sok was awkward to get to. To really soak it up we’d need two or three days there, with some big travel days at either end. We wondered whether it was worth it, or whether we should skip it and enjoy our trip at a slower pace.

So what happened? Well… we went for it! The adventure won, and what an incredible adventure it turned out to be! I’m SOOOOOO happy we visited. Khao Sok is genuinely one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been on my travels. The colours, the landscapes, the rawness – it’s a very special place. It reminded me a little of another favourite – Raja Ampat (a.k.a Indonesia’s secret paradise!)

Spectacular scenery in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Spectacular scenery in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Incredible limestone mountains in Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Incredible limestone mountains in Khao Sok National Park, Surat Thani province

Stopping at a beach on Cheow Lan Lake on day 2

Stopping at a beach on Cheow Lan Lake on day 2

When we were researching our trip, we had lots of questions and while there are lots of great posts around, I couldn’t find one that covered absolutely everything. So, that’s what I’ve attempted to do. I really hope you find this Khao Sok travel guide helpful. As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post or send me an email. 

The Ultimate Guide To Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

How to get to Khao Sok National Park

The majority of people travel by minibus to the town of Khlong Sok. The small town has several guesthouses and hotels, perfect for travellers keen to explore the region. After spending a few days in Ao Nang, we booked onto a bus from Krabi, while others reached the area from Khao Lak or Surat Thani – the closest airport to Khao Sok National Park.

A week before arriving in Khlong Sok, we contacted our hotel to check there was availability for on the 2 day/1 night tour of Khao Sok. We reserved two spot and then paid on arrival. We knew the tour included a few boat trips, accommodation and meals, but there was a lack of detailed information on what to expect.

Khlong Sok village, Thailand

Khlong Sok village, Thailand

Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Information About The 2 Day / 1 Night Tour of Khao Sok National Park

The two day / one night tour is the most popular option for visitors wanting to explore Khao Sok National Park. It felt like the perfect amount of time to soak up what the park has to offer. It gives you the freedom to immerse yourself in the impressive scenery, enjoy a few activities and stay overnight in a floating bungalow. You can do day tours to Khao Sok, but I feel like you’d be missing a lot! 

Boat trip across Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Boat trip across Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park, Southern Thailand

How much does the 2 Day / 1 Night Tour of Khao Sok National Park cost?

We booked the tour through our hotel in Khlong Sok. We researched a few options online, but as the rate seemed to be standard across all of the tour operators, we decided it’d be nice to support our hotel. That way, we could also chat to them to confirm all of the key information once we’d checked in. 

The Khao Sok tour costs 2,500 THB (approx. £64 / $81 USD) per person. This includes all transport (bus from Khlong Sok and the boat over the lake), lunch and dinner on the first day, plus breakfast and a snack lunch on the second day. It also includes one night’s accommodation in floating bungalows on Cheow Lan Lake. In terms of activities it includes a few boat and cave tours while in the national park.

There’s usually a charge of 300 THB per person to enter Khao Sok National Park. This was included in our tour price, but this wasn’t the case for everyone in our group, so it’s something worth checking when you book.

Beautiful views of Chow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park Thailand

Beautiful views of Chow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park Thailand

What is the 2 Day / 1 Night Tour of Khao Sok National Park?

I should probably add a disclaimer here, that not all tours will be exactly the same, and where you visit and the accommodation your stay in will depend on your tour operator. However, from my pre-trip research, most of the trips sounded pretty similar to one another.

As a guide, here’s how our tour was structured:

Day 1 – Khao Sok National Park Tour Schedule

Morning: Pickups from Khlong Sok village. One hour drive to Ban Ta Khun.

Stop in Ban Ta Khun market area where you can buy items including snacks, drinks, waterproof bags, head torches and sandals. We were told it would be a good idea to stock up on snacks if you get hungry often, or spirits if you don’t drink beer (as that’s all that’s available for sale at the floating bungalows).

Items for sale in Ban Ta Khun Market

Items for sale in Ban Ta Khun Market

Short drive Ratchaprapa Dam for Cheow Lan pier, then board a boat to the floating bungalows. The boat trip accommodation took around 45 minutes.

Check into accommodation and then enjoy a group lunch in the main restaurant area. Food throughout the trip was great and included curries, fish, rice and vegetables.

Afternoon: 5 minute boat trip to the start of the jungle / cave hike.

2-3 hours hike through the jungle to Nam Talu Cave. Then an adventure through the cave (more on that below!) and then back to the boats.

Relax time at the floating bungalows before the night safari and dinner, with options of swimming and kayaking

Night safari to see wildlife and landscapes

Evening: Group dinner – again more great curry and fish, followed by drinks (optional!) and bed.

Day 2 – Khao Sok National Park Tour Schedule

Morning: Early morning boat trip

Breakfast – pancakes, fruit and coffee

Relax time before checkout with options of swimming and kayaking

Boat trip to Pra Kay Petch Cave to see stalagmites and stalagtites

Boat trip to see the scenery of Cheow Lan Lake including a stop at the three limestone hills (iconic view!)

Stop off at a beach on the lake for a picnic lunch of rice packs and fresh fruit before heading back to the pier and catching a transfer back to Khlong Sok village.

Who books the 2 Day / 1 Night Tour of Khao Sok National Park?

I loved how mixed the group was for our trip to Khao Sok. Our tour group consisted of 22 people, aged between 21 – 65. There were a mix of nationalities too, including English, Dutch, Australian, German, Russian and Ukrainian. We were travelling as a couple, but there were small groups of friends, a few other couples and a mother and daughter. The tour guide gave all instructions in English.

Boat trip in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Boat trip in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Tell me more about the activities on the 2 Day / 1 Night Tour of Khao Sok National Park…

In addition to the boat trips to get to and from our accommodation, our tour included two cave tours and two boat trips.

Nam Talu Cave Hike

The hike to the entrance of Nam Talu Cave took around an hour, and involved walking along paths carved through bamboo forests, and crossing several streams and rivers. The route is very pretty, and it wasn’t long before I felt fully immersed in the nature of the national park.

Nam Talu Cave hike, Khao Sok National Park

Nam Talu Cave hike, Khao Sok National Park

Nam Talu Cave hike, Khao Sok National Park

Nam Talu Cave hike, Khao Sok National Park

At the entrance of Nam Talu Cave, we were equipped with head torches, and everyone packed essential items into dry bags. The cave is 850m long, and the route through is a dark, wet one! We spotted bats, frogs and spiders along the journey.

While you don’t need to be at peak fitness levels, you do need to be open to adventures and happy to clamber, walk and swim! If you’re claustrophobic, scared of the dark or not confident in the water, I’d avoid this element of the trip. I wore a bikini and water shoes for the cave trek (more on what to pack below), as it was really wet! It took around one hour to reach the other end of the cave, and although I found it challenging and a little scary at times, it was one of those rewarding travel experiences that I’m SO happy I did!

Nam Talu Cave hike, Khao Sok National Park

Nam Talu Cave hike, Khao Sok National Park

Pra Kay Petch Cave 

On day two we visited Pra Kay Petch Cave. This was a much more relaxed adventure. It took just 15 minutes to walk through the cave, and inside were a beautiful array of stalagmites and stalactites.

Pra Kay Petch Cave

Pra Kay Petch Cave

Inside of Pra Kay Petch Cave

Inside of Pra Kay Petch Cave

Boat Safaris In Khao Sok National Park

We went on two longtail boat safaris – in the evening of the first day, and early morning the next day. They were described as safaris as there was a chance we’d see some incredible wildlife. We did! There were lots of monkeys playing by the shore, plus we saw a few beavers and plenty of birds. I wouldn’t say it’s the most wildlife-rich place I’ve ever been, but it’s always amazing to see animals in their natural habitats.

Monkeys on the shore of Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand

Monkeys on the shore of Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand

Sunset in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Sunset in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Sunrise views in Khao Sok National Park

Sunrise views in Khao Sok National Park

Other activities in Khao Sok National Park

No matter where you’re staying, you can enjoy regular jumps into the lake, along with plenty of swimming and kayaking. It was definitely a refreshing way to wake up and a wonderful way to take in the landscapes.

Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park

Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park

Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park

Kayaking in Khao Sok National Park

Swimming in Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok

Swimming in Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok

Khao Sok National Park Packing List 

If you’re planning to spend a few days in Khao Sok National Park, then the best thing to do is decant your essentials into an overnight bag, and store your main backpack or suitcase at your hotel in Khlong Sok.

In addition to basics like clothes and toiletries, here are a few items I’d recommend packing if possible:

Dry bag – useful for the cave trip if you want to take any items with you, but you should be able to hire them at the accommodation, or buy in the market.

Water shoes – essential for the cave trip, but again, you can hire them at the accommodation or buy in the market.

Portable charger / battery pack – we didn’t have any charging points by our bungalow.

Head torch – also available to hire or borrow in Khao Sok.

Hat

Small towel

Padlock – the doors of the bungalows didn’t lock, so bring a padlock if you’re nervous about leaving any of your belongings unattended.

Mosquito repellent

GoPro

I’d also recommend charging everything before your trip e.g. camera batteries, kindle, phone

Do you want to hear something funny about our trip? As we were heading to Surat Thani Airport straight after our tour, we arranged with the tour guides that we’d take all of our luggage on the trip, rather than decanting down to an overnight bag for the tour as most people do. There was a big misunderstanding, and when we arrived at the pier on the lake, we discovered our suitcases had been put in the tour operator’s office overnight. They thought we wanted them to take care of them! So we arrived at the floating bungalows without any essentials. No toothpaste, no change of clothes… just cameras, suncream, phones and what we were wearing! We managed, but it wasn’t ideal as you can imagine. If you’re planning to arrange something similar – check everyone understands the plan.

What are the floating bungalows like in Khao Sok National Park?

So here’s where my experience might vary from what you find. As we booked via our hotel in Khlong Sok, we didn’t know which raft house we’d be taken to on the Cheow Lan Lake. To be honest, I was expecting to rough it for a night in pretty basic accommodation, but I was a little surprised by just HOW basic it was.

Our floating bungalows in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Our floating bungalows in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Our bungalow had one big double mattress on the floor, with a mosquito net over it… and that was it. There were a couple of sheets, and a light outside, but that was it. It didn’t lock (hence why I mention a padlock might be useful if you’re worried about the security of any of your belongings). There was no fan, but we managed to sleep ok as the temperatures were more comfortable by the evening.

Interior of our floating bungalow in Khao Sok (Raft house)

Interior of our floating bungalow in Khao Sok (Raft house)

The bathroom situation was a little tricky too. There were two on either side of the site, but to reach them you had to walk across floating planks and then clamber up the side of a hill. There were toilets and showers there, but water was cold. However, the food in the restaurant was flavoursome and plentiful. 

Some of the photos I saw of the accommodation on similar tours looked a little bit less basic, so take that into consideration. To be honest, I really didn’t mind any of it as it was only for one night, and the overall experience was totally incredible, so please don’t let what I’ve said put you off. Just lower your expectations for the accommodation!

Fresh fish for dinner in Khao Sok National Park

Fresh fish for dinner in Khao Sok National Park

Restaurant area at our floating bungalows, Khao Sok

Restaurant area at our floating bungalows, Khao Sok

There are a few luxurious options on the lake, if you’re looking for somewhere with a few more amenities. 

Luxury places to stay in Khao Sok National Park (Cheow Lan Lake): 

500 Rai Floating Resort The smartest option on the lake, rooms here come with AC and en-suite bathrooms. Some have outdoor jacuzzis, plus there’s a pool and restaurants on site. 

Panvaree Resort Rooms here have proper beds, balconies, terraces, en-suite bathrooms, plus a TV and fridge. 

Overall thoughts on the two day / one night tour of Khao Sok National Park

WOW, wow and wow!! I think the photos speak for themselves, but this is such a stunning area of natural beauty – you just HAVE to visit if you get the chance. It’s not the easiest place to get to, it’s not the most luxurious of experiences, but as soon as you get there, you’ll realise you made the right decision. I absolutely loved it!

While some of my blog content is sponsored, our trip to Thailand was a holiday, and 100% funded by us! I’ve written about this experience because I felt so passionately about sharing it – I just couldn’t keep it to myself. Any questions, please leave them in the comments below or send me an email. 

Enjoyed this post? Pin it for later…Visiting Khao Sok National Park, Thailand


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6 comments

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6 comments

Gaurish Kamath 14th October 2019 - 4:54 am

Hi can you let me know from where did you book the package.? can you share me the link or name of the tour operator
I am planning to visit Khao Sok in Feb 2020 will be staying at Ao Nang so also help me in way yo reach the village from Ao Nang

Reply
Chloe Gunning 3rd January 2020 - 5:21 pm

Hi there – I booked through Green Valley Resort where I was staying!

Reply
Monica Embrey 3rd January 2020 - 4:41 pm

Thanks so much for this great post! So informative. I’ve been trying to figure out for the Nam Talu Cave tour if it’s possible for someone who doesn’t’ swim to go part of the way. How far along on the route is the area where someone would need to swim? And would it be ok if they stayed back while other people went ahead? Or do you think they could get across with a life vest? Thanks so much for any insights!

Reply
Chloe Gunning 3rd January 2020 - 5:14 pm

Thanks Monica! I wouldn’t risk going on it if you or someone in your party can’t swim. Water levels may vary a bit throughout the year but there was a little bit of swimming when I went, and I just worry that you wouldn’t enjoy it if you were worrying about it! I’m not totally sure if there’s an option to wear a life vest instead. A few of our group were claustraphobic or couldn’t swim, so stayed in the jungle area outside the cave. Personally, I’d skip the excursion in favour of some kayaking or something else, as it’s a longish activity to be waiting around for people, esp in a mozzie filled jungle!

Reply
Debra Nelson 3rd January 2020 - 5:55 pm

Love your post and thank you, we want to do the same trip but we are staying in ao nang, and we’re looking to book the trip from here. As far as you are aware is it the same 2 day 1 night tour but we will just get the bus from (and back) to our ao nang hotel ?
Kind regards
Debra

Reply
Chloe Gunning 6th January 2020 - 9:00 am

Hi Debra, Thanks for your message! I actually started in Ao Nang, but it’s quite a long way to get to the nearest village to Khao Sok where the tours start from. After quite a bit of research we discovered the best option was to get a minibus to Khlong Sok, then start the 2 day / 1 night tour from there the next day. Ao Nang is pretty far so I don’t think it’d be easy to do in a shorter timeframe. Hope that helps – it’s worth the effort!

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