The Khao Sok National Park is a rainforest considered to be older and diverse than the Amazon rainforest. The Cheow Lan Lake which was formed by the construction of the Ratchaprabha Dam lined by the surrounding limestone karst formations is a part of the park.
Getting here: Surat Thani is the closest big town to get here. Surat Thani does have an airport so you can fly in from Bangkok and then take the minivans from airport to the park. Phuket is another option. We did this park on our way from Ko Samui to Phuket, so had a ferry minibus combined ticket and got dropped off at the minibus stand at Khao Sok. Wikitravel does have detailed ways of getting here from various places.
What can you do here ....
You can spend anywhere from 2-4 days at the national park especially in summers as the jungle is really beautiful.
1. Cheow Lan Lake tour with the limestone krasts (1 day)
2. Trek through the jungle (1 day)
3. Night safari at the jungle in summers
4. Sok River tubbing or canoeing trips (half a day)
The Cheow Lan Lake tour along with trek in the jungle is the most famous tour offered. Most guesthouses will be able to get you booking for the tours. The tour involves pick up from the place of stay, long boat ride which will pass through the limestone krasts, halt at the craft-houses and lunch here, a 2-3 hr trek through the jungle to the caves and drop back to the hotel. Another variation on this trip is a 2 day option with stay at the craft-houses packaged in. The overnight stay at the lake in the rustic very basic craft-houses run by the locals is an interesting option to choose although the craft-houses do not give you views of the limestone karsts. The craft-houses are very basic with common toilets outside, but the lake here is very nice for swimming or kayaking. The jungle trek, depending on the time of visit, the entry to the caves in the jungle varies as the caves will be flooded during rainy season.
We took the day tour of the lake with the trek into the jungle. The boat ride in the Cheow Lan Lake was amazing with the magnificent limestone karsts views as we went further into the lake. We has a quick stop at the craft-houses with few of them in our group attempting the swim followed by a quick lunch. After this we headed for the jungle trek. With it being the monsoon season it was an experience walking through the slush, crossing so many small rivers and then entering into the cave which had almost chest level water. My first experience of venturing into a narrow cave with water in it, totally enjoyed it.
It rained the whole time we were here. So on day 2 we opted to go on a canoe ride in the Sok river. You can also go tubbing here and enjoy the river. Its quite a pleasant small ride through the river, did not see any birds maybe we should have started earlier for this. Saw some kingfishers and a few monkeys.
During the summer season you can opt for night safari. Also an option during summers is a full day trek through the rainforest. With one day getting totally drenched in rain and slush I had no intention to trek the forest in the rain again, so instead we just relaxed at the hotel where we were staying and enjoying some of the yummy Thai food that they had on offer here.