Khao Sok Night Safari: A Nocturnal Hike through the Wild Jungle
What is Khao Sok known for?
Khao Sok National Park is a popular tourist destination located in Southern Thailand, in the province of Surat Thani. The park is known for its diverse wildlife, ancient rainforest, and stunning karst formations. It covers an area of over 700 square kilometers, making it one of the largest national parks in Thailand.
Khao Sok National Park is home to many rare species of animals such as elephants, tigers, and gibbons, as well as a vast array of birdlife. Visitors to the park can enjoy a range of activities such as hiking, kayaking, and jungle safaris. In addition, the park offers a range of accommodation options from basic camping to luxury eco-resorts, making it an ideal destination for all types of travelers.
How to Book the Khao Sok Night Safari
We’ve compared prices and reviews from multiple tour operators when trying find a two-day stay at Cheow Lake stay. We went with Smiley Bungalows because they have better prices compared to some operators we’ve checked. From what we’ve learned from Phaïwan (owner of Smiley Bungalows and Lake House), all tour operators in Khao Sok use the same companies when arranging transportation for tourists because they all have to pay a fee to the local government. For tourists, this just means that there’s a limit to how much you can negotiate on their tours.
For that same reason, we also booked our night safari with them for 600 baht per person, which already includes the entrance fee. The night safaris usually start around 6pm or 7pm and we were lucky to have Zunny as our guide. You can find him on instagram here.
What we saw during the Khao Sok night safari hike?
The night safari was scheduled to be two hours but there was so much to see that we ended up staying at the national park for another hour. Unfortunately, our phone cameras were not that great in low-light setting so you may be playing a game of Where’s Waldo when spotting the animals on our photos.
Male Makerhorn Lizard
The Male Makerhorn Lizard is an interesting creature found in the southern region of the country. This particular species of lizard is known for its ability to adapt to harsh environments and is often found in desert areas. They have a unique defense mechanism whereby they can detach their tails in order to evade predators. In addition, they are known for their distinctive blue coloration, which makes them stand out in their natural habitat.
The Slow Loris is a primate with distinctive big eyes and slow movements. It defends itself by secreting venom from glands on its elbows, mixing it with saliva, and delivering it to predators through a bite. Slow lorises can mimic other animals to avoid detection. There are multiple species of slow lorises, each with unique characteristics. Some of these species are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching, making conservation efforts important for their survival in the wild.
The langur monkey is a unique primate found in India and other parts of Asia. They live in troops with hundreds of individuals and have a diverse diet that includes leaves, fruits, and insects. Their vocalizations range from barks and roars to whistles and grunts. Their long tails aid in balancing and communication with other langur monkeys.
Pit vipers are a group of venomous snakes found in various parts of the world. They are known for their distinctive triangular-shaped heads and heat-sensing pits, which they use to locate prey. We saw at least three of these vipers, which was apparently very unusual because they can go on for weeks without being spotted by tour guides.
The slim snake, with its lithe and graceful movements, is a fascinating creature to observe. Its thin body allows it to slither through tight spaces and its keen sense of smell helps it locate prey. Additionally, slim snakes, like all snakes, are cold-blooded and rely on the warmth of their environment to regulate their body temperature.
Common Tree Frog
The Common Tree Frog is a small-sized tree frog found in Europe and parts of Asia. They can change their color to blend into their surroundings and have distinctive calls used to attract mates during breeding season. They feed on a variety of insects. We saw these multiple times in our three hour hike.
Scorpions are fascinating predators that belong to the Arachnida class, alongside spiders and ticks. They can be found in many different environments around the world and come in various shapes and sizes, possessing eight legs and a pair of pincers. These pincers are used to catch prey and protect themselves from other predators. With their venomous stingers, scorpions can inject toxins into their prey. Despite their reputation for danger, they play vital roles in ecosystems, controlling insect populations and serving as a food source for other animals. These arachnids are usually hiding in cracks within walls so you may need to look through a couple of cracks and holes before you see them.
The Ruby-cheeked sunbird is a small bird, with a bright green back and ruby-red cheeks. It mainly feeds on nectar and is often found in gardens or flower-rich forests. Zunny referred to this as the golden bubble bird but when looking it up, it was closer to a sunbird.
Cicadas are insects known for their unique summer sound. They live underground and feed on tree sap before emerging as adults to mate and lay eggs for a few weeks. Certain cicada species have life cycles up to 17 years long. They exist in various parts of the world and play an important role in ecosystems.
The kingfisher bird is a stunning creature known for its bright, vibrant plumage and impressive hunting skills. They can be found in rivers, lakes, and wetlands, diving from a considerable height to catch small fish, insects, and other aquatic creatures with amazing accuracy. It’s also an important symbol of good luck and prosperity in many cultures, and is even believed to be a messenger of the gods in some.
Although not an insect or animal, I thought it’s worth noting that you can find Salac while you hike. Salac Fruit is a delicious tropical fruit that is highly nutritious and has many health benefits. It is a fruit is rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals. It is also high in fiber, which is important for maintaining good digestion and preventing constipation. You can pick some of these as you walk along just for snacking!
The Mangrove Snake is a venomous species found in Southeast Asia, Australia, and the western Pacific islands. They have a yellow or cream-colored body with black or brown stripes, and can be found in coastal areas and mangrove forests. They feed on small animals like frogs, lizards, and rodents. Mangrove Snakes are excellent climbers and swimmers, but their venom, although not lethal to humans, can cause severe pain and swelling.
I was quite surprised to find Blue Jays in the park since they’re known to be native to North America. These small North American bird can be identified through a blue crest on its head. It’s found in forests and suburban areas and is an omnivore, feeding on insects, nuts, and seeds. The Blue Jay is known for its intelligence and tool use to obtain food. While some consider it a nuisance due to its loud calls and aggressive behavior towards other birds, it remains an iconic bird of North America.
Aside from the ones above, we also saw centipedes, leaf insect, stick insect, among other things.
Best Places to Stay in Khao Sok
Are you looking for an awesome budget hostel, luxury eco-resort, or lakehouse for your stay in Khao Sok and Cheow Lan Lake? We’ve got you covered!
Our Favorite Hostel in Khao Sok – Chillax Khaosok Hostel
Are you an adventurer, a couple, a family, or a solo explorer? Look no further—Chillax Khaosok Hostel caters to all. From cozy shared mixed dorms to private sanctuaries, their super comfy and impeccably clean rooms await.
Experience the warmth of a home away from home, where their exceptional staff turns strangers into a family. Unlike bustling party hubs, they offer tranquility for unwinding after daytime escapades or a night out in the jungle. Feel at ease in their inviting common area, where you can connect over board games and billiards. Your leftover snacks find a home in their fridge, and seamless high-speed Wi-Fi blankets the entire space.
Best Luxury Eco-Resort in Khao Sok – Our Jungle House – Eco Resort
Discover the epitome of sustainable luxury at Our Jungle Camp – Eco Resort, nestled within the breathtaking Khao Sok National Park. The resort’s restaurant delights in crafting exquisite dishes from farm-fresh ingredients sourced on-site. Notably, a portion of guest proceeds contributes to a nature camp, nurturing Thai children’s appreciation for the natural world.
Guests are presented with a choice of accommodations, ranging from enchanting tree houses to cozy bungalows and rustic bamboo huts. Each abode features a private balcony, offering scenic views of the serene river or the verdant jungle. Rest assured, every unit is equipped with its own private bathroom.
Best Budget Hotel in Khao Sok & Lakehouse on Cheow Lan Lake – Smiley Bungalow and Lakehouse
Discover the wonders of Khao Sok and Cheow Lan Lake at the cozy Smiley Bungalow and Lakehouse. Situated near Khao Sok National Park’s entrance in Phanom, this family-run spot offers simple charm amid lush jungles and tall peaks. Explore local gems like friendly bars, tasty eateries, and handy shops, all just a short stroll away.
Get ready for a special lakeside getaway! Experience the calm of Ratchaprabha Lake, just 23 km from the pier. Settle into a comfy bungalow by the water, where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in the clear, warm lake (about 82°F). For those seeking excitement, let Smiley Bungalow and Lakehouse plan your adventures and show you secret spots.
Smiley Bungalows offers comfy rooms without breaking the bank. Each room has its own bathroom with a hot shower and air conditioning, so you’ll be nice and comfy. Picture yourself relaxing on your own private porch, surrounded by nature. As the day winds down, let the magic of Khao Sok embrace you.
The Night Safari at Khao Sok was worth going to. We were initially reluctant to book it because our schedule was already fully packed, but we’re very happy we did. It is a great way to experience nature while also supporting conservation efforts. The park is dedicated to protecting the animals and their habitats, and visits from tourists helps to fund these initiatives.
If we had more time, we would have spent more time in Khao Sok because there’s plenty of hikes and activities to do. For a complete traveler’s guide to Khao Sok, check out the following article of ours.