What is Khao Sok
Khao Sok is a national park in Southern Thailand about 2 1/2 hours north of Phuket. It was established in 1980, it is a rainforest where the basin was flooded and created a 739 square meter lake. The lake is surrounded by limestone or “kaust” mountains that jet up our of the water.
Find the national park website here
How to get there
Coming from Phuket is the easiest. Taking a bus would be a long painful ride but a cheap option. We found driving in this side of Thailand very easy. We rented a car from the Phuket airport and drove around southern Thailand we ease. Car rents are pretty cheap as well, we paid $100 for one week. Well worth it to have the flexibility to explore on own.
Where to stay & what to do
You can stay inside the the park at little cottages on the lake. For families with little kids this was a bit to rustic. For older kids or sans kids this would be a fabulous adventure. This article by Wandering Soles was very informative about staying overnight on the lake.
We stayed in The hotel Khao sok and Spa. There are plenty of cute bungalow type hotels on booking.com
This hotel was very friendly to our children and had a cute little restaurant on site, breakfast was included but convenient for dinner. We were able to book our long tail boat exertion from the hotel as well.
Long tail boat ride
Long tail boats are a very Thailand experience. It was a fun way to see the lake. You are close to the water and feel the breeze on off the lake. Things we did not expect; the seats are hard and uncomfortable (the ride is 2 + hours), the motor is very very loud. We sat in the in the middle but the roar of the engine made our ears ring.
After a 2 hour ride around the lake we stopped at the boathouse for lunch. The lunch was a typical Thai lunch with rice, chicken and fish. There were sodas and chips to buy if you wanted.
There are kayaks that everyone can use. We loved this. We paddled around and saw monkeys swing from the trees. Everyone took turns and we had plenty of time to kayak as long as we wanted.
Half of the group left while we kayaked and did a jungle trek. We normally would have gone even with our kids but the guide told us it was to dangerous for the small kids. After the group got back they told us that they hiked through 4 feet of water into a cave. Older kids would love it.
There are no leaches in the lake, so you don’t need to worry about that.
We really enjoyed our time at Khao Sok. This national park is off the beaten path and isn’t over run by tourists. We only had one and half days but wish we had more. There were a few hikes we wanted to do but didn’t have time. I would recommend 2-3 days minimum to get the most out of your time in Khao Sok.
-Russ and Ashley