I was warned by a good friend that Khao Sok was one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. And she didn't lie. Khao Sok surrounds a lake by jungle that grows on the impressive Thailand rocks. If you are a foreigner like myself and you are still amazed by the incredible rocks that rise pretty much from all over Thailand, then Khao Sok will definitely will leave you breathless.
(This is my first post in English, so.. be kind?)
Khao Sok is a national park surrounded by other Wildlife Sanctuaries, the area contains a huge lake called Cheow Larn. It was stablished in 1980 as Thailands' 22h National Park that consist of thick rainforest, waterfalls and majestic limestone cliffs that rise everywhere, it is just something to see! This incredible giants or 'karst mountains' are as tall as 400 meters high; and the talles peak in the Natural Park is 960 meters.
Influenced by both coasts, Khao Sok has the highest level of rainfall in Thailand; about 3500 mm per year. And its a fact that year long you can get wet while visiting this place, even in its dry season (December to April).
To get to Khao Sok it's pretty easy, since it's convienently situated between both of Thailand coasts. You can get a cheap bus from Phuket for 300 Baht in about 7 hours drive, or a van from Surat Thani. Also, there are many ways to get there from Krabi, Koh Samui and Khao Lak.
Tours are offered in all the guest houses and hotels in Khao Sok, and to get to the lakes you are most likely to take a tour, since they are very well organized... we didn't find a way to do it by ourselves, and by using the local tours you are giving back to the community. The tours consist on picking you up from you hotel, drive you to the nearest market if you need to take money from the ATM, then to the pier at the Park (entrance fee 200 Bhat, extra to your tour) and then take a boat to surf down the lake.
The impressive rocks everywhere is a landscape you'll want to see. The water is warm enough, and even if you experience rain in the long tail boat, you'll be glad to refresh yourself.
The guide you can take you to the caves and/or jungle trekking, very accessible to tourism, it is actually just a walk up the mountain (beware slippery mud everywhere) to see the monkeys swinging from tree to tree. Then you can take a bamboo raft boat to the caves, and come back to a floating restaurant where delicious Thai food awaits you, and it was great, the green curry rocked!.
And the best part: time to chill with the incredible view and swim a bit and even the some jumps from the trampolines. Please take a minute or more to just breath in all the landscape in Khao Sok, it is por sure one of the most beautiful places I've seen, and deff recommend it.
It's immensity is just incredible, it makes us wander how insignificant we human beings are, and how we have no right disturbing such impressive landscape and natural heritage. Breathtaking Khao Sok is a landscape to absorbe and enjoy, but even more to reflect on how as visitors we must take care of our environment and preserve places like this, so future generations can enjoy but also understand our place in the world.
*Floating bungalows for overnight stay are available also, but you'll have to prebook it at your hotel.
*Other activities in Khao Sok involve kayaking, jungle trekking, birdwatching, elephant trekking (wait for the elephant piece I’m working on, meanwhile please do NOT ride elephants, walking next to them is just as impressive or even better yet!), and many others.
*There are a lot of eco-resorts that offer the tours, and you get to stay in little cottages and bungalows in the middle of the jungle, hearing all the fauna and the weather at night it’s one of my favorite serenatas.