So I’d never actually heard of Khao Sok National Park before I booked Thaintro, it’s not really a destination that features on a lot of backpacker itineraries. To get there from Bangkok we had to get an overnight train to Surat Thani. I’d taken an overnight train in Croatia before that was absolutely grim, so with no sleep and a raging hangover I was dreading the experience. When we got on the train there were seats facing each other we sat on, and an hour or so into the trip a man cam round to make our beds. The two seats at the bottom slid together to make a bed, then the top bunk folded out above it. The beds were actually very comfy and the pillow and blankets were pretty decent, the curtain made it feel like a little den. I was on the bottom bunk which is actually pretty big so I was very content (see smug photo below). But my happiness didn’t last long as I couldn’t sleep for shit and spent the whole night lying there crying. Not actually crying but I was definitely crying inside. We then had to get a bus from Surat Thani the rest of the way and then a long tail to the actual accommodation, stopping halfway for a scenic swim.
Now Khao Sok National Park is fucking ridiculous, even with my poor fragile state I was delighted to be alive and experiencing this. There were only about 20 huts and hardly anyone else in the lake, the only other people we encountered was another tour group with STA. The accommodation was very ‘rustic’ – the nearest toilets to our little hut were about a 5 minute walk away (I ended up weeing off the balcony in the night because I am lazy and shameless).
We immediately had a buffet lunch with green curry that was absolutely delicious. Still the best meal I’ve had in Thailand so far, it was all you can eat too and they just kept bringing it out. After that it was time for a swim in the water, we got beers from the bar and inflatable rings and just floated around for a few hours, sometimes getting out to jump back in. There were kayaks available too and some people decided to have a race to the rocks, but that looked like way too much effort for me. I think it was too much effort for them too once they realised how far it was but their manly pride wouldn’t let them turn back.
Suddenly, it started pissing it down heavily – classic Thai weather. We all kind of got up to go and seek shelter, but our guide persuaded us all to stop being sissies and jump off the diving board back in. We spent the whole time frolicking around on a log that was floating in the water. We had a game where you had to stay stood up on the log for as long as possible while it rotated around, and it was honestly the best time. Now that probably sounds ridiculous but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, OK?
Honestly, I’m not sure what it’s like to go to Khao Sok National Park without a tour or if you even can. But it’s well worth a visit if you can make it, as you can see from the photos it’s absolutely amazing. If you book Thaintro, which I would defintiely recommend to anyone starting a longer trip in South East Asia.