Photo: Very special.

How to do Khao Sok national park independently

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Though options for independent exploration in Khao Sok National Park are limited due to the park’s requirement that travellers be guided on most trails, you do not have to join the flock and book an all-in package tour. There’s plenty to do on your own and you can always take an independent approach by arranging trail guides and boat drivers only when needed.





The 739 square kilometre park is only independently accessible at two places. The first is the park headquarters area, or the “land section” at the far western end in Khlong Sok village, where buses drop off along Highway 401. The second is the launch point for Chiew Lan Lake, or the “water section” near Ratchaphrapa Dam and the town of Baan Ta Khun at the park’s eastern end. We know of one other way to reach the lake, but you’ll need a guide.

Go for a wander. Photo taken in or around How to do Khao Sok national park independently, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand by David Luekens.

Go for a wander. Photo: David Luekens

In the vicinity of park headquarters it’s possible to hike several km on two main trails unguided, and the park provides basic trail maps at the visitor centre. Those looking to trek further to Than Sawan, Ton Kloi and Sip Et Chan waterfalls can hire a park-provided guide for 600 baht per half day. Most park rangers don’t speak much English and often see themselves as guardians rather than guides, but the price is cheaper than if booking in the village.

At Ratchaphrapa Pier you’ll find prices posted for boat tours to Little Guilin plus one rafthouse. The cheapest and most popular costs 1,700 baht and stops at the park-run Nang Prai Rafthouse. For 2,300 baht you can go several km further west to Smiley Rafthouse, while a day trip to distant Khlong Saeng Rafthouse costs 4,500 baht. These prices are for the whole boat with a maximum of 10 people, providing great value for groups. It’s also possible to string together custom boat trips at the pier.

The lake is pretty special. Photo taken in or around How to do Khao Sok national park independently, Khao Sok National Park, Thailand by David Luekens.

The lake is pretty special. Photo: David Luekens

Staying on the lake independently involves a fairly straightforward process of booking a longtail boat to your rafthouse, where the driver will sleep in his boat and bring you back the next day for 500 baht extra. If you have no reservation, see if a staffer at the pier will check availability around ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
Cars and motorbikes can be rented in Khlong Sok village for cruising between the two ends of the park, or you could hire a driver for the day. Public buses stop in Baan Ta Khun, 12 km south of Ratchaprapha Pier, but no public transport is available from there to the pier.

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A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Khao Sok National Park.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Khao Sok National Park.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Khao Sok National Park.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Khao Sok National Park.
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 Planning on riding a scooter in Khao Sok National Park? Please read this.
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See below for more sights and activities in Khao Sok National Park that are listed on Travelfish.org.


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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Khao Sok National Park? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


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