The National Park of Khao Sok is one of the oldest jungles in the world. Many unique species of plants and distinctive types of forests have emerged thanks to the limestone karst formations, abundant rainfall and geological conditions. Some of the things visitors will enjoy include the enormous Rafflesia flower, dipterocarp trees producing propeller seeds that descend beautifully from the jungle canopy, gigantic buttress roots and huge bamboo thickets.
The Kangar-Pattani Line
For the past 60 million years, the geology of Khao Sok has been extremely stable. Meanwhile, there were periods of shifting climate and glaciation experienced in other parts of the world. During this time, Thailand was able to rest near the Indo-Chinese plate’s fairly stable center. It always stayed close to the equator. The large amount of species in the region have prospered during this extended time of stable patterns of rainfall and weather. Check out our geology blog here for more information.
Various features involved in the creation of various bioregions are straddled by Khao Sok. A continental divide is created by the Tenasserim Hills. These hills separate the Thai peninsula’s western and eastern regions. They are located at Khao Sok National Park’s edge. It separates the North’s dry and deciduous regions from the bioregions of the Malaysia and Thailand peninsulas. It can be found beneath the Isthmus of Kra.
Close to the border of Malaysia and Thailand is the Kangar-Pattani line located south of Khao Sok. This line separates the Indonesian jungles and the area that surround it from the jungles of the Orient. The humidity shift is an important distinction of this line. The level of humidity is noticeably higher on the line’s south side.
Both of the continental divide’s sides are straddled by Khao Sok National Park. This causes it to receive large amounts of rain from the Andaman coast’s southwest monsoon. The Gulf of Thailand’s northeast monsoons cause rain on an occasional basis. This helps to create 3.5 meters of rain each year, one of Thailand’s highest amounts of rainfall.
Karsts are flora located in the limestone mountains. This is one of the uncommon ecological features of Khao Sok. Sea corals eventually turned into these amazing cliffs. The peaks that are currently visible were formed when they were all lifted with the crust of the Earth. The varying shapes that have been left behind were caused by erosion from rain and the oceans rising and falling.
The varying altitude, severe desiccation in the dry season and the lack of soil have helped to create various niches for plant endemic species. There are species found in Khao Sok and almost nowhere else, such as the fern palm, the langkow palm and the pralahoo palm. The shelves found along the faces of karsts collect rainwater. It then combines with plant matter that is decayed to create a soil that enables the growth of these palms.
There is a black flower referred to as “bat’s whiskers” in Thai. However, the Rafflesia is the most famous of the species of flower found here. It is often referred to as the largest flower in the world. It blooms for roughly seven days in Khao Sok Park. It is unable to be grown by man and thrives in the moisture of the forest. Visitors can take a Rafflesia Hike to see the flowers for themselves.
A wide variety of Rattan, giant climbing vines (lianas) and bamboo can also be found in the park. Rattan produces sour red fruit that is edible. It contains sharp thorns, frequently grows up to 100 feet and cane furniture is often made from it. While walking through the forest, move slowly to enjoy how beautiful these plants are. There are also many interesting mushrooms, such as the net mushroom.
The strangler fig is something odd that is found often in Khao Sok. it is a vine that takes on the appearance of a tree after many years. It produces fruit similar to the common fig. The animals in the forest love to eat it. When one of its seeds falls on a tree, roots quickly start growing towards the ground. As time goes by, the roots will go around the host tree. This tree will eventually die, creating a hollow large enough for a person to enter.