Last Updated on July 13, 2022 by Natalia
Thailand’s beautiful Khao Sok National Park is best known for the impressive Cheow Lan Lake, but there are some other great things to do in Khao Sok too. The national park is home to some lovely nature, so it’s definitely worth visiting for at least a few days to see as much of it as possible! There are a number of different tours and activities to enjoy in Khao Sok National Park – from spotting animals on a night safari to tubing down the River Sok. Day tours or overnight trips to Cheow Lan Lake are particularly popular – with the latter offering the chance to stay in one of Khao Sok National Park’s floating bungalows! Make the most out of your visit with this guide to the best things to do in Khao Sok National Park!
Wondering where to stay in Khao Sok? Make sure to read our guide to the best places to stay in Khao Sok National Park!
How to get to Khao Sok National Park
It’s possible to get to Khao Sok National Park quite easily from a number of spots in Thailand including Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Surat Thani and Phuket. Prior to the pandemic transport was available from other places like Koh Phi Phi, but until tourism increases these routes are unlikely to start up again.
To get to Khao Sok from Koh Tao or Koh Samui you will need to take a ferry and then a van transfer. The journey is slightly longer from Koh Tao and so the only way to do it in one go is to take an overnight ferry and then a van transfer the following morning. Alternatively, it’s possible to arrive into Khao Sok by mid-afternoon if you take a morning ferry from Koh Samui and then a van transfer.
Direct van transfers to Khao Sok are available from Surat Thani, with the journey taking around 2 hours and costing 450 baht per person. Transfers are also available from Phuket Airport, which should cost 850 baht for the 2½ hour journey.
The easiest way to arrange your transport to Khao Sok is to book via the 12GoAsia website. We regularly book our bus and ferry tickets through 12GoAsia and find they generally have the best prices, and it’s convenient to be able to book within a few minutes instead of having to ask around at local travel agencies.
If you’re trying to get to Khao Sok from an area that doesn’t currently have any shared transfers available on 12GoAsia then it’s worth asking local travel agencies. It may be the case that there are no direct routes to Khao Sok, in which case you may want to change your plans slightly to get there via a more convenient route.
Best things to do in Khao Sok National Park
One of the most fun things to do in Khao Sok National Park is to go tubing on the River Sok. If you don’t already know what tubing is, it’s essentially using an inner-tube (a kind of heavy duty rubber ring) to float as the current takes you down along a river.
The current isn’t too strong most of the time, so it can be quite relaxing just laying in your tube and letting the water take you. There are a few small sections of rapids where the current will take you a bit faster, but it’s nothing too intense!
Tubing is a fun way to see some of the beautiful nature in Khao Sok, and if you’re lucky you may even spot some monkeys and snakes in the trees by the side of the river. If you fancy enjoying a drink then you can even take a few beers with you as you go tubing down the river – but if you do then make sure to keep hold of any rubbish so that you can put it in a bin once you’ve finished tubing.
The water levels of the river vary depending on the time of year, so the current may be a bit stronger if there’s more water. When we visited the water levels were quite low – and if that’s the case you may need to even stand and carry your tube along in some of the shallower parts of the river.
As well as being a lot of fun, tubing also happens to be one of the cheapest things to do in Khao Sok – with prices starting from 400 baht per person. The easiest way to book a tubing trip is to ask at your accommodation, who should be able to help arrange this for you.
Tubing along the River Sok takes around an hour before you reach the endpoint, at which point you will be driven back to your accommodation. As this section of the river is not within the national park you don’t have to pay an entrance fee, which makes it a great budget activity in the area.
One of the best things to do in Khao Sok National Park is to go on a night safari to discover some of the park’s amazing wildlife. These safaris take you on a guided walk through the jungle in the dark, with your guide helping to spot any animals along the way.
Khao Sok National Park is home to an impressive range of species, including tigers, leopards, elephants, Malayan sun bears and much more. These bigger species are very rarely seen – which is probably for the best when on foot!
During a night safari in Khao Sok you have a good chance of seeing tarantulas and snakes, and if you’re lucky you may get to see a civet. As with any safari you need a bit of luck, but we were fortunate to have a great sighting of a civet making its way through the jungle treetop.
Night safaris start from 400 baht per person for a 2 hour walk, plus an additional 300 baht per person for the entrance fee to Khao Sok National Park. If you plan to visit the famous Cheow Lan Lake then you can save this ticket and use it the following day to avoid paying the entrance fee twice. The ticket is only valid the following day, so a good way to save money is to do a night safari the day before visiting the lake.
As with most tours in Khao Sok, you should be able to arrange them through your accommodation. If you would prefer to book in advance though, we recommend using Get Your Guide as they offer a guided night safari. Prices through Get Your Guide start from as little as 1,000 baht per person, but if you want to book in advance for peace of mind then sometimes paying the extra is worth it!
Day trip to Cheow Lan Lake
Taking a trip to the stunning Cheow Lan Lake is perhaps the best thing to do in Khao Sok. It’s the most picturesque spot in the national park, and so a visit to the lake is a must do when in Khao Sok!
If you’re staying near the national park HQ then the best option is to visit Cheow Lan Lake on a day trip. Alternatively, you can actually stay at a floating hotel on the lake if you want, which we cover more in the section below.
The scenery at the lake really is incredible, in particular the towering karst cliffs. It’s such a beautiful spot that we personally thing it’s one of the unmissable things to do in Khao Sok National Park!
Prices for a day trip from near the Khao Sok National Park HQ to Cheow Lan Lake start from around 1500 baht per person. These trips will include return transport, a boat trip on the lake, a visit to a floating resort, and usually a stop at a cave and a small hike in the jungle.
Tours can be arranged through a hotel or agency near to the national park HQ, but if you’d prefer to book more in advance then you can do so through the Get Your Guide website. They offer a couple of different tour options, which are slightly more expensive, but if you want to guarantee your spot on a tour then it can be worth paying more for the peace of mind.
There is an entrance fee of 300 baht for visiting Khao Sok National Park, but if you do a night safari the day before your trip then your ticket will still be valid and you won’t have to pay again. Despite this, there is an extra entrance fee of 20 baht for visiting Cheow Lan Lake.
Stay in an overwater bungalow at Cheow Lan Lake
One of the most unique things to do in Khao Sok is to spend the night in one of the overwater bungalows at Cheow Lan Lake. Staying at the lake gives you more chance to relax and enjoy the area’s amazing scenery after the day trippers leave for the day and before they arrive the following morning.
There are a number of floating hotels and resorts at different spots on Cheow Lan Lake. Some of the accommodation options are fairly basic, whilst others are more luxurious and even have a swimming pool – so it should be possible to find something to suit your needs and budget.
One of the highlights of staying at one of the floating hotels is that you can go kayaking to see some of the amazing scenery of Khao Sok National Park. Most hotels offer free use of kayaks for their guests, so there is no additional cost to explore more of the lake.
If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel near the national park HQ then you can arrange an overnight tour to stay in one of the floating hotels on the lake. Prices for an overnight tour to Cheow Lan Lake start from as little as 2500 baht per person.
To stay in one of the more luxurious floating hotels you will need to spend more. One of the best hotels at Cheow Lan Lake is the amazing 500 Rai Floating Resort, which offers stunning scenery and a lovely swimming pool. If you want a truly unforgettable experience then it’s worth paying more to enjoy an unforgettable overnight stay in this incredible spot!
If tubing isn’t up your street but you want to explore the river, then a canoe trip is one of the best things to do in Khao Sok. Canoe trips along the River Sok follow the same route, but this way you can stay dry whilst you enjoy the area’s wildlife and scenery.
One of the main advantages of taking a canoe trip is that it’s a bit easier to spot the wildlife. A guide will both row and point out any animals along the way – and it’s quite common to see both monkeys and snakes in the trees.
When tubing it can be a little hard to spot the snakes sleeping in the branches, but with a guide it’s a lot easier! We personally recommend taking a canoe trip and going tubing, and if you do the canoe trip first then you will have a better idea of where to spot snakes when you go tubing.
Canoe trips in Khao Sok start from 700 baht per person, and the trip lasts around an hour. Alternatively you can book online through Get Your Guide, but prices are a little more expensive – starting from 1,000 baht per person.
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Khao Sok National Park, to discover the area’s beautiful nature. As well as being home to some fascinating wildlife, the park has some lovely waterfalls and caves to discover.
There are a few different hiking trails in Khao Sok, including the Ton Kloi Waterfall Trail and the Cheow Lan Lake Viewpoint Trail. One of the more common routes from the national park HQ is the Ton Kloi Waterfall Trail, which leads you through the jungle to a pleasant waterfall.
The best way to find out about hiking trails in Khao Sok is to ask at your accommodation, as they should be able to tell you up-to-date information in case any of the routes are flooded. We also recommend downloading maps.me (an offline map app) to help make sure you’re following the correct trail, as the route isn’t always the most obvious.
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do any of the main hikes in Khao Sok, but from what we’ve heard the nature is lovely. As most of the hiking trails are in the national park itself you will need to have a valid entrance ticket, which costs 300 baht per person.
Some of the hiking trails can be done without a guide, but in some instances you may prefer to have a guide to help. Get Your Guide offer both half-day and full-day trekking tours in Khao Sok National Park if you want to arrange a guided tour in the park.
Click here to book a half-day trekking tour on Get Your Guide or if you’d prefer a longer hike then click here to book a full-day trekking tour!
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