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  • Writer's picturebella-illenberger

Thailand - Khao Sok National Park

Am Busbahnhof frühstücken wir Reissuppe mit Huhn (das National-Frühstück) und Porridge mit Kokos-Milch und Banane. Dann geht es in einem großen Bus weiter nach Takua Pa, wo wir noch einmal umsteigen müssen. Ausgestattet mit frisch gekochten Tiger-Erdnüssen und gelben Thai-Kartoffeln mit Zucker geht es nun ins bergige Inland. Schon jetzt sieht man vereinzelt die spitzen Kalkfelsen aus dem Dschungel ragen, für die diese Gegend bekannt ist. Am frühen Nachmittag kommen wir beim ‚Khao Sok Island Resort’ an und beziehen unser Zimmer direkt am Fluss ‚Sok’. Er ist nicht besonders tief, aber zum reinsetzen reicht es, allerdings muss man sich vor den fiesen Süßwasser-Kugelfischen in Acht nehmen, die Menschenfleisch wohl als Delikatesse sehen und beherzt in Hannahs Finger beißen. Mit ihren roten Augen folgen sie Fingern und Zehen zielstrebig und lassen sich auch nicht verscheuchen. Da hilft es nur, die Augen offen zu halten und im Angriffsfall die Stelle zu wechseln. Klong Sok, ist nicht groß, wir laufen einmal durch den Ort, Essen ein Kokos-Eis, heben Geld ab und sehen uns die Läden, Restaurants und Cafés an. Dann essen wir eine Pizza direkt am Fluss mit Blick auf das Wasser. Es gibt hier viele Thai Restaurants, ein paar Cafés und ungewöhnlich viele Pizzerien…

Coconut and mango ice cream

Khao Sok National Park is in the center of Thailand, well known and popular for it’s lime stone mountains and rock formations which can be seen around and in the lake. The whole area has been declared a national park and the jungle surrounding the lake is inhabited by a vast number of animals, including wild boar, gibbons, monkeys and wild elephants. We are faced with having to book a tour package to be able to travel into the park and opt for a 2 days 1 night deal, exited to be able to spend a night in the middle of the lake in one of the floating bungalow villages. Our hopes and dreams are shattered about 30mins into our tour the next day. We are only one of many, many vans that pull out of Klong Sok Village that morning and we spend hours waiting at various stops along the way, for us to “buy whiskey or whatever else you want”. While we stand in the blazing sun waiting for the journey to continue we get to know a few of the other tour members and realization dawns that we are not only the oldest, but most likely the only sober people on this trip. Disaster continues and hundreds (!) of adolescents pile up at the pier, get stuffed into life jackets and loaded into boats, us included. Nevertheless, we enjoy the 1 hour boat ride across the lake and past the famous line stone formations and arrive at the bungalow village where a local lunch is provided and surprisingly delicious, although the two young Americans in bikinis across from us strongly (and loudly) disagree. We eat our and their fai share and get changed and ready for our first included activity, a hike through the jungle and into a cave. The day is ended with a sunset safari during which we are not surprised to see no animals at all, due to the overall volume of our group.

Bungalow Village at Night

We wake up before sunrise the next morning and use the opportunity to break away from the (now hungover) crowd and grab two kayaks and paddle out on our own where we can enjoy a wonderfully calm experience watching monkeys in the treetops and listening to birds and gibbons call out of the jungle. Then we have to plunge ourselves back into the mass of half naked bodies, scrabbling for life jackets as we are shouted at buy the local “guides” that we are not allowed to get into the boat without a life jacket but then persist on taking the life jackets from us because they belong to the bungalow village and not the boat…? We head back along the lake (without life jackets) and are dumped once more at another rest stop for our final meal, while our “guides” stare at their phones.

Pre-sunrise calm

Overall we are happy to have done the tour and budget wise we would not have been able to see the reserve any other way but we find it a great pitty that such wonderful and incredible places on earth have been turned into a cheap joy-ride for people who are more interested in ticking another “10 things you must do in Thailand” off their list while socializing and drinking than admiring the surroundings and being aware of the natural habitat they are invading.

We get shepherded back to Khao Sok Village where we spend a couple more days exploring the outer perimeter of the park, swimming in waterfalls and enjoy watching a family of monkeys to the same.

An actual guide who put a lot of effort into catching this flying lizard, showing how to "unfolds" him and tossing him into the air to see him fly.

Snake spotted at the side of the path

Monkeys enjoying the cool water, we thought they would just go for a quick dip but they spent hours playing, jumping and diving in the water

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