Khao Sok Human History
The Malay peninsula and southern Thailand present one of the most complex migration route in the world. The few sites that have had archeological work done reveal layer upon layer of human use and occupation, from so many different periods and different cultures that analysis is difficult. Pre-historic cave paintings and burial sites present us with even more mysteries. No one knows for certain whether the area that is now Khao Sok National Park was occupied by humans in the pre-historic past. It is rugged land remote from the well travelled coast, but is also amazingly rich in wild fruits and meat and contains countless caves of human habitation. Stone age peoples may well have occupied these lands until quite recently. The Khao Sok area was, in all likelihood, home to the nomadic forest dwelling tribes similar to the Mani, the last bands of hunter-gathered forest people still surviving in the Trang mountains and near the border of Thailand and Malaysia. At the oldest know human habitation site in South East Asia, the Niah caves in northern Borneo, archeologist have dated human skulls back 37,000 years and found evidence of 50,000 years old habitation. The similarity of extensive cave systems and rich rainforest, and the fact that Khao Sok and Borneo were connected by a land bridge during the last great Ice Age make prehistoric occupation of this area more than mere conjecture. The first historic accounts of people residing in the Khao Sok Area date back to the reign of King Rama 2 in the later part of the 18th century. When the Burmese attacked the coastal towns of Takuapa, takua Toong and Thalang (Phuket) the survivors fled inland trough the vast forest, crossing rivers and mountains, in the fear of their lives. One Group made their way as far as Khao Sok. The people , in time became comfortable with their exile and in addition, to hunting, fishing and gathering wild fruits and greens from the forest, began to clear land for cultivation of rice, vegetables and domestic fruits. The land here was surprisingly fertile and rainfall more than adequate for the new settlement to flourish. Glowing reports spread of rivers teeming with fish and wild cattle, deer and boar in abundance.