During our “big trip” we came from Koh Phangan via loud and crowy Koh Phi Phi. For us it was a welcome change of scenery coming to Khao Sok National Park. We booked 1 night at Khao Sok River Home Resort, 1 night on the lake and then again a night at the same resort.
Khao Sok National Park: A lake, monkeys and caves
Khao Sok National Park is situated in the South of Thailand, in Surat Thani province. It consists of a man-made lake, created in the 80’s when a dam was built to generate electricity. The lake is surrounded by karst mountains and rainforest, making it a truly unique environment. Its proximity to some prime tourist destinations like Phuket and the islands in the Andaman Sea combined with government support, helped develop the park as a tourist hot-spot. Now many “resorts” exist in every corner of the lake and thousands of tourists visit each year. Most of them on day trips and overnight stays. Now when we say resorts, keep an open mind. The accommodation is very basic, consisting of a simple floating bamboo hut, a mattress, a blanket and a floating restaurant.
How to stay in Khao Sok National Park
If you want to do an overnight on the lake we think it’s best to book 1 or 2 nights in a resort near Khao Sok village and 1 actually on the lake. The first night is needed because of the early pickups for your park visit and most transfers only arrive around noon. The next night you’ll sleep on the lake. Make sure to mention this to the resort when booking, you’ll want them to arrange the tour because they can provide an easy pickup. This night you don’t pay a room in the resort but is in the 2500 bath you pay for the tour, so no you don’t pay for 2 rooms. The third night is not necessary but to save you the stress of making transfers in time we do recommend it.
Where to stay in Khao Sok National Park
We stayed at the Khao Sok River Home Resort. A brand new hotel with classy and clean rooms, a good restaurant and owners who will do anything in their power to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Situated on a hill between two rivers, the nature around the resort is simply amazing. We know this all sounds as well placed marketing (especially because we put an affiliate link on it) but we are confident you won’t regret your choice (just take a look at the reviews on booking.com!). We have to admit there is 1 “downside”. It is not situated in Khao Sok village, thus a bit “in the middle of nowhere”. Let us immediately put it clear that this is more an advantage than a disadvantage. The only time you’ll normally want to be in Khao Sok village is the day of arrival, as the other days you’ll be on tours or staying on the lake. But even on this first day they can provide you with activities (ask for the secret waterfall!). Furthermore this resort is 30 minutes closer to the national park entrance, so it saves you 1 hour of uncomfortable minivan driving (win-win, right?).
Sleeping on the lake in Khao Sok National Park
Overnight stays always cost 2500 bath / person. This price includes transfer from and to the hotel and a 2-day programme. A typical overnight programme is as follows:
Pick up from the hotel at 0900. Drive to the village where you can buy some supplies like a rain poncho, some candy or drinks, a flashlight, … . Drive to the pier and transfer to long tail boat.
Cruise the lake and “check-in” at your resort. Thai-style lunch. Jungle trekking + cave visit. Free time for swimming, kayaking, … . Thai-style dinner. Night safari in the long tail boat. Free time (we were lucky to have a great group so this was a lot of fun, yes they sell Chang at the resort). Sleep in the bamboo hut. Wake-up and morning safari (see different kinds of animals, including Gibbons if you’re lucky). Breakfast (pancakes). Visit a cave. Lunch (fried rice). Back to the pier and transfer to the hotel. We didn’t do the day trip but a typical programme looks the same as the first day of the overnight.
Wether it was staying in the lovely resort or the 2-day trip on the lake, we really loved Khao Sok National Park. We had our amount of rain (which is quite common here, it’s some kind of micro-climate) but this didn’t really bother much. Half the time you’re hiking through the rainforest, sometimes knee-deep in the mud, so a bit of rain is the least of your concerns. The other half you’re exploring caves , swimming or drinking a beer. To make things clear: no we are not the most adventurous type of tourists. We had our doubts before we left, thinking about walking through the jungle or sleeping in this basic accommodation. But believe us, you’ll be fine. One more thing for those who love mosquito’s as much as I do. Apparently there’s a mineral in the lake the muzzies don’t like, making for a total of 0 mosquito sightings during our stay.