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KHAO SOK HISTORY
KHAO SOK National Park Verdant Mountains, Attractive Waterfalls and Scenic Reservoir

345 million years ago… Khao Sok was covered in a delta system (similar to today’s Mississippi delta). The landmasses started to erode and mudstone and soil fell into the delta. This made both the rivers and the sea shallow and corals and other organism where developed. 280-55 million years ago… More eroded mudstone and soil fell into the delta, and this created the limestone we see today. Fossils from this period tell us that the sea was warm at that time and that Khao Sok was part of a huge coral reef, stretching all the way from China to Borneo. The coral reef was 5 times bigger than today’s “Great Barrier Reef” in Australia. Granite mixed with limestone and other chemicals, and a lot of tin and tungsten was made. 66 millions years ago… Today’s landscape was founded. The limestone was forced upwards when the Indian land-plate crashed into the Eurasian plate. (This happened at the same time as the Himalayan was formed. As the Himalayan Mountain rose, Thailand was moved southeastwards). The ice age never affected Khao Sok much. The ice never reached this far south in Asia, leaving the landscape and the rivers as they where. When the ice melted again, more water than ever floated into the rivers of Khao Sok, making the flora even richer than it was before. That is why the rainforest in Khao Sok is older than the forests of Central America and the Amazons, which were covered with ice. 

50 000 – 37 000 years ago… At this time Khao Sok’s mountains belonged to the same mountain ridge as Borneo. Evidence has been found of human habitation on Borneo from this period. It is believed that the same people inhabited Khao Sok as well, since the landscape, with all its caves, fruits, plants and animals, was similar to Borneo’s landscape. In 1800… The first historical evidence of human inhabitants in Khao Sok is from 1800. It was during the rule of Rama II and the conflict between Burma and Thailand. A group of survivors from the west coast were forced to hide away in the forest. They discovered the richness of the forest and quickly learned agriculture, fishing and hunting in order to survive. Quite a lot of the forest was cut down to make room for the growing population.
 

A resemblance of Guilin Pier of long-tailed boats

In 1944… A deadly epidemic swept trough the same group of people. The few survivors moved away and the old village was named “Ban Sop”-The village of the dead. The jungle could rest for a while. In 1961… A road was build straight across the area, to connect Surrathani on the east coast and Phang Nga on the west coast. Many people settled down along the road and cut down trees and vegetation to give room for houses and plantations. The area was rich with tin and timber, and the government began to sell properties for logging and minding. It was a big loss for the forest. In 1971… It was discovered that the old delta system was nearly intact and Khao Sok was considered as a possible el-supply for southern Thailand. The area was inspected furthered and people started to realize the wealth of vegetation, animals, limestone mountains and waterfalls. It was decided that all logging and minding should stop, but it took many years before this actually came into effect.

Floating Resort Ratchaprapa Dam

In 1976 –1980… A group of communistic students failed to make the changes they wanted in the community, and ended up being considered outlaws. They camped far inside the jungle to avoid the army, which was looking for them. These conflicts made part of the human population in Khao Sok disappear and the rainforest had a chance to breathe. In 1980… Khao Sok was officially established as Thailand’s 22nd national park on the 22nd of December and measured 645 km2. Later the same year, the borders of the national park were changed to make it possible to flood an area inside Khao Sok, to build the Rachabrapha dam. The dam still supplies large parts of Southern Thailand with electricity. A huge rescue operation to save the wildlife took place before the flooding. More than 1300 birds, mammals and reptiles was captured and moved away from the area. Sadly, the operation was aimed more at helping on the human consciousness, than to actually save the wildlife. A majority of the animals died during the relocation. It was a major blow to the wildlife. In 2001… The national park was extended from 645 km2 to 739 km2. The number of wild animals is constantly increasing, and the area surrounding the Rachabrapha dam (the Cheo Larn lake) is once again full of life. In 2012… You visited Khao Sok and had the time of your life.

Khao Sok Human History

The Malay peninsula and southern Thailand is among the most complex migration route on earth. Some of the sites that have had some archeological work done have reveal many layers of human use and occupation, from so many different periods of time and different cultures. FIndings of pre historic cave paintings and burial sites, it presents us with even more mysteries. No one really knows for certain whether the area that is now Khao Sok National Park was occupied by humans in the pre-historic past or not. 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. Also Stone age people may well have occupied these areas 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 fertile and rainfall more than adequate for the new settlement to flourish. Glowing reports spread of rivers teeming with fish and wild deer, cattle and boar in abundance. 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.

 

 

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