Khao Sok National Park
We booked this trip while we were in
. We were supposed to leave Koh Samui at 7:30am but our guesthouse wouldn't open until 7am. Only the security guard where there at 6am when we wanted to check out, and we woke him up. We asked him for help in getting our passports back from the motorbike rental. He didn't speak english so all he could do was go back to sleep. I still had the bike keys so I went to the ticket office and rescheduled our trip to Khao Sok.
When we got our passports back, we took a public pickup truck for a ride back to Nathon Pier. There's a bus station near the pier and our rescheduled bus luckyly was there. At 9:30am, we went for a short 10mins ride to Raja Port (Koh Samui Intl Port). The bus went with us for a 2hr cruise back to the mainland and we docked on Donsak Pier. After exiting the boat on foot, we got back on our bus, we then took a 1.5hr bus ride to Surat Thani. At the bus' last stop, we were transferred on a tuk tuk for a short trip to our next connecting bus. Travel companies here don't really tell you how they would handle your transportation. We got dropped off and transferred many times for this trip, without knowing what our next ride would be and how long we would have to wait.
We waited for an hour before our van arrived to pick us up. We left at 2:30pm for a 2.5hr ride to Khao Sok National Park. At first we were dropped of at the national park's access road, then as we were about to walk, the driver offered us a ride to the guesthouses. It was a nice gesture and when he found out that we already had a guesthouse picked, he insisted on taking us somewhere else, he said "your place not nice".
We walked and checked in at our picked place
Hiking in Khao Sok National Park
The biggest eye opener here is the 400BAHT entrance fee. It is for a one day and up to seven days visit - under 13 and students with id pay 200BAHT. I felt this fee would only be worth it if we were going for a multiday camp or touring inside the park. All we wanted to do was go for a hike. After a few minutes of hesitation, we went in and started our hike. The Information Center has free trail maps and it is also the trailhead to numerous waterfalls. Since it wsa already rainy season, some of the trails were closed. This is also a season for leeches... and we already lost count on how many of these suckers we had to deal with. They chase you and feed on you until they are full, then leave you with bood gushing through your skin or clothes. I have a picture but decided not to gross out the interwebs.
Our hike was up to Tan Koi Waterfalls. It is a 7km hike with about 5kms of forest trail. Some parts of this trail require extra care especially when raining. There are also a number of deteriorated wooden steps to look out for. This hike took us 5hrs roundtrip including a lot of leech cleanup and a 15mins rest at the falls. We saw monkeys! Wild monkeys!
At night back to our place, I cheaped out in joining a night safari trek for 500BAHT, and a promise to see a bunch of nocturnal wildlife and different kinds of monkeys. Before the tour started, the guide asked another couple to join in and they did, most likely without knowing they would be charged for it. After two hours, my wife came back with an exciting story. The trek they took was on the road the whole time and just around the perimiter of the guesthouse. What they saw was a bunch of frogs, snails, fireflies, stray cats and the neighbors' dogs. We were still charged 500BAHT for the "tour" and when we asked, they were nice enough to drop the price to 250BAHT.
* There are no actual tree houses here. They're just a bunch of houses on stilts. The floating raft houses can only be booked with a multiday trip in the park, since that these houses are only accessible by bus/boat tour combo. *
Khao Sok National Park to Bangkok
It was pouring heavy rain the whole morning so we decided to just leave the park. Normally the buses to Bangkok from the travel agensies here cost 700BAHT. Vans to Surat Thani only cost 120-250BAHT. We chose to go to Surat Thani first then just book for a Bangkok bus there. Our a/c van from Khao Sok to Surat Thani was for 120BAHT/p, for 2.5hrs. In Surat Thani, we booked an overnight bus to Bangkok for 350BAHT/p. This ride was not too bad at all for us. We were lucky to be seated at the lower level of the bus. There were eight seats and a couch for six people. we had all the comfort we needed.