Khao Sok currently has 38 resorts; nine of them were built in the last two years and three are currently under construction. This explosion in popularity is mainly because of its proximity to tourist hotspots such as Khao Lak, Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui. But no tourist visits a place simply because it’s convenient to go there…
Khao Sok became a destination in the first place because of its amazing wildlife and friendly guides that serve as a bridge to nature. As the number of guests increases but the number of quality guides does not, it begs the question: how can Khao Sok continue to be a popular destination if no one experiences what makes it popular?
The people who can change this are Khao Sok local guides, who have a lifetime of experience learning the secrets of the jungle. The one thing that’s missing in most guides is the ability to pass this knowledge on to guests and show them how amazing the jungle can be. This is why we will be offering professional guide training to local guides. We want to empower locals to share their knowledge with visitors and make the forest come alive.
In May and June, we will be hosting English lessons to improve each Khao Sok local guide’s communication skills and comfort level with their guests and doing training sessions in the park with a professional guide trainer to hone their skills. In addition, the training will finally create a Khao Sok Local Guide Organization, which will allow guides to learn from each other and continue their education well after the training is over. This also insures that guiding jobs stay with local people.
In my time here, my top experiences include sitting on a cliff at sunrise seeing great hornbills flying directly below, spotting dusky langurs fearlessly jump across the treeline while I watched form a kayak, and watching one of my favorite guides, Gai (pictured left) dance along the path after seeing a baby owl pop out of an old piece of bamboo. These are special experiences, but they don’t have to be uncommon. Khao Sok is full of wonder, and a good guide can make a difference by adding a piece of that wonder to each visitor’s experience.
If you feel the same way and are interested in contributing toward the guide training, please donate below. Proceeds will go toward lowering the individual cost per guide, adding extra training sessions at Cheow Lan Lake, and paying local guides who are assisting and translating during the training.
Guiding should be more than just another job in the tourist industry: locals should take pride in their knowledge of Khao Sok and enjoy showing it to visitors. If guides take pleasure in showing this place, guests will take pleasure in visiting.