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Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok is also spelled Khaosok: 
It has been called the most beautiful National Park in the world and we fully agree. 
In Khao Sok National Park nature lovers find dense jungle, small and rather moderate waterfalls, beautiful hiking trails along streams and a nature trail.
Many rare mammals live in the forests of the national park among them are elephants, tigers, leopards, Asian black bears, gaurs and serows – however, they can be stalked only during jungle trekking lasting several days. If you are lucky you may see more easily warans, gibbons, wild bores, flying squirrels, squirrels, otters and hornbills. 
A popular hiking trail
A 6 km hiking trail leads to six waterfalls and to the Tang Nam Gorge where you can have a good swim. The trail runs along the Sok River, the first three kilometers on a sandy or dirt track (after that there are toilets and a stall for drinks) and only after Bang Hua Raed it becomes really interesting, therefore it is better to start early. The bathing place at the Bang Liap Nam Waterfall is the highlight of the trail. The way home can be long.
A more strenuous hike
A demanding climb (4 km) leads from the headquarter to the north along Bang Laen River to the 11-step Sip-Et Chan Waterfall, where you can swim in a pool from May to December.
There is a two-hours walking trail from the waterfall back to the headquarter (especially recommended for older hikers).
All paths are well signposted.
The Khao Sok National Park Visitor Center
Khao Sok National Park (Khao Sok National Park) (SuratThani)

Khao Sok Nation Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Thailand. Its majestic scenery and biological diversity the park is named by local "Gui – Lin of Thailand", which refers to a very beautiful place in China. The Royal Forest Department declared Khao Sok as the 22nd national park of Thailand on December 22nd, 1980.

There is Bua Phut the biggest flower in Thailand with diameter in the neighborhood of 50-90 cm. This parasitic plant sucks water from the roots and the trunk of a climber called Yarnkaitom. Only the flower of Bua Phut, protruding from the ground in the rainy season or other times when the soil is highly humid. It takes them 9 months to grow from the size of a small button to a larger only to bloom for no longer than 7 days a year. Bua Phut flowers can be seen throughout the year but they blooom mostly from November to April.

Thai Food Restaurant
National Park Restaurant - Restaurants
Not Rated
Khao Sok National Park Restaurant (ร้านสัวสดิการเขาสก) (KhaoSok)

You can easily explore the jungle in Khao Sok National Park on your own account as long as you stay on the main walking trails. However, if you do not feel safe, you can always hire a guide from any guesthouse.

Khao Sok National Park, Surat Thani, Thailand

Khao Sok or Khaosok: It has been called the most beautiful National Park in the world and this is no idle boast. From the earliest Chinese dynasties to the present, painters have portrayed on parchments, silk and palace walls the mythical images of the mist-shrouded karsts of Guilin in China's Guangxi province.

The UNESCO World Heritage status awarded to Guilin has also been bestowed on Vietnam's Halong Bay and Thailand's Phang Nga Bay for much the same reasons.
These three sites boast karst-studded topography with awe-inspiring islands and ridges that climb vertically from 300 to 400 meters. Bold and beautiful as these internationally famous locations now are, there's a newcomer on the scene. Khao Sok National Park is making a name for itself as the boldest, most dramatic of all. Its karst formations rise three times as high, to a staggering 960 meters, and boast an abundance of wildlife.  
Khao Sok, in Southern Thailand's Surat Thani Province, is just north of Phuket with a 165 sqkm. artificial lake created in 1982 with the damming of the Pasaeng River. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand recognized the huge hydroelectric potential of this river about the same time that Khao Sok National Park was created in 1980.
The Thai army also had an interest in this area, but for a very different reason. They were anxious to expel a group of 170 "communist" insurgents hiding in the nearly inaccessible recesses of Khao Sok's forests. Though branded with Cold War terminology as communists, these rebels were actually prodemocracy students from Bangkok’s most prestigious universities. They had taken to the streets to protest a military dictatorship in Thailand at the time, but fled to the forest following a 1988 Bangkok student massacre in fear for their lives. Flooding the valley that harbored these fugitives was seen as the fastest way of driving them out of hiding. 
It was also designed to create a huge reservoir. For all the benefits that the dam brought to the south's energy-hungry market and the wonderful recreational corridor that it opened to Khao Sok visitors, it was a complete disaster for the park's wildlife. The Conservation Division had determined that no fewer than 237 wild animal species would be impacted by the dam development. The plan was to capture and relocate animals that would become trapped on the more than 100 islands created by the rising waters, and to relocate them above the 100 meter elevation mark of the mainland shore. 
The rescue operation relocated 1364 birds, mammals and reptiles. Unfortunately the wildlife rescue operations do more to soothe our sense of guilt than serve or save wildlife. Many animals died from the stress and shock being captured and handled. Most "rescued" animals were relocated to ranges already overcrowded with refugees that had arrived there on their own in desperation. Thailand's leading conservationist, "Serb Nakasathien" led the wildlife rescue operation, but was so distraught by it that he later took his own life to bring attention to the plight of Thailand's wildlife. 
People too, were impacted by the rising waters. You would need to scuba dive with a bright underwater light to probe for the five villages that once lined the banks of the Pasaeng River, but which now lie like some legendary lost Atlantis at the bottom of Chiew Lan Reservoir. Tourists in longtail boats racing across the lake surface are too spellbound by the breathtaking limestone landscape to give much thought to what lies beneath. There are complete communities here - homes, schools, health clinic and Buddhist temple where crematoriums and stupas still hold the ancestral ashes of the former inhabitants. All of the history, of course, is easily swept away as visitors from around the world set off by boat to explore what many are calling the most beautiful reservoir in the world. 
The panoramic landscape now enjoyed by all was only made possible by clear cut logging the low-lying valley lands - the richest wildlife habitat - and flooding the valley with water 50 meters deep. Prior to the creation of the reservoir, a visitor to the region would have only rounding a bend in the Pasaeng River. Today's visitor by contrast has a jaw-dropping 360 degree panoramic view that can rival, if not surpass many of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. Tourist-bus day trippers now crowd the launching and landing facility recently built by the National Park Division to handle the sudden surge in visitors. The vast majority of sightseers tour the lake aboard Thailand's ear-splitting longtail boats, but a few kayaking companies have started to offer quieter, more eco-friendly alternatives. 
Visitors that choose a package overnight tour on the reservoir in one of the Khao Sok National Park's four floating raft-house complexes, or at one of 12 new private facilities will see the landscape at its best during the magical light of evening and early morning. They'll also be present when wildlife is most active. A "dawn safari" by boat at first light is the best way to see hornbills, deer, macaque monkeys, gibbons, dusky and silver langurs, flash searchlights to illuminate the shore can reveal tapir, wild elephant, barking deer, slow Loris civets and pythons swimming on the lake. Tiger leopard and other jungle cats, though rarely seen, are also found in Khao Sok.  
Several hiking trails climb steeply to a lookout atop a towering limestone tower where climbers are rewarded with a stunning view of the lake's many inlets.  
Another trail connects highway 401, on the southern boundary of the park, with Tone Tuey Raft House. Though an interesting route into the reservoir, this trail can prove dangerous to trekkers when wild elephant herds become overly protective of their newborns.  
By far the most popular hike from the shore of the reservoir is the two-hour trek to and through Nam Taloo Cave. This route offers a real Indiana Jones adventure. But it claimed the lives of eight tourists and guides who became trapped in the cave during a flash flood. The trail is now posted as dangerous in the rainy season. 
There is huge potential at Khoa Sok for recreational rock climbing, parasailing and hot air ballooning to view the majestic landscapes from the air, but no one has yet capitalized on this. Khao Sok National Park has been identified by the "Tourism Authority of Thailand" (TAT) as the top eco-tourism destination in the south of Thailand. Because the park boundaries are contiguous with two wildlife sanctuaries, Klong Nakha and Klong Saeng, as well as two other National Parks, Klong Phanom and Sri Phang Nga, it offers one of the largest protected areas for wildlife in Southeast Asia. This vast wilderness lies just south of the Isthmus of Kra, the narrowest neck of the north and the Sundaic realm to the south. From a biological standpoint, Khao Sok is a far more worthy candidate for UNESCO World heritage status than Guilin or Halong Bay, but as a reservoir it does not qualify for UNESCO status. 
Of course, as anyone who has ever beheld the majesty of this artificial lake and its crown of karst jewels can testify, it needs no titles or world body recognition to inspire awe or to hold a place in the heart. 
General Information 

Khao Sok National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Thailand. Due to its majestic scenery and biological diversity the park is nicknamed the ‘Gui–Lin of Thailand’, which refers to a very beautiful place in China. The name ‘Khao Sok’ is derived from the word ‘ Ban Sop”, which means ‘house of dead bodies’, The Royal Forest Department declared Khao Sok as the 22nd national park of Thailand on December 22nd, 1980. The park has a total area of 738.74 square kilometers, which covers parts of the Khlong Yee and Khlong Pra Saeng forests as well as portions of the Krai Son and the Khao Pung sub-districts in the district of Ban Ta Khun and the Khlong Sok and Phanom sub – districts in the province of Surat Thani. 

The park has a general topographic composition of limestone mountains and posesses the scattered peaks of Ka Lo Mountain whose form resembles those of towers. The highest peak to reside in the park measures at 961 m above sea level. The area in which the park is located contains highly acidic, sandy soil that is easily eroded during rainstorms. 

The weather is influenced by monsoon winds from both the Indian and Pacific Ocean with rain beginning in late April until late December. Heaviest rain is during May to November. The best time to visit the Khao Sok Park is December to April. 

Flora and Fauna  

Khao Sok National Park is a virgin forest where various types of plant life can be found. This includes a number of very rare and sacred tree species such as the Neobalanocarpus heimil. A few other plants that can be seen in this park include the following: Genus Hoper, Chisocheton and Anisoptera etc., as well as small bushes such as the Rafflesia kerrii, palm, rattan, betel palm, and various types of bamboo.

The park serves as a home for a wide variety of wildlife such as the gaur, banteng, sambar deer, bear, Malayan tapir, macaque, gibbon, serow, mouse deer, porcupine, marbled cat, wild boar, and Asian wild dog. It also acts as the natural habitat for several bird species. 
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