Khao Sok: Hidden Gem of Thailand

Published on: January 12, 2021

Yuka recently traveled across the country and shares her experience and memories of Khao Sok National Park that she will cherish for a lifetime.

By: Yuka Manso

I think we can all agree that we are stuck in the best country during a global crisis. What I mean is that several luxury hotels are throwing out some amazing deals while interested travelers are not having to worry about famous places being too noisy and crowded, at least for a while.  Our family of four, composed of my husband, our 7-year-old boy, 4 -year-old girl, and myself took this perfect opportunity to visit places that were on our bucket list.

In September, we visited from the north to the south;  8 different provinces in 3 weeks and yes, we had a lot on our list! But how did I find those places?  I’ve been keeping my eyes open for cool places to visit since we moved to Bangkok two and a half years ago but some places seemed too hard to get to or simply too expensive before the pandemic.  I would like to share our experience at my most favorite place that we visited –Khao Sok National Park. It’s a rainforest with a great diversity of plants and wildlife, believed to be older than the Amazon. 

The main attractions of the park are Cheow Lan Lake, majestic limestone cliffs, waterfalls, raft houses, jungle trekking on foot, and canoeing in caves and rivers. You will be spoiled by all the choices! 

This national park still has many secrets hidden in its deep forest, yet to be uncovered. 

The park is easily accessible by public transportation and most people take one day tours from Khao Lak, Phuket, or Krabi. However, I strongly suggest that you stay at least two nights in this fantastic place.  We picked up a compact rental car at the Surat Thani Airport. A taxi or driver is a little pricey in Khao Sok National Park, so getting a rental car is the way to go if you have children with you.  That will give you flexibility and privacy, and saves you money. I believe we paid about ฿2,000 per day with a child car seat and full insurance coverage. 

We stayed for three days and two nights at Panveree Resort, a splendid floating house. I have to say, this is one of the most amazing and unique places we have ever stayed in Thailand. It’s in the middle of nowhere so it gets pitch black at night. It was nice and peaceful, and when it rains, you get to see this amazing fog on the lake which was just breathtaking. The water is not cold at all and my kids enjoyed swimming right off the back patio from our room. My husband and I sat on the porch after the kids went to sleep, and I think it was the first time we were outside and didn’t have to worry about mosquitoes in Thailand. The cell phone signal was very poor, but honestly, I really enjoyed not having it.

I think this resort is the most beautiful standard raft house out of five on the Cheow Lan Lake. You might think it’s not cheap if you only stay in the room but the service was great, including the free use of kayaks and all meals were included. They also give you three amazing tours to Coral Cave, Kao Sam Klur, and a morning safari so I feel it was definitely worth more than we paid. 

We stopped by two more places after checking out of the Panvaree Resort. 

The first was Nam Rad Forest Headwaters, just 40 minutes drive from the Ratchaprapa pier where you get dropped off. Make sure to bring your swimsuits and towels, as you won’t want to miss what’s under the crystal clear springs. It’s like an aquarium! My son and I were fighting over goggles since we only had one pair. The water was shallow enough for my kids and they also have canoes available for use.

Finally, our last destination, Thamma Park, is located 30 minutes from Nam Rad Forest Headquarters. I don’t know how Hollywood hasn’t discovered this place yet as it seemed like it should be in the movies.  There are five pagodas on the top of five hills. The stairs are steep and narrow so this is not recommended for small children, instead, we used our drone to explore. This place is famous for the sunrise, but we saw lots of fog around the pagodas in the late afternoon and it was gorgeous. 

We stayed in Khao Sok for three nights in all and I wish we could have stayed one more night.  There is a cool hotel named “Our Jungle House” and their rooms are on trees! We would have stayed there, but the only reason we skipped it was because their rooms do not have air conditioning. The weather was a little warm when we visited there.  I can totally see that it would be manageable during the cooler season.  

The rainy season is over and it’s an even better time to visit Khao Sok National Park now. Oh, did you know the largest flower in the world grows in Khao Sok too? Rafflesia blooms in the dry season and it only lasts for one week. Sounds exciting, right? 

Photos courtesy of the author.

About the Author

Yuka Manso is a mother of two and a photographer. You can follow her on Instagram @hnhphotographybkk or see her travels @hero_n_hun. She also blogs in Japanese at  

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