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Khao Sok Ultimate Guide

Unveil a side of Thailand beyond the famous islands, mesmerizing temples, and crowded Bangkok. Prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime in Thailand’s gem that has been hiding in plain sight all along: Khao Sok National Park.

In this Khao Sok guide, we will take you through this rainforest wonderland, featuring towering limestone cliffs, morning swims in Cheow Lan Lake, elephants roaming free, and viewpoints that will leave you in awe. And how does it sound to wake up in the heart of it all? The Khao Sok floating bungalows await to provide you the ultimate relaxing getaway.

Let us guide you into the heart of the jungle and off the beaten path, with everything you need to know for a memorable experience in your back pocket.


Things To Do In Khao Sok

Khao Sok is one of the oldest rainforests in Southeast Asia, dating back millions of years, but only designated as a national park in the 1980’s. The park itself is huge, and has an incredible variety of fauna and flora, with gibbons, elephants, tigers, hornbills, and others, calling the lush green jungle and imposing limestone formations their home.

khao sok lake and national park from above

If you are looking for unforgettable experiences you have found the right place. Here are some of the best things to do in Khao Sok:

Spend the Night in a Floating Bungalow

Board a long-tail boat, and cross Cheow Lan Lake (Khao Sok lake) in a journey of a bit over one hour to reach the perfect accommodation in Khao Sok: the floating bungalows of Khao Sok National Park. This is the best way to fully experience what the park has to offer and disconnect from the world (literally, as there is no cellphone service here). Kayak along the morning mist of Cheow Lan Lake, admire wildlife from your porch, swim until the sun comes down, and join as many trekkings and boat tours as you wish.

best khao sok floating bungalows where to stay with pool and restaurant from above
couple hugging at sunset in one of the floating bungalows khao sok national park

If you wish to experience a stay at one of the Khao Sok floating bungalows, we believe 2 nights is the sweet spot. We stayed at 500 Rai Floating Resort*, and it was the most beautiful surroundings we have ever woken up to.

Jungle Trekking

Khao Sok has treks of all lengths and difficulty levels, catering to various tastes (though an inclination toward walking is necessary for all😂). With a bit of luck, you can spot some of the amazing Khao Sok wildlife, such as monkeys, bats, and hornbills. While there are predators and some creepy crawlies in the natural park, they usually hide so well that you won’t see them even if you try – trust us, we tried SO HARD to spot a leopard.

water buffalo by the river shore seen in one of the khao sok national park tours
hornbill on a tree commonly seen in the cheow lan lake tours

You can join a Khao Sok trekking tour, or in some cases, venture solo, but bear in mind that some trails are not well-maintained and the forest is extremely dense. When in doubt, ask at the national park office for a guide. Here, you can also book guided night hikes. Most of the best trails start near Khao Sok village, where at the entrance of the park, there is a map showing all the best routes.


There are leeches in the jungle, mainly in the rainy season, so wear boots or sneakers when hiking and cover as much of your legs as possible.

Jungle trekking might be one of the best things to do in Khao Sok, but choosing just one hike will be the tricky part. Here are some of our top choices:

Hike to Track Down a Rafflesia

Khao Sok National Park is one of the few places in Thailand where the Rafflesia, the world's largest flower, can be found. It only blooms for a short period of time, typically 3-5 days, usually between December and March. So, if you are around at the time this is without a doubt one of the top things to do In Khao Sok.

Rafflesia in full bloom is one of the top things to do in khao sok

Hike While Chasing Waterfalls

Khao Sok has beautiful waterfalls to discover. Probably the most popular hike is to Ton Kloi Waterfall, a beautiful one-level waterfall with a strong flow of water year-round; Wing Hin Waterfall awaits for the more adventurous hikers willing to get off the beaten path; and Tan Sawan Waterfall needs you to be all into chasing waterfalls, as it is a full-day hike to reach this beautiful multi-tiered cascade reaching 70 meters in height.

Hike Up to Kri Sorn Viewpoint

Join one of the Cheow Lan Lake tours and make sure they stop for a hike to Kri Sorn Viewpoint. Located on top of a vertical limestone mountain, this is a 1h30min slightly uphill hike. Oh but if only it was done after that 1h30min! The real challenge comes at the end with some climbing involved. However, you will be rewarded with bird’s eye views over the lake and its mesmerizing surroundings.

Hike Around the Cheow Lan Lake

The Khlong Pae Trail, also known as Chieo Lan Lake Trail, offers hikers stunning views of the Khao Sok lake. It is typically completed in around 4h30min, and is considered moderately challenging.

khao sok national park bungalows view at sunrise with a beautiful pink sky

Hike From Cave to Cave

Each Khao Sok cave is a world of its own. To reach some you will be half submerged in water, for others, you may manage to remain dry but will need a boat to get there, and a couple of them request strenuous hikes through the dense jungle. Which means that what you need for this adventure will vary, from a swimming suit to mountain boots, water shoes, a towel, and perhaps even your mom for moral support. One thing is for sure: you should visit them with a guide and a torch (usually the guide brings torches, making it a great 2-for-1 deal).

man in one of the many wildlife khao sok tours

Tham Nam Thalu and Pakarang Cave (Coral Cave) are the most impressive of them all. However, none of the Khao Sok National Park tours include both caves in a single day, so keep this in mind when deciding how many days you want to spend here. Tham Nam Thalu boasts beautiful limestone formations and a subterranean stream (expect to walk on water, and possibly swim a few meters to reach it), while Coral Cave is known for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites, some of which resemble coral formations, hence its name.

If these hikes don’t fill your trekking quota, visit the nearby Khlong Phanom National Park, known for its Big Tree Trail (spoiler alert: there are large trees there). The whole trail takes around 2 hours in a loop, and the entrance fee for Khlong Phanom National Park is 100 baht.

Make the Most out of Cheow Lan Lake

One of the highlights of Khao Sok is the beautiful Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand's largest freshwater lake, covering an area of 185 square kilometers, with an average depth of 40 meters. It blew our minds to find out that the Khao Sok lake was man-made, with the construction of the Rajjaprabha Dam in 1982, as a source of hydropower. To this day, remnants of the villages that once existed in the area lie at the bottom of the lake.

woman sitting at a floating bungalow of 500 rai floating resort khao sok thailand at sunset

While you can join any of the one-day Cheow Lan Lake tours to enjoy its indescribable beautiful landscape, we don’t advise it, as they tend to be overpriced, overcrowded, and a bit rushed. To properly explore Cheow Lan Lake, spend the night at a Khao Sok floating bungalow. On your way, make a quick photo stop at the famous 3 rock formation of Khao Sam Kloe, and save some time to join a safari boat ride (offered at dawn and sunset) to try to spot wild boars, monkeys, elephants, water buffalos, and hornbills.

man in a private khao sok lake tour

While we personally had zero problems with mosquitos (and they usually are our biggest fans), apparently they can be quite intense in some areas of the National Park, so take repellent with you to be safe.

Khao Sok Tours

As you probably already realized from the list of best things to do in Khao Sok, most of the activities require you to join a tour or, at least, to have a guide. Nevertheless, there are Khao Sok National Park tours for all budgets.

Khao Sok National Park has an entrance fee of 300 baht (€7.60) for adults and 150 baht (€3.8) for children, plus a 40 baht municipality fee, which is not included in the majority of tours and needs to be paid in cash. The fee is valid for multiple days only if you are staying inside the park, at any of the floating bungalows of Khao Sok.

park ticket office showing how much Khao Sok National Park is Worth It

How to Book the Best Khao Sok Tour for My Budget

Budget Friendly Option

Get to Cheow Lan Lake via scooter from Khao Sok Village, or by van from Surat Thani. Once there, go to the information point at the pier and check the 1-day Cheow Lan Lake tours available for you to join, as well as 2-day/1-night packages with a stay at humble Khao Sok floating bungalows. For a few extra euros, you can get pretty much the same deals at Khao Sok Village travel agencies if that is where you are staying and want to book prior to heading to the pier.

group in a khao sok wildlife and boat tour

If you are a big group, it might be worth heading to the pier and trying to negotiate directly with the longtail boat drivers, as they usually charge per boat and not per person. Prices typically range from 2500 baht (€63) for a 3 hour tour.

Average Price: 2,500 baht (€63) for 2 days-1 night tour package (including activities and meals). Longer stays are also available.


Medium Comfy Option

You can purchase a Khao Sok National Park tour from Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak, or Surat Thani, with everything sorted out for you, including transfers, which will save you time and guarantee a smooth experience. Alternatively, you can book the floating bungalow in Khao Sok National Park of your choice for as many days as you wish and then arrange the tours you are interested in via your accommodation. If you want to pack as many tours during your stay as possible the package often is the most affordable option, but it comes with less flexibility.

Khao Sok National Park seen from above with its lake and jungle

If you opt for the Khao Sok floating bungalows, consider booking a van to Cheow Lan Lake yourself, which can cost as low as €3 from Surat Thani, rather than relying on a hotel transfer, which typically averages around €15 per person.

Average Price: A 1-day tour package with transfer from cities like Krabi or Phuket usually starts around €90.

Here are a few recommended Cheow Lan Lake tours with transfers for you to consider:


Let me Pamper Myself Option

If all the hiking, wildlife watching, and lake tours sound great, but you want to experience it all wrapped up in a luxurious package, complete with one of the most premium Khao Sok National Park floating bungalows – featuring your own private bathroom, air-conditioning, full board of delicious delicacies and all the tours you dream of, then a place like 500 Rai Floating Resort* is what you are looking for. They offer a swimming pool, floating dining pavilion with varied menu, massage services, activities catering for families, and more.

man at a restaurant of one of the floating bungalows in khao sok
man by the pool of one of the best khao sok national park hotels

If a big part of the experience for you is the accommodation in Khao Sok we would recommend you book directly the hotel of your dreams. They will contact you with the tour menu and transfer options, allowing you to book everything with them without having to worry about a thing.


As an alternative, or if you don’t have as much time, consider booking a private day tour or a shorter package that includes a one-night stay only. These are some options that might suit your needs:


How To Get To Khao Sok

Most travelers skip this absolute Thai natural wonder as it is known for being super hard to get to, as if you had to take 10 buses, 2 helicopter rides, sit on a donkey in the scorching sun for 10 hours, sit on a sinking bamboo raft, and walk 5 more minutes to get there. Which, it isn’t the case!

khao sok private tour on the lake

Getting to Khao Sok National Park is quite easy, with the nearest airport and railway station being Surat Thani. Nevertheless, traveling from places such as Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi and even Bangkok is not only possible but also fairly straightforward. You can arrange your entire journey at one of the many local travel agencies or comfortably online.

If you wish to go straight to the Cheow Lan Lake pier, make sure to ask to be dropped off at Ratchaprapha Dam, while if your plans are to spend the night at Khao Sok village, you want to stop as close to the Khao Sok village center as possible. This is important as these locations are around 65 km apart.

Surat Thani to Khao Sok

From Surat Thani to Khao Sok is a 1h30m to 2 hours van or bus ride, with tickets from €6 per person. You can also go by taxi or private transfer. Click here to find the best option for you*.

Khao Lak to Khao Sok

From Khao Lak to Khao Sok is around a 2 hour bus ride (tickets from €7). You can also go by taxi or private transfer. Click here to secure your transportation of choice*.

Krabi to Khao Sok

From Krabi to Khao Sok is a 3h40m van ride (tickets from €10), and about one hour less by taxi or private transfer. Get your ticket for your transportation of choice here*.

Phuket to Khao Sok

From Phuket to Khao Sok is approximately a 4 hour bus ride (tickets from €9), or slightly faster by van (tickets from €22). You can also go by taxi or private transfer for a more premium price. Click here to find the right alternative for you*.

Bangkok to Khao Sok

From Bangkok to Khao Sok you have three main options: a direct 15 hour bus journey* (for about €20), flying (1h15min duration)* or catching a sleeper train (approx. 11 hours) to Surat Thani*, and then a van to Ratchaprapha Dam or Khao Sok Village*. This option would be a total of about €21, with a bed in a 2nd class fan train carriage. Click on your preferred option to see more details on the journey.

thailand night train that goes from bangkok to suratthani which is one of the best ways how to get to khao sok

Accommodation in Khao Sok

You will find a nice range of accommodation in Khao Sok that covers all budgets and needs, from affordable guesthouses in Khao Sok village to luxurious jungle retreats. And let’s not forget the iconic Khao Sok National Park floating bungalows.

floating bungalows  which are some of the best accommodation in khao sok

Khao Sok Village Accommodation

If you decide to stay overnight in Khao Sok village you won’t need a super package deal, as there are plenty of local restaurants and services available. This is usually the best option for travelers on a budget or that are not that into sleeping on top of water. Here are some of our top recommendations where to stay in Khao Sok village:

the bliss boutique lodge best budget friendly hotel in khao sok village
Tanoshi Glamping best hotel in Khao Sok Village
Anita Dream House best luxury hotel in Khao Sok Village

Khao Sok National Park Bungalows

When staying at the Khao Sok floating bungalows, a package deal is extremely convenient due to its remote location. Typically, these include all meals (drinks not included), some or all activities, and transfers upon request.

couple waving and doing paddle boarding at a khao sok resort

For those of you asking: sleeping on a floating bungalow is not like sleeping on a boat. You may experience a light rocking movement while inside, but it's generally not enough to cause seasickness. However, if you are not a big fan of boat rides, keep in mind that reaching most bungalows requires about a 1-hour journey on a longtail boat. Nonetheless, the journey is usually quite smooth.

What to expect from a…

Budget floating bungalow in Khao Sok: Probably made out of bamboo, with a shared bathroom, with no AC, and depending on how budget-friendly, no fan either. Limited electricity throughout the day, with charging stations in the common areas for your electronics, and no internet access.

bamboo budget khao sok national park floating bungalows

Luxury floating bungalow in Khao Sok: Higher standard bungalows with hardwood interiors, AC, private bathrooms, and varied a la carte menu.

room of a floating bungalow in one of the best khao sok hotels
breakfast on one of the all inclusive hotels in khao sok national park
luxury khao sok national park accommodation

Here are some of the best Khao Sok floating bungalows:

panvaree the greenery floating bungalow khao sok
500 rai floating bungalow resort in khao sok

You won’t find the most budget-friendly options on the usual booking platforms. Click here to be redirected to a website that lists all the pros and cons of these bungalows. You can contact them directly or at least know which one to ask for at the local travel agency you visit.

When to Visit Khao Sok

Don’t let anything stop you from visiting Khao Sok National Park! It is a year-round destination, but if you want to make the most of it, we recommend you go anytime between December and April. During this time, the weather is dry, with plenty of sunshine, perfect for all the outdoor activities the park has to offer.

khao sok national park in a cloudy morning seen from above

The rainy season is between May and November, and while the downpours are more frequent, they usually don’t last long. The park is enveloped in lush greenery during this time, but as it is not ideal for trekking, you may not enjoy it as much as you would like.

Planning Time

If you are ready to start planning your next trip, here you have all the usefull links you need to make it happen! By using them you are supporting our work as we might get a small fee from it. But hey! You pay the same (or might even get a discount), so is a win-win situation!

This applies to all the links in this website marked with a *

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