Khao Sok National Park, in the Southern part of Thailand, offers an amazing diversity of sceneries from lush rainforest to limestone hills rising from the lake, wild animals and much more. If you are looking for an active trip book your tickets to get there, you’ll enjoy trekking, canoeing, boat tours, elephant rides, and many more activities.

How accessible is it from Singapore?


The total door to door journey takes 8 hours 20 minutes from (your home/office in) Singapore to your hotel room on the lake in Khao Sok Park. Note that the last 1,5 hour on boat is actually more part of the experience than the transfer but still we included it in the estimation. You could consider that the transfer stops at the pier and the actual visit starts on the boat.
You could (we did) fly on Friday night, stay close to Phuket airport and get picked up saturday early morning to drive to the pier. You will need a minimum of 2 days (Friday evening to Sunday evening) to enjoy Khao Sok. Alternatively take an early flight from Singapore to Phuket. 3 days or more will give you more time to explore more of the lake and do more activities (such as trekking, kayaking, etc)

How much is this going to cost us?


Thailand is relatively cheap and there is the tourist visa on arrival is free for most nationalities.

Transport from Singapore will cost you from  SGD 775 return for 2 pax. This includes the air tickets and the car transfer (2900 return per van)
Accommodation we would recommend you stay one night upon arrival in Phuket close to the airport and get transportation arranged by an agency to come pick you up there. You can find many hotels from 50 SGD to many more but this will be for a short transfer.
Tour package: many agencies arrange tours with boat, hotel on the lake. We booked a 2 day / 1 night tour for THB 4700 per person. You can find cheaper or more expensive tours. The key difference will be the level of comfort of the hotel you stay at on the lake (ours was basic with rustic bungalows with shared bathroom, no fan or aircon and basic bed). Tours include boat transfer, boat tour, trekking, kayaking, guide and meals. You will need to pay your drinks extra. We booked with these guys: info@khaosoklake.com and the tour was good (accommodation was very basic as expected).

How remote and risky is it?

Thailand is reasonably equipped in terms of infrastructure. However, the lake is bit remote and finding a good hospital in case of accident would be a challenge. At your hotel, chances are there will be no medical support (none had zero) so you will need to take a boat back to the pier and then drive to get decent support. Treks are well run with no major risks. Check the safety equipment (raft, kayak, life jacket, etc) provided when you take a boat tour or join tubbig (it’s overall OK).

What about the kids?

The main activites in Khao Sok are treks and boat tours or tubing so the destination is not ideal if you are travelling with infants or young children (but you can always do something else). Older kids would love the jungle trekking, elephants and the tubing. Sleeping on a floating house in the jungle in a middle of a huge lake may be seen as a great adventure or a scary moment (depending on your child:). To be honest, we have not seen young children on the lake.

When should we go?

The best period to visit Khao Sok National Park and avoid the rain season are the months of January, February, March, April, November and December. Refer to the chart in the sidebar for details about the monthly average rain volumes and rainy days.

Connections from Khao Sok

Khao Sok is a good standalone destination for a weekend from Singapore. A combo with Phuket would be good idea since you will need to fly through Phuket airport anyway. You could also go visit nearby Khao Lak for a beach destination. Otherwise, Thailand is full of great places you could visit if you have more time…

Getting from Singapore to Phuket

There are many daily direct flights from Singapore (SIN) to Phuket (HKT), low cost companies such as Jetstar, Tiger Airways or AirAsia will bring you there in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Example:

Getting there: Tigerair: Friday 8:00 AM (SIN) – 8:55 AM (HKT)
Coming back: Tigerair. Sunday 7:50 PM (HKT) – 10:45 PM (SIN)
Return ticket from SGD 225.

Get your tickets NOW to enjoy the best fares.



Getting from Phuket airport to the Khao Sok National Park

You can get to Khao Sok by bus or private car / taxi.

  • By taxi (faster, more expensive), the journey will take you about 3 hours and costs around TBH 2900 . You can ask to share a taxi at the airport and share the cost as well.
  • By public bus (cheaper, longer), you will need first need to get from the airport to the city center bus station and then take the bus to Khao Sok. Buses (with air con) run from 7AM. The total journey will take 3h30 to 4h and it will cost you BHT 400.

Where to stay in Khao Sok

There is a wide range of accommodation, from the backpacker lodge (for less than BHT 300) to nice resorts either in the center or on the lake side (for BHT 1800). Check the best deals by booking with the agoda box below. If you want to enjoy a remote place for a few Baths, sleep in a bungalow on the top of a tree and be totally immersed into nature, give a try to Evergreen House (they can also arrange treks). You can book with

or, if you prefer, with

To see & to do in Khao Sok National Park

A few ideas of things to do and see.

You will need to pay a THB 300 park entrance fee per adult (THB 100 for students) to enter the park.
If you arrive from Phuket, we suggest you jump right into the action and go to your hotel on the lake. Your tour guide will arrange boat tours, kayaking, trekking based on your wishes.

Jungle trekking

There are treks to accommodate everyone’s wishes (and fitness), from 1-day to 3-day treks. Guesthouses and hotels can arrange the trek for you, they offer various options with local certified guides.

The ‘1-day trek to the lake‘ is a must do if you don’t have much time. In the early morning, you’ll take a mini bus for 1h (groups are up to 8 persons), then you board a wooden motor boat and enjoy a 1h tour to floating village-hotel. Crossing the huge Cheow Larn Lake is a really nice experience. The lake is beautiful with its majestic limestone mountains rising hundreds of meters above the crystal clear turquoise waters. There you’ll have 1h or so to swim, relax, sunbath… a delicious lunch with many Thai dishes (good fish) will be served. After that, it starts to get serious: you’ll walk for 3 to 4h in the lush rain forest then you’ll experience 1h in a cave with bats, spiders… Be prepared to get your shoes wet and even to swim sometimes! The tours start at 8AM and end around 7PM.  It will cost you about THB 1400

Elephant ride

You can also book an elephant trek that lasts 2h for THB 800 or a jungle-only trek for THB 950.

Canoeing, tubing and bamboo rafting

Located at the heart of the National Park is the beautiful Cheow Larn Lake. Your hotel or guesthouse can arrange canoeing, tubing, bamboo rafting, fishing activities. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy this remote place (still) quite preserved from mass tourism.

Sleep in a floating house

Spend 1 or 2 nights in a floating house on the Cheow Larn Lake is a unique experience. You’ll be in total harmony with nature. There is a whole range of options from cheap guesthouses to luxury floating houses.

And of course, the usual massage, motorbike tours in the region, etc

In Khao Sok main road, many massage places to heal your feet or your back after a long trek in the jungle. Approximately THB 300 for a Thai massage.

More info to prepare your trip

Wifi will be available in most of the hotels or guesthouses. However, during your trek don’t expect to get an internet connection – There is no Wifi in the jungle (yet).

What to pack for Khao Sok

Your main bag

That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.

  • Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
  • Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
  • Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which  you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
  • Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
  • Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
  • Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
  • Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
  • Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
  • Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
  • Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
  • Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
  • Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
  • Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
  • Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.

Your small bag

That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.

  • Your passportcashcredit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag  in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
  • Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
  • Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
  • Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
  • Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
  • Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit  and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
  • Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
  • Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
  • Camera and its protection.

Beach pack

Remember that this one comes on top of the Regular pack (above)

  • Beach towel or equivalent (pareos / sarongs are lighter)
  • Snorkeling equipment: mask, scuba, (fins?)
  • Shoes you can wear on the beach or in the water (to protect your feet from being cut by corals)
  • Dry bag if you plan to go on a boat and want to keep your stuff dry.

Well, you will probably adjust your bag after a few trips. Remove the stuff that you have not used and add the one that you missed. Post a comment to share your tips!

Happy packing (it’s the worse part of the trip but it’s worth it…) and travelling!

Thailand

Thailand

  • Language: Thai.
  • Time zone: Bangkok and across the country GMT +7  hours.
    1h behind Singapore
  • Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
  • Phone: + 66
  • Electricity: 220V 60 Hz

Immigration and airport taxes on arrival

If you are a citizen from the following countries, you possess a passport with at least 6 months validity, and you are staying up to 30 days, then you do NOT need any Tourist visa to enter Thailand.

  • Visa exemption rule applies for: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
  • If you hold a passport from another country, you will need to apply for a visa on arrival at the airport customs. A visa for 15 days costs 1000 Bahts.

National Public Holidays in Thailand

2015

January 1 New Years Day
March 4 * Makha Bucha Day
April 6 * Chakri Day
April 13 Thai New Year
April 14 Thai New Year
April 15 Thai New Year
April 16 Thai New Year
April 17 Thai New Year
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 * Coronation Day
June 1 * Visakha Bucha Day
July 30 * Asahna Bucha Day
August 12 H.M. Queen’s Birthday
October 23 Chulalongkorn Day
December 5 H.M. King’s Birthday
December 10 Constitution Day
December 31 New Year’s Eve

* check the exact date on this website as it varies from one year to another.