The park is 739 sq km and is the 22nd National Park in Thailand.
Together with two wildlife sanctuaries (Klong Saen and Klong Nakkha), and two adjacent national parks (Sri Phang nga and Klong Phanom), Khao Sok is part of the largest protected area in Southern Thailand.
The name Khao Sok is derived from the word 'Ban Sop', the Village of the Dead. A deadly epidemic ravaged the area in 1944 and the surviving population fled for their lives, hence the name of the abandoned village. However, others maintain that the name comes from the neighbouring Pantoorat (Giant) mountain, also known as Khao Sop, 'Corpse Mountain' as it is shaped similar to the prayer position a body is laid in for funeral rites! The name Khao Sok was adopted as a less macabre version of Khao Sop.
It is affectionately nicknamed the Gui-Lin of Thailand, which refers to a very beautiful place in China.
Khao Sok is a remnant of a 160 million year-old forest ecosystem, one much older than and richer than the Amazon or the rainforests of central Africa.
It is 200,000 times older than Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and its still alive, functioning and evolving.
The limestone mountains (known as karsts) are the remains of an ancient coral reef dating back some 225-280 million years ago. This coral reef is said to have been five times longer than Australias Great Barrier Reef, stretching from China to Borneo.
Some of the karsts rise up to almost 1,000 metres high, making them three times the height of those in nearby Phang Nga Bay and Halong Bay in Vietnam.
The National Park consists of:
40% foothill rainforest
27% rainforest plains
15% limestone crag vegetation
15% lowland scrub
3% rainforest at 600-1,000 metres
The nature here has more in common with the Malaysian forest than the forest in the north of Thailand. Compared to those of the north, the forest in Khao Sok is taller, darker, more humid and evergreen.
Khao Sok is actually the wettest area in Thailand. But dont let that put you off, after all you are visiting the rainforest! This is due to its location; Khao Sok sits at the mountain ridge separating the west coast from the east coast. Winds from both the Gulf of Thailand in the east and the Andaman Sea in the west blow monsoon rain into the area; it can rain as much as 3.5 metres in one year.