Thailand Series: Khao Sok National Park

Travelling through Thailand and want to explore the untouched nature of southern Thailand? Khao Sok National Park, famous for its rainforest and wildlife, is the place to go! If you’re planning on adding Khao Sok to your travels, check out our guide!

When is the best time to visit Khao Sok?

Located in the middle of the rainforest, it usually rains a little bit everyday. The dry season lasts from November to April but still make sure you’re prepared for a bit of rain! The wet season is from May to October and tends to pour down with rain a lot, especially in the rainforest areas! We went in low season and had a great time but it rained for the majority of the time we were there.  It was very quiet and not everything will always be open like they are in dry season. We would recommend going during dry season if you can but if not, you’ll still have a lot of fun during wet season!


How to get to Khao Sok National Park from Phuket

If you’re like us and enjoy doing things the cheapest way, we would recommend getting the public bus from Phuket to Khao Sok. It should cost around THB200 (£5) per person. It takes about 4 – 5 hours with a 10-minute stop at a small town for snacks and toilet break. However, if you’d prefer to get a private driver, it will cost you around THB2000 – THB3000 (£50 – £75) from Phuket.

Khlong Sok Town

From Phuket, the town is the first part of Khao Sok National Park that you’ll get to. It’s a small town with plenty of bars and restaurants, guesthouses, ATMS and mini marts. There’s not much to do around the town as it is used as a base for exploring the national park.

Cheow Lan Lake

The entrance to the lake is about 65km away from the town and this was, by far, the highlight of our trip to Khao Sok National Park. We would highly recommend doing the overnight tour with Smiley Bungalows, which costs around THB2800 (£70) including the park fee of THB300 (£7.50).  The tour consists of 2 days, 1 night in the scenic landscapes of the lake with jungle safaris, cave treks and adventurous jungle walks. Due to the bad weather when we stayed in the lake house, we had a change of plan and climbed up a sticky waterfall, which was great fun! It was definitely worth the overnight tour. The staff at Smiley were also very friendly and looked after us well throughout the tour! There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the lake, including day tours and doing it independently but we find that day tours can be quite rushed and going overnight isn’t much more expensive than a day tour after you’ve paid for food, etc.


Our itinerary for the overnight trip with Smiley Bungalows


8:00 –   Arrive at Smiley Bungalows for breakfast (included in the price)


9:00 –   Take the shuttle bus to the lake (with a 20 minute stop at 7-11 for snacks/money)

10:30 – Take a longtail boat to the lake houses (takes about an hour but the scenery is                        beautiful).

11:30 – Arrive at the lake house, check into your room, free time to swim, kayak and relax

13:00 – Lunchtime (rice, curry, fried vegetables, fresh fruit, etc.)

13:30 – Free time: you can use the free kayaks to explore, socialise, play games, go for a swim, etc.

15:00 – Get a longtail boat to a sticky waterfall (wear appropriate clothes for getting soaked). We didn’t realise we were climbing it so we weren’t prepared! We would recommend not bringing your phone, camera (unless it’s a waterproof camera) or a lot of clothes! The waterfall is only like this in wet season. If you go during dry season, you’ll get to go on a night safari.

Sticky Waterfall

18:00 – Return to lake house for a shower and to relax

19:00 – Tea time (rice, curry, fried vegetables, fresh fruit, etc.)

20:00 – Free time!


07:00 – Morning Safari – a boat safari where you look out for wildlife (we only saw hornbills because the weather was bad but it’s a great experience just hearing the gibbons calling in the rainforest.

08:00 – Breakfast

08:30 – Check out of  your room, store your bags in the common area

10:00 – Cave Trek (We didn’t do the main cave as it was flooded but the dry cave we explored was still a great experience).

13:00 – Lunch

14:30 – Longtail boat back to the dam

Khao Sok Lake

15:30 – shuttle bus ride back to town

16:30 – arrive back at Smiley Guesthouse (we got dropped to a nearby town instead as we were getting the ferry to Koh Samui)

Note: There are two fans in the lake houses but the power only turns on between 6pm and 6am. The bungalows are basic but clean. We had two queen mattresses on a platform, a loft and panoramic windows. There’s no wifi and no signal either, which we loved!

Smiley Lake House


~ Megan and Rowan ~

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