Khao Sok consists of thick native rainforest,waterfalls majestic limestone cliffs and an island stubbed lake. It is the 22nd National Park in Thailand.
Khao Sok National Park covers an area of 739 square kilometres. The combined sizes of Khao Sok (740km2), Sri Phang nga (246km2) and Khlong Phanom (410km2) National Parks along with Khlong Saeng (1156km2) and Khlong Naka (480 km2) wildlife sanctuaries is just over 3000 square kilometres.
Khao Sok is in the south of Thailand in the Surat Thani province, between Surat Thani on the east (120km) and Takuapa on the west coast (60km). The park extends into parts of the Khlong Yee and Khlong Pra Sang 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 Panom sub-districts in the province of Suratthani.
Khao Sok has the highest level of rainfall in Thailand (3 500 mm per year), due to the high mountains and the fact it is influenced by both the Northeast (Pacific Ocean) and Southwest (Indian Ocean) monsoons. The heaviest rains are between May and November, the driest period between December and April; although even during these times there can still be some rain.
There is no need to worry about malaria, because the disease has been eradicated from this area a long time ago. Even so, we recommend that you bring mosquito repellent when you visit Khao Sok. The mosquitoes can sometimes be a bit annoying, especially in the evening and after rain.
Khao Sok National Park contains 3 distinct forest types.
1. Rain Forest (Tropical Evergreen Forest)
This is the principal forest type covering the majority of the national park area. These forests are dense and stratified structures dominated by tall emergent trees that are often supported by buttress roots. A large proportion of these trees belong to the Dipterocarpaceae family and are easily recognized by their two winged fruits. The middle level of the forest is an aerial tangle of figs and lianas (woody climbers). Below is the dense under-area, where evergreen ground flora such as bamboo, rattan, ferns and palms compete for light.
2. Limestone Forest
This occurs on the steep limestone karsts which are scattered across the park. The various species growing in this environment can survive without very much water. Their roots are able to grip into small cracks in the rock. Of particular interest is Mayburretia Furtadoana (Maak Pralatoo), a small palm species endemic to Khao Sok National Park and the surrounding areas.
3. Secondary or Disturbed Forest.
This occurs in areas that have in the past been logged or disturbed by human activity. The vegetation growing here is characterized by invasive and fast-growing robust plant species. In Khao Sok National Park this forest type is found around the banks of the Rachabrapah Dam and lake.
Caves are formed by underground water and are characteristic of limestone landscapes. Khao Sok National Park has many limestone caves, such as 'Kangkow' cave, 'Namtaloo' cave, 'Seeroo' cave. These caves were formed through a chemical process called carbonation in which the calcium carbonate of the limestone is dissolved by water containing carbon dioxide. The rock is gradually eroded. Small cracks form and gradually enlarge until a tunnel is created. Under certain conditions, the process is reversed and calcium carbonate is deposited within the cave in the form of stalactites and stalagmites.
Stalactites are limestone "icicles" that hang down from the cave ceiling. They are formed as water drips down from cracks. As the water enters the cave, the carbon dioxide from some of the molecules diffuses out into the air and the remaining calcite crystals cling to the formation. As the water continues to flow down the stalactite, calcite crystals are deposited along the outer surface and on the tip, enlarging the formation.
The wild life in Khao sok
The richness of the tropical forest flora, the abundance of fresh water, and the shelter of the mountains all provide excellent habitats for many wildlife species. Khao Sok National Park makes up part of the largest continuous forest area remaining in the Thai peninsula. This provides the only viable habitat in southern Thailand for large mammals needing extensive areas of undisturbed forest for their survival.
Mammals. Elephants, tigers, gaur, and banteng are known to be present. Tracks are seen regularly, although actual sightings are very rare. The status of these animals is therefore still uncertain.
Many smaller mammals are frequently encountered, such as monkeys, langur, wild boar, and deer. The call of gibbons is often heard along the forest trails.
One hundred and eighty-eight species of birds have so far been recorded in Khao Sok National Park. The most spectacular and distinctive to such rainforest environments are the Hornbills, of which there are five confirmed types. The Argus Pheasant, another rare bird, has also been seen in the forest.
Reptiles and Amphibia.
Very little research has been carried out to determine what species of reptiles and amphibia inhabit this area, despite the obvious abundance of these creatures, including many varieties of snake, lizard, frog and tortoise.
Thailand's geographical position makes it uniquely rich in insect life. There are literally thousands of different insect species in Khao Sok: ants, beetles, butterflies, stick insects, dragonflies, and spiders.
Insects play a vital role in the breakdown of matter, decomposition on the forest floor, and pollination, which are all critical to the forest life cycle. Without these decomposers, life in the forest would eventually grind to a halt for lack of available nutrients