Exploring Khao Sok National Park, Our Jungle House and Khao Sok Paradise“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost. We visited many sides of Thailand from idyllic island of Koh Tao, to island hopping in the Andaman Sea, to bike trekking down the coast, to temple visits in Bangkok. However, no trip to Thailand would be complete without visiting the rain forests of the jungle highlands. For most travelers, this means Chiang Mai, but don’t overlook Khao Sok. It is the path less traveled, and that makes all the difference.
Compare and Contrast Khao Sok and Chiang Mai
|Khao Sok||Chiang Mai|
|Highest Monthly Rainfall||447 mm||216.9 mm|
|Proximity to jungle||You’re in it||Hour drive out of town|
|Temples and history||no||yes|
|Thai Massage||Small huts||Flash spas|
|Waterfalls||½ hour walk from hotel||Two hour car ride|
|Chow Larn Lake||Yes||no|
|Overland transportation to beaches||yes||no|
|CDC Malaria warnings||yes||no|
|Hill tribe villages||no||yes|
|Pharmacy||yes (verified 2016)||yes|
History of Khao Sok
Restorative value from eco-tourismKhao Sok had a radical transformation in the 80’s. Logging came to halt and Chow Larn Lake was filled which completely erased five villages. Behind these changes came a future of sustainable eco-tourism. The Mahouts took their elephants and started to provide elephant encounters. The elephants no longer toiled moving logs and now live a life a leisure being fed and washed by tourists. The villagers, who lost their homes from flooding the lake, were given exclusive license to operate tours on the lake. Instead of being a target for logging, these forests now provide continued tourism income for their new found stewards.
Staying in Khao Sok Village
Heart of the Jungle
- Rafflesia Flower – The world’s largest flower with single blooms over 3’ wide. Sounds beautiful but it also smells like rotting flesh. (perhaps another namesake for Khao Sok?). This rare flower is Khao Sok’s most famous plant. From the maps at the front desk, it looks like there are trails to both flowers in the park.
- Waterfalls – There are dozens of waterfalls in Khao Sok National Park but the crown jewel is Tan Sawan or paradise falls. Our Jungle House has a seven-hour tour take will take you see the rafflesia and Tan Sawan.
- Size – Khao Sok National Park and the adjoining protected areas of Kaeng Krueng, Sri Phang Nga, Khlong Phanom, Khlong Saeng, Khlong Yan and Khlong Naka form an area over 3,500 square kilometers which is more than half the size of Bali!
- Leeches – We bought leech socks to go hiking here. We didn’t need them sipping tea and compiling this list. Perhaps we didn’t need them at in in dry season….
- Mosquitoes – These guys were more active here than anywhere else in Thailand. It made us glad we got our travel vaccination