Guide to day trips in Khao Sok National park

By Kirsty Turner

Towering trees form a thick canopy in Khao Sok

Located just a short drive away from Phuket, Khao Sok National Park is the perfect daytrip destination for those who appreciate natural beauty. There are plenty of interesting things to do here, and visitors who want the chance to get back to nature are sure to be in their element as they explore this pristine tropical paradise.

Khao Sok National Park is often praised as one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in the whole of Thailand. The area was declared a national park on December 22nd, 1980, and covers an area of just over 730 square-kilometres. More on Phuket's national parks.

One of the best things about Khao Sok National Park is that – while there is a reasonable amount of modest accommodation to be found here – visitors are able to take a bus here directly from Phuket, and the journey takes just under four hours. A number of tour companies on Phuket offer trips to Khao Sok National Park, which include meals and activities such as rainforest hikes.

Trekking through the jungle is the perfect way to appreciate the abundant natural beauty of this large and lovely park, and there are several well-worn trails for visitors to follow. Those who have a keen eye will be able to spot a wide range of flora and fauna as they explore, and Khao Sok National Park is home to animals such as sambar deer, wild boar, gibbons, mouse deer and the gaur. Botanists will also want to keep an eye out for rare and unusual plant species such as Genus Hoper, Anisoptera and Chisocheton.

Those who have a strong sense of adventure can try their hands at a number of thrilling activities during their visit to Khao Sok National Park. Tubing down the river is a great way to get the adrenaline pumping while watching the scenery whoosh past, while other activities that are on offer include kayaking and zipline riding through the leafy canopies.

Although it is possible to explore Khao Sok National Park independently, it is best to book a guided tour, especially for those who plan on trekking through the jungle. It is all too easy for first time visitors to get lost here, while knowledgeable local guides are able to provide visitors with interesting information and point out sights that may go unnoticed by the untrained eye. More on Phuket activities.

Rafflesia flower in full bloom is wondrous to see

Taking a tour of Khao Sok National Park is also a good way to meet fellow travellers and make friends to share the rest of the journey with. Daytrips include lunch, and there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to catch their breath along the way. Although the pace is generally rather gentle, a reasonable level of physical fitness is required as the terrain is often rather hilly.

Khao Sok National Park is also blessed with a magnificent cave temple, which is inhabited by a number of cheeky monkeys. This is a good place to try caving, while the exterior of the cave is also a great place for rock climbing.

Perhaps the best time to visit Khao Sok National Park is at the start of the year, as the weather is typically significantly cooler and drier than during the rest of the year. Those who travel here in January and February will have the chance to see the magnificent Rafflesia flower in full bloom, which only occurs in late January or early February.

However, this rare flower can only be found in one small section of the park, and in order to see it visitors will need to walk down to the highway intersection, turn right and walk until mile 111. Those who turn to their right will now see a wooden ladder, which should be climbed. Take the first right and cross a path over a couple of streams until you are greeted with the sight of this huge and extremely rare red flower. 

As this is a national park, visitors are required to pay a fee of 200 baht upon entry. Visitors are also asked to respect this natural habitat and avoid littering as well as making any unnecessary noise that may disturb the wildlife here.

Visiting Khao Sok National Park is the experience of a lifetime, and many people are keen to extend their stay. Camping is permitted in certain areas of the park, and this offers visitors the chance to enjoy the magical experience of waking at dawn to the sound of the birds singing in the trees. 

Note! To secure a guaranteed room and find the best rates, we suggest you look online at Agoda.com. They seem to be the most competitively priced of the hotels sites.

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