Khao Sok National Park is situated in Thailand’s Surat Thani province. This area of the country’s southern peninsula is well-known for its untouched beauty and rich history. The park’s position in the Malay Peninsula makes Khao Sok a connection between the Malaysian archipelago and the Asian mainland. The ecologically diverse and complex migration path for not only birds and animals, but also ancient people, make this bridge an invaluable piece of land and history.
Over the years, a couple of archeological sites have been examined, uncovering large ancient civilizations. However, these civilizations are hard to classify. The burial grounds and cave drawings at these sites give few clues as to the civilizations’ origins. Even after examining these clues, nobody can pinpoint when or how the Khao Sok area was previously occupied.
Khao Sok National Park is enclosed by rocky mountains, separating it from distant coastal cities. Regardless of its geographical locale, Khao Sok has an astounding array of resources that are enough to sustain several populations of humans. Experts theorize that hunter-gatherers probably inhabited the area after the Stone Age. These hunter-gatherers were most likely forest-dwelling nomads similar to the Mani tribe active around the Malaysian border, specifically the Trang province.
Southeast Asia’s oldest archeological sites have some similarities to Khao Sok. The Niah Caves in Borneo contain human civilization artifacts that are approximately 50,000 years old as well as human skulls that are about 37,000 years old. Other shared traits between Borneo and Khao Sok are their lush rainforests and extensive cave systems. Evidence shows that during the most recent ice age, these two regions may have once been linked by land, making the likelihood of prehistoric civilizations inhabiting Khao Sok quite possible.
Modern inhabitants of Khao Sok were first recorded during the late 1700s and King Rama II’s reign in the early 1800s. The coastal people who lived during this time period were attacked by Burmese invaders. Those who survived the attacks were forced to retreat toward the huge inland forest area. They crossed rivers and mountains, and they traversed through thick jungles. It was at that point that one or more groups of people discovered Khao Sok.
At Khao Sok, the people settled in the area, and they started to hunt, fish and gather plants and fruits. After some time, the inhabitants cleared land in order to plant fruit trees, rice and vegetables. In the Khao Sok area, virtually every crop thrived due to the land’s fertile, moist qualities. The settlers also flourished off of the plentiful supply of game animals and fish.
Modern-day Khao Sok has an abundance of natural resources that are carefully preserved by the Khao Sok National Park. Visitors to the park are encouraged to soak in the unique beauty and history of Thailand’s Malay Peninsula. Welcome, and enjoy your stay!