If you’re reading this because you are thinking about visiting Khao Sok then let me tell you, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED! This national park was our favorite tour we did in Thailand. If you are looking to get away from the city life and chill out in some floating huts in the middle of a lake, then you’re headed in the right direction.
THE DETAILS- Where we stayed: Jungle Hut Guest house and Smiley Raft House Length of visit: 2.5 days Highlights: Caving, Jungle Hikes, Boat tours, National Parks, Wildlife
We left Bangkok on a short 45 minute flight to Suart Thani airport costing us $30 ea. plus a split taxi. We then boarded a small mini bus that winded us through the most picturesque villages shadowed by limestone cliffs and delivered us at our Jungle Hut accommodation.
The Jungle Hut guesthouse is situated right at the edge of Khao Sok village, it’s surrounded by a young jungle ecosystem and the property ends at a flowing creek. The common area is lofted and open air with hardwood tables where you can enjoy cold drinks and fresh food while looking out to the mountains of the park. All of the guest houses are stilted, giving you a view of the jungle and national park. We were lucky enough to get one of the two huts that have a balcony over the creek. This balcony served as the most epic viewpoint for a monsoon storm that rolled in late afternoon. The Jungle Hut partners with Floating Smiley Lake House located about 20 KM from the lake pier. The only way there is by long tail boat! Our hosts were able to book us a tour of the national park and lodging at Smiley Lake House.
At 9AM the next morning we loaded up our adventure gear and dry bags and headed for the lake. We did a quick stop by the market where you can pick up snacks, hiking shoes, headlamps, dry bags, and use the restroom. Next, we arrived at the lake pier and boarded a traditional thai long tail boat. Pro-tip, try to sit near the front of the boat as the motors are very loud. Our boat cut through limestone cliffs jutting up through the clear waters. We cruised for over an hour and enjoyed jaw dropping views of the cliffs and jungle, finding it hard to even comprehend the beauty! We landed at our huts, checked in to our rooms and enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch. With full bellies we lounged about in the hammocks, kayaked the lake, and jumped off our floating porches.
We loaded up in the boats again and headed for a Jungle Trek and Cave tour. The trek took us through evergreen rain forest, dense with Bamboo and Som Pok trees. After multiple stream crossings and wading through puddles of thick jungle mud we arrived at the cave entrance. Standing in the middle of a creek we strapped on headlamps and prepared for the journey through Nom Ta Lu cave, meaning river running through. Since a river runs through the middle of the cave we would go from walking to wading and downright paddling at points. The cave was so vastly different in that in areas we would be squeezing through rock chutes while ducking our heads, then climbing on top of wide smooth shelves with the ceiling some 50 feet above us. Our guides took care to point out the palm sized spiders, sleeping bats, and jumping crickets! It was truly Jungle adventure in all senses.
After returning to the raft house we were cooked a fresh fish dinner shared family style with our fellow travelers. We stayed up late drinking cold beers from the bar.
In the early morning we watched thick clouds of fog part over the calm waters, parting to expose the dense bamboo and towering cliffs. As the sun cut past the tallest cliff it cast a salmon pink glow over the jungle. We spent the rest of the day touring the lake by boat and stopping at another cave. After returning to the dock we headed back to the Jungle Huts where we arranged a mini bus to take us to Krabi.
Khao Sok was such a special experience and left us refreshed after the dizzying streets of Bangkok. If you are looking to spend some serious time chilling in nature then you will not be disappointed.