Khao Sok National Park

Established in 1980, Khao Sok National Park conserves 739 square kilometres of forested hills in Surat Thani Province, South Thailand.  The rainforest of Khao Sok National Park is one of the oldest in the world. Ice ages didn’t affect the climate in the area very much. The landmass is relatively small and has seas on both sides: the Gulf of Siam on the east and the Andaman Sea on the West. The Khao Sok region didn’t suffer a lot from droughts and always received enough rainfall to sustain the forests. Biodiversity is high in Khao Sok National Park and adjacent protected areas. This is because sea levels during the last ice age fell to such an extent that a land bridge between Malaysia, Borneo and some of the Indonesian islands was created. This opened up new migration routes for land-based organisms which explains the high biodiversity. Khao Sok is famous for its limestone or ‘karst’ mountains. Ground level varies between 200m and 400m above sea level. The highest peak of Khao Sok National Park is 960m.

 

Situated in one of the wettest areas of Thailand, Khao Sok’s forest displays an exuberance associated with tropical rainforest. Its most famous botanical treasure, Rafflesia Kerrii, which produces one of the largest flowers in the world, represents a family more typical of equatorial rainforest. Our current knowledge of the Thai flora owes much to the pioneering work of an early 20th century doctor turned botanist who is recognised as the ‘founding father’ of Thai botany: Arthur Francis George Kerr (1877-1942). Kerr’s major legacy to botany is a collection of high quality dried plant specimens, linked to an archive of notes, itineraries, diaries, photographs and artefacts made during a series of tours throughout Thailand and into surrounding countries. One of these dried plant specimens was the giant Rafflesia flower. Famous Dutch botanist Willem Meijer re-examined Kerr’s dried specimen in the 1980s and concluded that one species was new to science: it was called the Rafflesia Kerrii as a tribute to Kerr. Further exploration at Khao Sok National Park led to the discovery of the plant.

Khao Sok Jungle Trekking Trekkers through the forest
Guest hiking during Khao Sok Jungle Trek

A total of 48 mammal species has been recorded within the national park…

including Asian Elephant, Leopard, Banteng, Gaur, Dusky Langur, White-Handed Gibbon, Malayan Tapir and Malayan Sun Bear. There is not much chance to see these animals during our treks through the protected area such as our one day trek.  There is a good  chance that you will hear the call of the Gibbon in the morning at the Lodge.  Among the 188 bird species recorded in the park, rare raptors include Bat Hawk, Lesser Fish-Eagle and Wallace’s Hawk Eagle. Seven kingfisher species, five hornbill species and 12 woodpecker species are among the park’s more flamboyant birds. Hornbills are regularly seen by guests who do one of our treks.