Khao Sok Human History
Surat Thani Province and Thailand’s southern peninsula are famous for their extraordinary history and natural beauty. Our location on the Malay Peninsula links the Asian mainland and the archipelago of Malaysia. This unique bridge is one of the most complex and ecologically rich migration paths for animals and birds and for ancient people.
The few archeological sites that have been explored revealed evidence of vast civilizations that are difficult to classify. Even prehistoric cave paintings and burial grounds have shed little light on the origins of these ancient cultures. Today, no one knows exactly how or when Khao Sok was occupied in the distant past. Although the area is surrounded by rugged mountains and is far from coastal cities, it has an amazing variety of resources needed to sustain human populations. After the end of the Stone Age, Khao Sok was most likely inhabited by hunter-gatherers. They were probably nomadic forest-dwelling people like the Mani tribe, which was active in Trang Province near the Malaysian border.
Khao Sok has many of the same features found at the oldest archeological sites in Southeast Asia. In Borneo, the Niah Caves contained archeological evidence of human civilizations dating back at least 50,000 years and human skulls that were at least 37,000 years old. Like Khao Sok, this location has an extensive cave system and is surrounded by fertile rainforests. Evidence suggests that these two areas would have been connected by land during the last ice age, which makes the presence of prehistoric civilizations in Khao Sok even more likely.
The first record of modern people living in the Khao Sok area dates back to the late 18th century and the reign of King Rama II. During this time, Burmese invaders attacked cities along the coast and pushed surviving residents into the vast inland forests. After crossing mountains and rivers and traveling though dense jungles, at least one group reached Khao Sok. The people made this area their new home and began fishing, hunting and gathering fruits and plants. Eventually, they cleared land to plant vegetables, fruit trees and rice. Almost everything flourished in this moist, fertile environment, including its new settlers who enjoyed an abundance of fish and game animals.
Today, the bounty and natural riches of the area are preserved within the Khao Sok National Park. We invite you to immerse yourself in the history and beauty of Thailand’s southern peninsula. Tieow hai sa nuk! Have a fun trip!