With majestic fairy-tale scenery, perfect swimming conditions and a variety of wildlife, Khao Sok National Park is a true paradise that offers adventure and relaxation. Most people consider the beach or city when they decide on a Thai holiday, I wholeheartedly believe that Khao Sok to be the most beautiful national park in Thailand, and the perfect detour when travelling to/ from the Islands.
Even the drive from Surat Thani Station to Khao Sok is absolutely beautiful, as you draw closer, lush jungles spring up on both sides and you just can’t resist stopping for a photo opportunity.
Wanting to get to Ko Pha Ngan to attend a certain party, there was only enough time to spend a day here… yet this could have easily transpired into three or four. There are so many activities to do; meeting elephants, jungle trekking, canoeing, boat tours. The list goes on and on – I had a seriously tough decision to make!
I’ve heard it said that it can be tricky to visit Khao Sok independently (not impossible), yet being on an organised tour took the stress out of the experience.
Cheow Larn Lake Tour
It is incredibly difficult to describe the bewitching beauty of Cheow Larn Lake. Sailing along on an elegant long-tail boat through the stunning blue-green waters, against the backdrop of dramatic limestone karst cliffs. It is something that I wish everybody could experience.
Our guide told us a little about the history of the lake, how it was formed by the damming and flooding of a valley of dense rain-forest. Also commenting on the wildlife we could hope to spot during our stay – with a wide mischievous grin while using his arm to imitate a snake attack.
The boats travel at top speed across the gargantuan lake, ergo the majority of my photographs were covered with sprays of water and unfortunately had to be discarded. It is better to just be there, enjoy and live the moment!
The lake tour lasted around an hour, passing a tiny island where a lady in a sensational red ballgown was in the process of a photo-shoot – could you imagine a more picturesque spot? We eventually arrived at a little floating bungalow complex and within seconds of leaving the boat, there was only one thing to do – right?
After the 13 hour overnight train journey, plus the hour and a half required to get to Khao Sok from Surat Thani, a relaxing day by the lake was just what I needed. Lazing by the crystal clear water on a floating wooden platform, exploring hidden areas of the lake via kayak and eating until my heart was content whilst finding it impossible to stop taking photographs of the breathtaking surroundings. My time in Khao Sok National Park was a haven of tranquillity and quintessential indulgence.
Begrudgingly after an afternoon spent relaxing in the sun, it was time to leave and head to the accommodation for the evening. Along the way to *Khaosok Rainforest Resort a stop at Panturat Temple was in order. It’s one of several traditional temples in the area that have become popular with tourists wanting to see monkeys up close.
I assume that due to frequent contact with humans, the monkeys here have become desensitised to our presence… they have NO fear and will steal that banana right out of your hand if they get a chance!
Khao Sok National Park is an incredible destination in Southern Thailand and it’s no wonder why. A Cheow Larn Lake cruise is the true must-do activity and costs only 1800 THB / £40 (lunch, kayaks and national park fees included)