Khao Sok is no foodie destination but you’ll find enough traveller grub in Khlong Sok village to keep those legs trekking. Nearly every resort has its own restaurant—Morning Mist even runs a cooking class—and the village has perhaps two-dozen freestanding eateries and bars.
Unless going for Baan Khlong Sok’s lone street cart at time of writing, a skewered pork grill by the river, expect to shell out 300 baht for a decent meal for two.
The tastiest Thai meal we found in Khlong Sok village came at Lab Roi Et, whose proprietors hail from the province of Roi Et in the heartland of Isaan (Northeast Thailand). They did not hold back on heat or flavour in our nam tok, an herbaceous salad whipped up special on this day with chunks of roasted chicken rather the usual pork shoulder slices. The huge plate, served with a huge basket of sticky rice and any icy Thai iced tea, cost 150 baht. For dinner, the grilled chicken or pork with som tam is a satisfying way to go.
The village centre hosts several Thai spots and while the pad cha muu (stir-fried pork with fresh chilli, finger root and peppercorn) was decent at Pawn’s, we endured some tasteless misses from some of the other kitchens. One popular spot we did not try is Bamboo Bistro, which stays lively thanks to the Khao Sok Rasta Bar doing its thing upstairs.
You could always fall back on one of at least three pizzerias in the village. At one of the oldest, D’Apipino by the river, we thought the kitchen looked more Thai than Italian so we took a gamble on the tom yum pizza. Served messy with tender lemongrass and super-flavourful juice dripping from prawns with heads attached, we kid you not, it was probably the best meal we had in the area and a good way to refill after a long day in the woods.
Coco Bakery is a decent spot for fresh coffee and a brownie or muffin, perhaps while conversing with guests staying in the air-con dorms upstairs. For more atmosphere, Rafflesia Cafe in front of Riverfront Resort serves fresh coffee and reasonable breakfasts with a Sok River view.
Though you won’t find many people awake in the village after 22:00, those who can’t sleep often congregate at the Bob Marley themed Jumanji Bar near Nung House on the lane to Our Jungle House, or the tiny 401 Street Bar near the gate to park headquarters. You’ll also find a few larger bars showing soccer matches and offering full Thai and Western menus on the main village lane.
Up on Highway 401 you might find a local-style noodle soup or khao gaeng (curry and rice) stand doing business across from Wat Tham Phanthurat, and along the ensuing kms on the way to Chiew Lan Lake. Some 50 km east of park headquarters and 12 km south of Ratchaphrapa Pier, the day market in Baan Ta Khun sits right at the turnoff for the pier and is worth a stop for whole roasted duck, fresh fruit and curries—stock up and have a picnic at the viewpoint beside the dam. You’ll also find a Thai eatery at the pier, and each rafthouse property has a kitchen of its own.
Baan Ta Khun day market Across from Ban Ta Khun Hospital on Highway 401; Mo–Su: 06:00–16:00.
Bamboo Bistro and Khao Sok Rasta Bar Near Pawn’s, Ban Khlong Sok; .
Coco Bakery & Hostel 389/1 Moo 6, Baan Khlong Sok; T: (095) 263 6801; Mo–Su: 07:30–21:00.
D’Apipino Pizzeria Beside the river in Baan Khlong Sok; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Jumanji Bar Near Nung House on the lane to Our Jungle House; .
Lab Roi Et Moo 6 (close to the national park gate), Baan Khlong Sok; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Pawn’s Restaurant Moo 6, Baan Khlong Sok; Mo–Su: 10:00–21:00.
Rafflesia Cafe In front of Riverfront Resort, Baan Khlong Sok; T: (091) 037 6244; Mo–Su: 07:30–20:30.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.