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Khao Sok National Park & Floating Bungalows

Ultimate Guide: Khao Sok National Park & Floating Bungalows

The Surat Thani area of Thailand isn’t talked about as much as Phuket or Koh Phi Phi. However, it’s home to a hidden gem that you shouldn’t dare miss – the Khao Sok National Park and its floating bungalows!

You definitely need to tick this off your bucket list, along with some other points of interest around the park. Let our ultimate travel guide give you some tips to make your visit here much more enjoyable! 

Best Time to Go

The best time to visit Khao Sok Thailand is from November to February. During this period, the weather is generally cool and comfortable with little to no probability of rain which means your travel plans won’t be hampered as much.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect the cool season here to actually be that cold as Thailand is still a tropical country and will mostly be sunny and warm during these months.

Visiting during the dry season (March to May) also has its advantages (e.g. less chance of rain) but you might find it hot most days. While Khao Sok is dotted with rainforests, the lush greenery of the region won’t stop you from feeling the heat during this period.

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai

Calling Code: +66

Address: Khao Sok National Park

Price:

  • 300 THB for adults
  • 150 THB for children
  • Plus 20 THB pier service fee per person

Tips for Your Khao Sok National Park Trip

  • Book 2 to 3 nights: Spending two to three nights in the park will enable you to enjoy everything the site has to offer.
  • Bring some extra clothes: In case you get dirty while interacting with the elephants of the park, it would be wise to have clean clothes at hand.
  • Bring some Swimwear: Pack some swimwear as well, especially if you’re planning to go swimming, canoeing, or kayaking on the lake and river of Khao Sok National Park.
  • Pack some long sleeves: Make sure you have some lightweight long sleeves with you when you travel to this venue. Trekking through the jungle can get really nasty if your arms are left exposed while walking through shrubs and branches.

How to Get to Khao Sok National Park

Plane: Getting to Khao Sok National Park from Bangkok is best done if you go by plane. Just take a flight to the Surat Thani Airport and you can just choose the next transport option you prefer to get you to the site.

Sleeper Train: Taking a sleeper train is also a great way for you to enjoy the sights while travelling from Bangkok to the park. The trip will cost around 1,000 to 1,600 THB and will take around 11 hours– perfect if you want to take in that beautiful rural scenery.

Bus: Riding a bus to the park is one of the most affordable ways for you to get there. You can take one from the Surat Thani Airport at just 120 THB (2 hours travel time) and there’s also one coming from Phuket which costs around 160 THB (4 hours travel time).

Minibus: Taking the minibus is a bit more expensive than choosing a public bus but it’s definitely going to be much more convenient for you and your group as you can arrange to be picked up from the lobby of your hotel.

The minibus to the national park will cost you around 350 THB per person and will only take around 3.5 hours including a few stops.

Taxi: Taxis are the most convenient, comfortable, and fastest way to get to Khao Sok National Park. In addition, most of these taxis will be available in major towns such as Krabi, Ko Lanta, and Phuket, which means you won’t have a hard time finding one.

Things to Do at Khao Sok National Park

Go on a kayak tour on the park’s lake

Khao Sok National Park is home to Cheow Lan Lake, the area where the floating bungalows are located. This is one of the main reasons why tourists visit this park and you shouldn’t miss some of the water activities you can do here while at Khao Sok.

One of the best things you can do on the lake is go around the area on a kayak while admiring the surrounding landscape. You’ll be treated to gorgeous scenes of mountains, woods, and greenery that we’re certain you’ll never forget.

If you decide to do the kayak tour here, we recommend going right after sunrise or just before sunset. The changing colours of the sky are just fantastic and something that you need to take photos of! 

Take some jungle cooking lessons

Taking a cooking class in Thailand is one way for you to immerse in the culture of the country but taking a cooking class in one of its jungles means being one with nature and the traditions of its people. Here at Khao Sok National Park, you can do just that!

For this jungle cooking lesson, you can request a local family to teach you how to prepare authentic local dishes that are simple but delicious. You’ll also learn how to properly plate the dish you prepared using indigenous materials (e.g. banana leaves).

The climax of this all, of course, is you get to sample your own creation! Once you’ve learned how to cook a local dish, it’s time to dig in and enjoy the result of your hard work– bon appetit!

Interact with the elephants of the park

The elephant of Khao Sok National Park is one that you will surely fall in love with thanks to its humane treatment of older elephants. Most of these majestic creatures are senior elephants and are cared for by the staff of the elephant sanctuary.

You can join in when the staff cooks the elephants’ meals or you can simply give them some treats such as fruits. Afterward, you can give these gentle giants a mud bath and a good scrubbing to make them feel loved and welcomed.

As an ethical and humane elephant sanctuary, you need to keep in mind that riding these elephants is a big no-no. Instead, just take photos of or selfies with them to keep as a souvenir of your trip to Khao Sok.

Book a floating raft house overnight

The floating raft houses or “bungalows” of Khao Sok National Park are the star of the show here and are something you must experience when in this part of the country. The floating raft houses are located in the Cheow Lan Lake deep within the jungle.

If you book a night in one of these bungalows, you’ll experience the joy of waking up in the middle of the jungle while floating calmly on the lake! This is a divine experience if you ask us, and nothing can beat seeing the sunrise from this viewpoint!

You can also just enjoy the 360-degree view of the jungle and the lake’s horizon as the sun begins to show up. The melodious sounds of wildlife in the area are definitely a plus especially if you or any of your family members love the great outdoors. 

Tour the national park

While the floating bungalows are the main attraction of the park, you can tour Khao Sok National Park itself and be amazed at all the things you’ll see here. You can go on a day tour to check out the surrounding area of Cheow Lan Lake.

There’s also an opportunity for you and your group to spot some wildlife (such as gibbons and other types of monkeys) if you hike through the forest. You can then enjoy the walk back from the jungle and back to the lake to interact with the locals in the area.

If you want to learn more about the local cuisine and culture of the people living near the lake, then you can have dinner in one of the floating villages here where you’ll get served local dishes. It’s not only informative but it’s also an unforgettable experience!

Swim in the park’s lake

Kayaking isn’t the only thing you can do at the park’s lake. If you need to cool down, you can also try swimming in its calm waters while enjoying the captivating mountain and forest views surrounding this spot. 

What’s more, if you booked an overnight stay in one of the park’s floating raft houses, you only need to step out of your room and jump right into the refreshing water of the lake! 

We’re sure that you’ll appreciate how the water of the lake is cooler near your toes and warmer as you get near the surface– the temperature is just right! Plus, you’ll also get the chance to see some of the resident wildlife around the site like snails and monkeys.

Explore the park’s caves

Khao Sok National Park is home to two popular caves: Coral Cave and Kaew Cave. To get to these caves, you have to hike through the jungle for about an hour, but we guarantee it’s worth it!

You’ll want to explore and take pictures of them thanks to the natural rock formations inside each of them. Watch out for insects though as there are a lot of them here, adding to the cave’s genuine and local allure!

Observe that a clear stream passes through these cave systems. It’s surreal just listening to the steady flow of these waters while you make your way through the dimly lit caverns.

Visit the Guilin “Three Brother” Rocks 

A visit to Khao Sok National Park isn’t complete if you don’t visit the Guilin Rocks. It’s named as such because of its similarities to a rock formation located in China also referred to as Guilin.

The views around the rocks are fantastic as the natural formations jut out from the lake. It’s one of the best spots for you to take photos of when in the park, especially during the day as the rocks are much more emphasised by the clear blue sky!

Where to Stay near Khao Sok National Park

Panvaree Resort

Address: แพพันวารีย์ เขื่อนรัชชประภา 122 ม.3 เขาพัง Ban Ta Khun District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand

Phone: +66909915995     

Pricing: $$

Book Now

This mid-range resort is ideal for you if you’re travelling with family and if you appreciate a good location. Panvaree Resort offers spacious rooms good enough to house a large family.

More importantly, though, it’s located near the lake so you get great views of the surrounding jungle and the lake’s calm waters. You and your kids might also spot some wildlife here such as elephants and monkeys – a real treat for animal lovers.

The resort also offers a great buffet spread for breakfast which is perfect if you want to get your family ready for a wonderful day of activities ahead. You can then head back to the hotel after your tour of the area to enjoy some dinner filled with tasty local dishes! 

500 Rai Floating Resort

Address: รัช ช ประภา Khao Phang, Ban Ta Khun District, Surat Thani 84230, Thailand  

Phone: +66 77 953 013     

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

500 Rai Floating Resort might be pricey but you’ll surely get your money’s worth thanks to its luxurious and elegant rooms and facilities. It’s located right in the middle of a lake so you’ll get an unobstructed view of the beautiful scenery surrounding the area.

It’s a romantic and magical spot indeed but the resort’s rooms are large enough to accommodate a family of 4. So, if you’re planning to bring your family to this relaxing resort, then your stay here should be a comfortable and memorable one!

The best part for us is that each room you book comes with its own kayak. You don’t need to rent a separate kayak each time you want to paddle around the lake with your loved ones or friends!

Magical Mountain View Resort

Address: 292/1 Moo 7 T, Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand  

Phone: +66640172361     

Pricing: $

Book Now

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy your stay near Khao Sok National Park. Magical Mountain View Resort can offer you great accommodations near the national park as well as other establishments in the area such as stores and restaurants.

The views at this resort are breathtaking and you can take advantage of some of the packages being offered by the hotel such as bamboo rafting and trekking tours. Don’t hesitate to ask hotel staff about how you can avail of these services.

They also make sure that you start your day right by giving their guests an extensive array of local and Western dishes. Who knew that eating bacon together with some Pad Thai is something you’d recommend especially before heading out for the park?

Panvaree the Greenery

Address: Ratchaprapha, Khao Phang, Ban Ta Khun District, Surat Thani 84230, Thailand   

Phone: +66891320007     

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

Here’s one of the priciest hotels in the area but still think it’s worth every penny as you’ll get the experience of a lifetime at the Panvaree the Greenery. Several attractions are nearby which means that you can access the lake and the caves without any issues.

The views around the hotel are stunning with the length of the lake spread out before your room and cliffs jutting out of the water. You can also use their paddle boards and kayak for free if you book a room with them– ideal if you want an all-in-one package!

Panvaree the Greenery is also a great place to chill and indulge in some of the best local dishes near Khao Sok National Park. Portion sizes are quite generous and you can enjoy these while you’re relaxing in your room and taking in the views!

Coco Hostel Khao Sok

Address:  389/1 Moo 6, Klong Sok, Phanom, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand

Phone: +66643979525     

Pricing: $

Book Now

Coco Hostel Khao Sok is another budget-friendly hotel you can check out if you’re planning to visit Khao Sok National Park. It can offer you some great rooms with fantastic views of the lake thanks to the private balcony provided for each room.

Aside from that, it offers some of the best and most comprehensive tour packages for its guests. You can book a tour of the lake, a night safari, and some cave trekking, among others.

The property is also quite close to stores, shops, an ATM, and even a massage parlour. You don’t have to travel far to get your essentials and cash if you choose to book at this affordable hotel!

Where to Eat near Khao Sok National Park

Khaosok Mountain View

Address:  WJ2G+8HV, Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand

Phone:  +66 91 770 8054

Pricing: $

Khaosok Mountain View is the perfect restaurant for you if you’re on a budget and if you want some delicious local meals with a great view of the mountain. You’ll also appreciate the unique way their dishes are served where they use bamboo plates!

Khao-Sok River Canoe

Address: JXH+R2W, Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand  

Phone:  +66 86 120 3189

Pricing: $$

Website

This restaurant serves some delicious Thai cuisine right beside the river where you can watch other tourists enjoy their canoeing adventure. You can order some great Thai dishes here such as fish fillets, sweet and sour chicken, and sauteed vegetables!

Khao Sok Italian Thai Bistro (Saithip)

Address: 262 Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand

Phone: +66 82 277 8397  

Pricing: $$

This restaurant is a hidden gem in the Khao Sok area as it serves some of the most flavourful Italian dishes in the area. We recommend that you order their pizza for your main course before capping off your meal with their delicious fried banana!

Khao Sok Rasta Thailand

Address: 192 5, Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand 

Phone: +66 95 425 0475  

Pricing: $

Here’s another establishment serving fantastic Thai food right beside the lush greenery of the national park. You could try their delicious Pad Thai and papaya salad while looking out towards the jungle where you might spot some wildlife like monkeys.

Rafflesia Cafe

Address: 230, Khlong Sok, Phanom District, Surat Thani 84250, Thailand  

Phone: +66 77 395 159   

Pricing: $$

This unique restaurant offers some delicious Thai food with a great view of the river but with a twist– it has some board games you can enjoy while enjoying your meal! The best part though, is that they serve some great vegetarian dishes you can try out.

What to Expect from Thailand Weather

Cool Season: Thailand’s cool season (also known as ruedu nao) covers the months of November to February. During this time, the weather is just perfect for tourists as it is cool and comfortable enough for you and your family to tour the area.

However, the months of December and January of the cool season can bring in large throngs of crowds due to the New Year’s celebration. Expect heavy traffic and prepare to do some itinerary planning to make the most of your time during these months.

Hot Season: The hot season (also called reudu ron) in Thailand runs from March to May. The air can be especially dry during these months and this is also the hottest season here – Chiang Mai can experience temperatures of up to 37C!

If you visit during April, you’ll notice a very festive vibe across Thailand as locals will be celebrating their Thai New Year or Songkran. To cool down, you can engage with the locals in some good old-fashioned Songkran water splashing!

Rainy Season: The months of June to October are mostly rainy (reudu fon) here in Thailand. August and September are the worst in terms of rain as heavy downpours can happen all throughout the day during this period.

You can still enjoy your time here despite the rain as the temperature is definitely much more comfortable compared to the summer season. Also, expect the greenery to be much more lush – perfect if you want that vibrant green background in your selfie!

Apps to Download for Your Trip to the Khao Sok National Park

Grab: Ride-hailing, food, grocery, and delivery services

iOS | Android

Bolt: Ride-hailing app

iOS | Android

Line: Call and messaging, file sharing

iOS | Android

Klook: Book tours, attractions, tickets, restaurants, hotels, and other activities

iOS | Android

Agoda:  Book hotels, flights, and other activities

iOS | Android

Google Translate: Translate various languages

iOS | Android

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