Travel Thailand Surat Thani Province  


Khao Sok National Park (Surat Thani)
           The white dust of thin mist lingeringly floats over the limestone mountain range, In front of that is the wide expanse of water extending as far as the eyes could see. It is exquisitely beautiful as if it were a paradise in tourists' imagination who are seeking tranquility and beaury of the great nature.
         Khao Sok NationalPark is one of the utmost dreams of the tourists. This is due to its special characteristics, i.e,, being covered by evergreen forest or tropical rainforest which is recognized as one of the most perfect one in the world. Khao Sok has its evolution for over 100 million years. It is therefore abundant with various kinds of rare plants and wild animals. Some plants are of the world's rare species, i.e., Bua Phut, Palm Lang Khao, Mak Phra Rahu, and Chang Rong Hai.
          In the past, travelling to Khao Sok was not so convenient. By then Khao Sok was even more abundant, especially at Wang Thang area which is a part  of Khlong Sok located at the foot of Khao Phanthurat, It was told that if a piece of stone was dropped into the water at Wang Thang, there would be hundreds of fish coming up to the water surface, Folks believe that it was because of Phra Sang Thong's fish-inductive chanting magic.
       In the past, there was a village called "Ban Sop" located secludedly in the middle of the forest, "Sop" means corpse in English, Such a name was from a mountain shape looking like a female giant lying dead. The mountain was therefore called "Khao Sop" or "Khao Phanthurat." Later on Khun Khiriratnikhom has changed its name to Ban Sok. At present it is Khlong Sok Sub-district, Phanom District, Surat Thani Province.
        Khao Sok National Park is the 22nd on the proclamation list, It was made a National Park on December 22, 1980, covering an area of 645 square kilometres.
       The major parts of Khao Sok National Park are pointed limestone mountains having steep cliffs range. Geological formation, as called Karst, scatters all over the place. Limestone, dolomite-limestone, and dolomite in the Middle -Upper Paleozoic Era are commonly found. 
           Due to the dense forests, it serves as the origin of various big streams which nourish all life and villagers around the National Park. North of it is the origin of Khlong Phra Saeng while Khlong Sok is from the south. Both of them join  together to be Khlong Phum Duang which flows into the Tapi River Khlong Sok is also the source of several beautiful waterfalls such as Namtok Sip-et Chan, Namtok Bang Hua Raet, Namtok Ton Kloi, Namtok Ton Sai, Namtok Than Sawan, Namtok Mae Yai, Namtok Bang Pho Ta, and Namtok Bang Liap Nam.
      In general, the forest in this National Park is moist evergreen forest. Various kinds of valuable trees densely grow in mixture, The most important fact is that it is where the plants from the north dispersing to join with ones in the south. The National Park comprises three different kinds of forests, i.e., lowland moist evergreen forest, limestone mountain-ridge forest, and deserted farm or Pa Sai.
      Lowland moist evergreen forest is normally found in the area about 120-700 metres above sea level. The common plants are Yang Sian, Takhian Rak, Chik Khao, Palm Chang Rong Hai, wild ginger, and Put.
      Limestone mountain-ridge forest consists of dryness -tolerance trees such as Chan Pha, Kamlang Hanuman, Toei Khao, Kam Kung, Cha Ruesi, and Mara Phi Pluk.
          Deserted farm or Pa Sai is the area where the trees had previously been destroyed and desertedly left. The area has once again gradually become a forest. It possesses some pilot plants such as Tao Luang (Macaranga gigantea) and Krathum (Anthocephalus chinensis). In addition, there are Ya Kha (lmPerata cylindrica) and Yong (Neyraudia reynaudiana). 
           Addrtionally, there exist the world's rare plant species such as Bua Phut (Rafflesia kerrii), a symbol of the National Park; Palm Lang Khao or Palm Chao Mueang Thalang (Kerridoxa elegans), one of the twelve most endangered species on the world's list; Palm Phra Rahu (Maxburrettia furtadoana), an endangered species found only at Khao Sok, Thailand; Palm Si Sip or Krapho Si Sip (Licuala distans); and Palm Chang Rong Hai (Borassodendron machad,onis) .
             Due to the abundance of flora, it is therefore the habitat of more than 217 kinds of wild animals, especially serow and tapir. There are also big endangered mammals of serveral kinds such as Asiatic elephant, gaur, leopard, clouded leopard, binturong, Asiatic black bear, flying fox fruit bat. More than 174 species of birds are found. Many of them are rare such as peregrine falcon, great argus pheasant, crested fireback pheasant, and red-crowned barbet, As for reptiles, there are about 68 species such as soft-shelled turtle, lizard, monitor lizard, blood python, and indochinese rat snake. Some endangered species are also found, for example, spiny terrapin, black jungle monitor, and blue long-glanded coral snake.
          There also exist diverse kinds of amphibians, about 26 species in number, such as giant Asiatic toad, red small toad, and giant mountain frog. Various kinds of freshwater fish are also available, for example, Siamese rock catfish, botiafish. silver sillago. etc.
        A variety of nature activities could be done at Khao Sok NationalPark such as trekking, boating in the reservoir, rapids shooting, biking, and wildlife watching. Due to an abundance of the National Park, tourists may see numerous wild animals or even their footprints of lesser mouse deer, wild boar, serow, and Asiatic elephant. The interesting routes are Namtok Wing Hin -Namtok Ton Kloi, Namtok Sip-et Chan, Phae Nang Phrai, Phae Ton Toei -Tham Nam Thalu, and Thung Khai Han.
           Boating in the reservoir is a long-tail boat riding in the Ratchaprapha Dam, The destination is at Phae Nang Phrai, Phae Ton Toei, and Phae Krai Son. Rapids shooting can be done by using rubber loops or canoes shooting along curving Khlong Sok.
         Biking is also an enjoyable activity. By biking around the National park, tourists will have a chance not only to see various kinds of plants but also to enjoy the spectacular scenery.
 Making a trip
Buy car: From Bangkok, take Highway 35 around 80 kilometres until reaching Wang Manao Junction. Then turn left to Highway 4. At Phunphin Intersection, turn right to Highway 401 (Surat Thani -Takua Pa). Passing Kilometre 109, observe the sign leading to Khao Sok National Park. Then turn right along the laterite road around 1.5 kilometres.
Buy bus: The Transportation Company Limited provides both VIP and au-conditioned buses. For more informa­tion, contact the Southern Bus Terminal, Tel. 0-2435-1200.
Buy train: The Sprinter, express and rapid trains are avail­able. For more information, contact the Bangkok Railway Station, Tel. 0-2223-7010, 0-2223-7020, Or contact the Surat Thani Railway Station, TeL.0-7731-1213.
Buy plane: The Thai Airways International provides Bangkok -Surat Thani flight. For more information, contact TeL 0-2628-2000.
Khao Sok National Park provides 4 lodges containing 30 persons, Camping area is avallable at Bang Hua Raet. Moreover, there are some private rafts around Ratchaprapha Dam. For more information, contact the National Park Division, Royal Forest Depart­menr, Tel. 0-2579-7223, 0-2579-5734, 0-2561-4292-3 ext.724, 725, Or contact Khao Sok National Park, P.O. Box 118, Mueang District, Surat Thani 84000, TeL 0-7729­-9150.