The Sok River in Thailand is leading through the southern part of the Khao Sok Nationalpark located roughly 200 km north of Phuket. The nationalpark itself is an artificial one created in 1982.
The Sok River is an excellent beginner river with (depending on season) whitewater level I / II maximum (end of November). It is close to civilization but you still get the possibility to see plenty of wildlife & jungle. The trip I want to introduce in this post will take you 3-4 hours and getting in & out is super easy since you will raft from bridge to bridge.
The start is in the town of Khao Sok, basically 100 meters before the entrance of the national park. For rafting this river you will NOT need a permit (November 2017). On the way there are several spots where you can get out but I recommend to paddle until you reach the first bridge.
Inflate your packraft here:
Get out here:
As a basecamp I can highly recommend the “Silver Cliff Resort” which is a relaxed and cheap place to stay and has a super friendly owner (Karen) who is always trying to help. There are also some agencies that organize floating trips down this river but normally don’t go bridge-to-bridge but get out after 40 minutes. These trips are comparatively expensive so bringing your own packraft is the right choice.
The river has no significant difficulties in it but a lot of interesting parts where you need to navigate through flooded parts with trees and plants on it. During wet season it is most probably more wild with more water.
The Sok River is perfect for floating down in a silent and calm way in order to watch out for wildlife like birds, snakes, monkeys, spiders etc. In case you are interesting in wildlife, go in the mornings or late afternoons. Also bring some mosquito-proof shirt which is definitively worth it.
Conclusion & Possible Extension
There are no real difficulties, the river is close to civilization but away enough to get some jungle feeling.
I didn’t have enough time to continue packrafting the Sok River beyond the bridge where I got out. I guess it will be a nice try. During the wet season I also think that the upper parts of the Sok River, leading directly through the national park are raftable. During my time (end of November) there wasn’t enough water for the upper parts but I guess they can easily reach level II / III if there is enough water.