Khao Sok National Park is located in the southern peninsula of Thailand as part of the Surat Thani Province. The park covers an area of 285 square miles (739 sq km) of which includes 63 square miles (165 sq km) that are accounted for by Cheow Lan Lake.
The exquisite rainforest and mountainous area are further protected by the neighboring Sri Phang Nga National Park. This adds another 1,544.41 square miles (4,000 sq km) of protected wilderness.
The park features a rainforest that is older and more diverse than the Amazon Rainforest. Bamboo and Liana trees are heavily represented in the forest. Fruit is plentiful with durian, jackfruit, jujube, mangosteen, pomelo, rambutan, and wild bananas topping the list.
Some of the popular wildlife of Khao Sok National Park include the Asian elephant, tiger, tapir, bear, deer, wild boar, mouse deer, barking deer, gaur, and white-handed gibbons. It is home to the only known amphibious centipede. The king cobra, reticulated python, and flying lizards are some of the reptilian species that people may find intriguing but most would rather not encounter.
The serenity is what brings most people to Khao Sok National Park. The lakes, karsts, and waterfalls lead people to a natural state of relaxation. Of course, the heart starts racing if you have the opportunity to experience the Asian elephants, tigers, or sun bears in the wild.
Canoeing and bamboo rafting are everyday experiences on the Sok River, providing both exercise and scenic views of the national park. Local guides can take the more adventurous trekking through the jungle in hopes of experiencing wildlife in a more personal way.
The sun bear is a dark bronze-colored bear that usually has a copper-colored ring around the front of its neck and on its face. It is the smallest of the bear species reaching heights of around 28 inches (70 cm). It can weigh between 55 to 143 lbs (25-65 kg).
The sun bear is a tree lover and will sleep, eat, and relax in the trees. It is an excellent tree-climbing bear and is the most tree-living of any bear species in the world. The koala bear, which surpasses it, is not a bear.
Asian Elephants are the largest wildlife species in Asia, reaching heights of 9.0 feet (2.75 m). The females are shorter, reaching heights of about 7.9 feet (2.4 m). It is smaller than its African cousin but is still a remarkable beast with many of the same characteristics.
The tusks can get as long as 5 feet (1.5 m) but are usually a little short than that. They can weigh as much as 90 lbs (41 kg) but are usually a little less than that. One of the unique characteristics is that these elephants often have a predominant tusk being either left or right tusk focused.
Things To Do:
At times you may feel like you are in the setting of Jurrasic Park or King Kong. The rainforest and moutainous landscapes are stunning. Here is how you can enjoy the national park:
Exploring the jungle on the back of an elephant is a remarkable way to discover what the park has to offer visitors. Take in the sights and keep your eyes open for wildlife while you trek on the back of the earth's largest land mammal.
Khao Sok National Park Trails:
The majority of people engage the national park through guided safari tours. However, there are trails available to add to the adventure. The majority are rated moderate and give people an excellent taste of the jungle area.
Ton Kiol Waterfall Trail
This is a trek through the thick jungle while also ascending 1,748 feet (532.79 m) over the 8.0-mile (12.87 km) hike. The forest is a fantastic experience that culminates in the astounding Ton Kiol Waterfall. There a chances to see wildlife and wildflowers as you meander through the thick bamboo and forested area. Birdwatching is another popular activity in the park that people love to engage in.
Chieo Lan Lake Trail
This moderate rated trail ascends 2,194 feet (668.73 m) over 7.9 miles (12.71 km) which is the epitome of the jungle trek. Hikers will meander through the forest with a variety of scenic views. Wildlife and wildflowers may add to the adventure. Views of a lake are one of the highlights of the hike.
Wing Hin Waterfall
This is a potential third adventure into the forests of the park. The ascent is not as high as the other trails, but it does cover a distance of 5.1 miles (8.20 km). The trail does ascend 800 feet (243.8 m) while meandering through the thick jungle. Wildlife may be spotted throughout the trees and wildflowers may be encountered along the way. The highlight of the trail is the waterfall located at the end of the trail.
Khao Sok Highlights
- Tiger, Asian elephant, and sun bears
- Boating from waterfall to the lake
- Diamond cave and Khang Cow Cave
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- Lonely Planet, Khao Sok National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/lower-southern-gulf/khao-sok-national-park, retrieved August 2019.
- National Geographic, Sun Bear, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/s/sun-bear/, retrieved July 2020.
- Thai National Parks, Khao Sok National Park, https://www.thainationalparks.com/khao-sok-national-park, retrieved August 2019.
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- World Wildlife Fund, Asian Elephant, https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/asian-elephant, retrieved July 2020.