I can’t believe my time in Thailand is over. Last stop before Bangkok was Khao Yai National Park. It was a bit of an adventure getting to our guest house. At Pak Chong train station a tout approached us; instead of my normal tact of completely ignoring her I thought it would be more convenient to say yes. Big mistake!!!!! We got driven to a hotel just on the outskirts of Pak Chong, just behind Tescos.
Even though the room was nice, it was not quite the jungle setting I had conjured up in my mind, so I then had the awkwardness of saying I did not want to stay. We ended up being dumped on a road in the middle of nowhere. After about 40 minutes of waiting a songthaew finally whizzed past us, but it showed no sign of stopping. I couldn’t believe our luck, however a kind Thai lady somehow managed to hail it down and after about a 100m dash with all our luggage, we clambered aboard. We had to stand, but it was a relief to be going in the right direction. However, after about 40 minutes we were dropped at the national park gates since we missed the lodge where we wanted to stay.
Again we were stranded on the side of the road. :o( Luckily this time it was only a 10 minutes wait before another songthaew picked us up. This time I had chance to speak to the driver, before heading back in the direction we had just came from. I did not want to miss the guest house a 2nd time, so 15 minutes into the journey I pressed the stop buzzer to the annoyance of the driver. He informed me it was another 10km. Finally we reached our destination and thank goodness there was room at the inn, the Greenleaf Lodge Guesthouse.
Recommendation: The guest houses for Khao Yai National Park are a bit out of the way, so I would book ahead as most will meet you at the station. It will save you the hassles I had, but eh that is what travelling is all about. It would be no fun if it ran smoothly all the time!!!!
Back in favour with lady luck, we managed to make the afternoon tour with time to spare to wash away the very long journey.
The half day tour was fantastic. We visited a cave, with hundreds of bats starting to stir for their evening feed. Our guide was really good. He showed us lots of creepy crawlies, which all seemed to be supersized (too many maccie d’s :o)). I was quite daring and held a giant millipede (strange sensation has his legs gripped my arm :oS) and a scorpion spider (very tickly).
Gele was only brave enough to hold my camera. The best part of the tour was watching approximately 2 million bats leave the cave at dusk. It was an incredible spectacle as they swarmed in lines out of their home. This sight can apparently last about an hour.
The next day we had a tour of Khao Yai National Park in search of wild elephants. Our guide tried very hard, but our luck run out yesterday and we only got to view fresh dung. However, we did get to see macaques, gibbons, many types of deer, a giant squirrel, a monitor lizard and lots more over sized beasties. Also I saw the creatures I was longing to see, the great hornbill. Unfortunately it was only from afar since they fly high in the forest’s canopy, but it was a sighting!
As part of the trip we did a 3 hour walk in the jungle, which was definitely “real” jungle. We had to fight the overgrown vines trying hard to win back the mud path. We also got leeched; like a big wuss I flicked 20 or more of the buggers from my legs at the end of the trek. Eugh!!! Luckily, we were wearing leech socks, so my blood was not sucked dry. During the walk a family of gibbons played with us. Well I use the term “play” loosely, they howled at us and tried to pee on our heads so we would leave their territory.
The next stop was Bangkok, before jumping on the plane to Kathmandu. Good bye Thailand.