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Khao Sok, Thailand

Floating houses, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Limestone cliffs, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Treehouse, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Above: Floating houses, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
  • Floating houses, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
  • Limestone cliffs, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
  • Treehouse, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Khao Sok is located in the Surat Thani province of Thailand and covers an area of approximately 739 km2. The park is covered by one of the oldest evergreen rainforests in the world.

The park was established in 1980 but the history of the area dates back much further than this.

50,000-37,000 Years Ago
There is evidence of human habitation on Borneo dating back to between 37,000 and 50,000 years ago, and the last ice age ended approximately 10,000 years ago meaning that there is a strong possibility that there could have been migrants travelling between Borneo and Thailand (by land) at this time. The habitat in both of these locations is similar enough to have been able to support these people. There is also biological evidence that migrants travelled to Thailand - a species of bamboo found only in cultivated areas of Borneo has been found in Khao Sok growing wild. It is very unlikely that this species of bamboo could have travelled between Borneo and Thailand without being carried by humans.

The 1800's
The first accounts of people living in Khao Sok were during the reign of King Rama II. When the Burmese attached many of Thailand's coastal areas, the local people fled inland to the jungle for safety. News soon spread that the jungles were teeming with life and fertile soils, because of this, more people came to live in the area.
A deadly epidemic swept through the area in 1944, killing much of the population, those who survived moved away from the area. Because of this, the village became known as "Ban Sop" - Village of the Dead.

In 1961, the 401 road was opened which links Surat Thani and Phangnga. The road opened up the whole area to new settlers, but with them came de-forestation - the wildlife was in trouble. Because of the industry that began to grow in the area the Sok River began to turn brown with sediment.

The 1970's
During the 70's a group of Thai students who had joined with the communist insurgency group set up base in the park, this was an ideal place for them to hide. Between the years 1975 and 1982 the students managed to keep the Thai Army at bay, and also the loggers, miners and hunters. Because of this 7-year occupation, the rainforest began to recover. During this time the government also realised the true jewel it had in the rainforest, and that it was worth protecting.

22nd December 1980
Khao Sok was declared a National Park.

Rajjaprabha Dam was built which closed of the Pasaeng River and created a 165 square kilometre lake. The dam also became a source of electricity for the south of Thailand, which had by now become a major tourist destination.

Present Day
Khao Sok continues to be one of Thailand's major tourist destinations. The rainforest, which is said to be older than the Amazon in parts, attracts tourist from all over the globe. There are so many activities to do within the park such as elephant trekking, canoeing, jungle trekking or observing the array of wildlife that the park is home to.

The park is home to many mammals such as the Bamboo Rat, Barking Deer, Clouded Leopard, Elephant, Gibbon, Leopard, Mouse Deer, Malaysian Sun Bear, Tapir and Tigers. In addition to the mammals, the park is also home to hundreds of amphibians, birds and arthropods. The flora of the park is also amazing, nothing more so that the scarcely see Rafflesia flower who's blooms can reach a diameter of 90cm.

When visiting Khao Sok with Thailand Uncovered, you will spend an exciting night staying in tree houses right up in the forest canopy before travelling to Lake Raja Phraba for a night in a raft house.

Note: These accommodations may vary depending on the tour that you choose.

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