I chose the word tranquility to describe Khao Sok National Park because it seemed to perfectly summarize how I felt while I was there. From the lush rainforest, to the sparkling, blue lake, to the dramatic limestone cliffs- the beautiful scenery amazed me and the silence left me feeling serene.
Khao Sok National Park is located on the Andaman Coast in Surat Thani Province, near Phuket and Krabi. The park covers roughly 650km and is a nature-lovers paradise. It’s the perfect spot to escape the chaos of nearby party spots like Koh Phangan for some peace and quiet. There are also many activities to choose from if you want to stay active including, walking and hiking trails, night safaris, kayaking, and canoeing.
The first day I stayed at Smiley Bungalows, which is a beautiful property surrounded by lush jungle.
I took the hotels Sok River Tubing tour, which involved slowly floating along the calm river while taking in the beautiful scenery. The ‘guides’ allowed us to purchase beer before we drove to the river, and they packed a large cooler to bring during the tubing excursion. They held onto the cooler as we floated down the river and opened the bottles for us so we could grab a beverage whenever we felt the need.
For the second and third nights of my stay, I traveled over an hour by longtail boat to reach Smileys Lakehouse. The lakehouse is a small, floating raft house with 11 bungalows and a tiny bar/restaurant. It feels like it’s located in the middle of nowhere- surrounded only by the emerald lake and the beautiful limestone cliffs. Power is provided only between the hours of 5pm and midnight and there is no other light source in the area. It’s an amazing place to gaze and admire the crystal clear sky and the vivid stars, as there is not a single trace of light pollution.
During the day I went kayaking and took a long hike through the jungle. The guides were like real life jungle-men and stopped to chop open a piece of bamboo so I could sip the fresh rainwater inside. One guide also crafted a sling from tree vines to hold my water bottle- which was impressive and so useful.
We eventually came to a large cave and hiked through that as well. It was actually fairly challenging as we had to crawl through narrow crevices and wade through waist-deep water at certain points.
Khao Sok was such a refreshing change after being on the bustling island of Koh Phangan. It was a little slice of scenic and isolated paradise, and it was the perfect place to stop and catch my breath between the constant travel during my month in Thailand.
I would highly recommend visiting Khao Sok if you’re looking for untouched beauty, stunning scenery, and some peace and quiet- or if you just need to recover from the craziness that is the Full Moon Party.