Khao Sok – Khlong Saeng – Khlong Phanom Surat Thani Thailand’s Amazing Route Through Virgin Forest

| March 8, 2016

The Guilin of Thailand Khao Sok National Park Surat Thani Thailand

For motorists who admire the mountainous scenery in a virgin forest in southern Thailand. Surat Thani Province is one of the best choices to visit. It is pleasant to drive along Highway 401. which is a roundabout way across the Phuket mountain range ending in Takua Pa District of Phang-nga Province. The natural scenery along the route is truly breathtaking. The largest forest area in the South is found in Surat Thani. It is rich in biodiversity and is home to rare animal and plant species. The sea of fog and limestone on the tops of maintains are also found in the area. Villagers in their traditional lifestyle grow fruit trees along the way. This amazing route through the southern virgin forest is worth a visit and an exploration.
Driving in Sural Thani Province for an excursion is very convenient, as major highways leading to Muang District have four lanes and they are paved. But secondary roads linking with various districts still have two lanes. Since it usually rains for more than eight months (from late May to early January) in this province, motorist must be cautious about driving, because rain may make various roads slippery. Before starting out, check your cars to make sure that they are in a good condition. If it rains heavily and you need to continue driving, drive slowly and switch on the light.
This mountainous route is suitable for nature lovers, but you need to prepare your stuff when taking jungle treks, Sneakers, a hat, a raincoat, a water container, socks, and medicine are indispensable.
Begin your journey in Muang District of Sural Thani, which is a large city with possible traffic jams during rush hours. As Sural Thani boasts many natural attractions, especially Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko Nang Yuan, and Ko Tao, the town of Surat Thani seems to serve as a temporary accommodation for travelers. There are several grades of accommodations for your selection, such as Wang Tai Hotel on Talat Mai Road, Siam Thani on Srivichai Raod, and Saowaluk Thani on Kanchanawithi Road near the Forest Office.

Restaurants in Muang District offer several menus but recommended dishes include fish maw sauce with various kinds of vegetables and other typical food of the southern style. Drive from the town of Sural Thani to the west along Highway 401, which has four lanes in the first section, passing through villages and green areas, totaling 12 kilometers. Then you will pass Phun Phin District and will later cross a railway and Phum Duang River. When you arrive at the intersection of Highway 401 and 41, continue your trip to Ban Ta Khun District. The highway in this section consists of two lanes and along the two sides are rubber trees and seasonable fruit trees, such as dugu, or longgong, langsat, mangosteen, rambutan, and durian.
From the Tha Rong Chang intersection, drive 47 kilometers to Ban Ta Khun District. On the sides, the road is limestone mountains, which are a feature of the Phuket mountain range, part of which is formed by coral reefs aged 130 million years. The mountains spread across three districts: Ban Ta Khun, Khiri Rat Nikhom, and Phanom, leading to Krabi and Phang-nga provinces.
After driving along Highway 401 to Kilometer 58 in the compound of the Ban Ta Khun market, you may stop to have a rest for a while, and if you are hungry, you may have delicious ka nom chin and rice and curry in the southern style or buy some sweets there. Films are also available for you to take beautiful photographs at Ratchaprapa, or Chieo Lan, Dam, one of the major tourist attractions in Surat Thani.
From the Ban Ta Khun market, make a u-turn and drive for about 500 meters Then you will see clearly a large signboard showing the way to Ratchaprapa Dam. Turn left to go along the two-lane road for 12 kilometers, and upon your arrival at a checkpoint, get a pass and turn right to a pier. Villagers will bring with them long-tail boats to take tourists for a tour of the reservoir above the dam.

Ratchaprapa Hydroelectric Dam is part of Khao Sok National Park. It was built in 1982 by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) to supply electricity to the southern region. Driving is not allowed on the 761-meter-tong dam. The construction of the dam has helped prevent flooding and it also created more than 162 islands for limestone hill. The mist-clad peaks on Khao Sok Mountain offer picturesque scenery, making Khao Sok an amazing attraction comparable to Guilin in China. With its distinct landscape that resembles Guilin, Khao Sok was also called the Guilin of Thailand.
Before taking a boat tour, you may drive to the EGAT’s scenic viewpoint, where shops, toilets and small gardens are found. Leave your car at the parking lot, sign your name, and pay for the national park admission fee. The rental fee for a boat depends on traveling time and distance, but it is not lower than 700-800 baht a trip. The boat service offers both a day-tour and an overnight stay on board. What should not be missed is to view palm phra rahu (Maxburrettia furtadaona), one of the rare palm species in the world and it grows on limestone cliffs in the dam.
Raft houses in the dam are simply built and there are both privately-run and the national park-owned raft houses. Activities at raft houses are diverse, such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. The program also includes trekking, walking to scenic observation points and eco-adventure in caves. While on a raft house doesn’t forget to order fried giant snakehead to enjoy its flavor.
The waterway in Ratchaprapa Dam is connected with the Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary. To enter this sanctuary, you are required to seek permission 15 days in advance from the Wildlife Sanctuaty Subdivision, Natural Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department. If you stay in a raft house inside Khlong Saeng, you will have good opportunities to view numerous birds and wild animals, such as elephants, gaurs, Sumatran serows, spectacled langurs, and gibbons.

From Ratchaprapa Dam, make a left turn and then a u-turn heading west along Highway 401. When you arrive at Kilometer 16, turn left to Ban Tham Phueng, a famous eco-tourist site. The prominent feature of this area is bua phut, or Rafflesia kerri, the largest flower in Thailand and perhaps in the world. The size of this flower ranges from 60-100 centimeters in diameter when in full bloom. The giant bloom is a parasitic plant and releases a unique scent less than seven days before it withers. The blooming season is between November and March. Ban Tham Phueng also boasts other attraclions as well, especially a pond with a cool spring.

Khao Sok National Park Surat Thani Thailand

From Ban Tham Phueng, make a left turn and continue your trip to Kilometer 90, where you turn left to Khlong Phanom National Park Office, another place to appreciate the rare plant species, bua phut. Inside the tourist center here is an exhibition featuring the biological feature of bua phut and nature trails.
Then continue driving to kilometer 109, where there is a two-lane road on the right leading to Khao Sok National Park, which is recognized as “Amazing Southern Tropical Rain Forest.” If you drive only two kilometers further from Highway 101, you will get to the Khao Sok National Park Office on the riverside of Khlong Sok (Sok Canal), where you can go on camping. Food shops are open to visitors all day, and resorts and guesthouses are also available. Another scenic viewpoint is at kilometer’s 110 where visitor can see the sea of fog.
Hiking for nature study is a popular activity at Khao Sok where tourist will be taken to view many rare plant species, such as palm chao muang thalang, or palm lang khao. Khao Sok is also famous for beautiful waterfalls. You should not miss tang nam, the origin of Khlong Sok, where the ashes of the late Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikkhu of Suan Mokkhabalarama in Sural Thani were floated away. Continue driving along Highway 401, you will enter Phan Nga Province and find a lane full of-twists and turns for 10 kilometers. After that, another drive of 35 kilometers will take you to Takua Pa District of Phang Nga.

Surat Thani Map Thailand

Category: Surat Thani