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Day 9- Khoa Sok- JUNGLE TREK

THAILAND | Saturday, 2 May 2015 | Views [156]

Its not easy to remember everything when you come to write it all down here- seems there's always something to write and something to slip your mind.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was the fireflies, think its my first time seeing them, they are extremely peaceful and seeing them fly around the jungle has become one of my favourite things.

And my overboard waterproof bag for my camera didn't work- although it was only a bit of water it was more than I would have wanted if my camera had been in it (my flip flops were in it for when we tried to swim down the river.

 

Today was trek day in the jungle so I have A LOT to write about, also I don't remember all the names of animals, plants etc, places we saw or all of the facts we were told.

 

Our day started earlier than our usual lazy starts, waking at 7 and making our way to breakfast. As we had woke up early we were able to see the morning mist over the hills. My breakfast consisted of a banana pancake with honey on top, the bananas were cooked inside the middle of the pancake and tasted amazing. Our guide arrived a bit before 9 and as we had arranged it through our host it was just the three of us. The tour cost B800 (£15) but didn't include a B300 (£6) entrance fee to the national park. Even though water is provided in the price we decided to bring some of our own- a litre bottle each and were also given another litre bottle. We were told to bring suncream, bug spray (trust me you WILL need it), money to pay the entrance fee and a swimming costume (which I should have worn before leaving our lodge).

 

As soon as we entered the gates to the park the guide stopped us and told us this innocent looking plant was very itchy and we shouldn't touch. This became a theme early on. We followed the main road like track which you are able to go along without a guide and stopped to see monkeys running along bamboo above our heads. The bamboo there was the fastest growing plant, growing 1 metre a day, and that during the wet season you can drink out of it but during the dry season bugs lived inside. We were told the park is home to 3 different kinds of monkeys and excitingly also elephants, tigers and clouded leopards (but these are all rare to see and your best chances are on a night safari).Although we didn't see any (much to my relief) we were shown tarantula holes where they were sleeping. Along the main path we tried a leaf which is used in thai cooking, our guide had a sense of humour and told us we were going to die in one hour before eating some himself. He also taught us how to say hello to a man, woman and "lady-boy". We went off the main track and up a tiny dirt path which you could almost not make out (I don't think this is allowed without a guide) and here he pulled a plant out the ground and cut off a bit of the root, after eating it he told us it was spicy (it REALLY was), what we had eaten was the equivalent to ginger (which I am not a fan of anyway). We encountered our first proper dangerous creature of the jungle, our guide told us to wait at the bottom of a hill while he went to investigate and then told us to follow him, leading us to a snake resting on a branch that could kill us in 5 hours. Although it was deadly it was beautiful to look at and also somewhat peaceful, at the time I was nervous but looking back I am really happy we got to see it.Down this small path was also our first encounter with leeches, we didn't have any on our skin however one had managed to make its way up my sock. From now on I started checking for leeches regularly. We crossed a river to get some great views and this was the first of many experiences where i learnt I am shit at crossing without a guide. You are able to see Win Him Waterfall (number 1) and Bang Hua Read (number 2) without a guide and this still allows you to swim in the river but for a proper jungle experience you are going to want to go with a guide to see numbers 3- 7. Before the people with guides split off and can start their off path trek you reach the monkey bar, a little covered seating area where you can buy a few drinks and see the river below. Our guide gave us rings made out of a plant that he had been making on the way to the bar. As soon as we arrived we saw why the bar had it's name and a monkey climbed up the side and walked along the wooden railing, once a crowd came in it retreated above us but still easy to view and photograph. At the monkey bar we also picked up another adventurer to our trip.

 

After this the real trek started. Think its important to mention that I don't trek or hike, my center of balance is terrible and this was my first trekking experience. Probably not the easiest one to start with.

Although we didn't see Win Him Waterfall (number 1) as close as other people we caught a glimpse as we started trekking to our next stop destination. Our guide checked with us multiple times whether we needed a break am stupidly I kept saying no. Along our way we faced even more leeches and climbing up and down pretty much vertical slopes and down rocks before arriving at Tang Nam (number 6). It is a really beautiful location, I would have been happy staying there all day. Here was somewhere where you were able to swim and after being exhausted trekking I was delighted when our guide said we were stopping there for an hour. While I checked my shoes for what had been hurting during the last bit before our break a leech attached itself to my hand, I quickly went over to our guide who flicked it off. I was annoyed I hadn't put my swimsuit under my clothes and was wishing I had been able to go in the water but after my bite the day before would have been hesitant anyway. We ate packed lunches that our host had prepared for us before we left on the side if the river. Our guide also cut up a pineapple for us, using the skin of the pineapple almost like a plate. Fish swam around the water and it was great to throw bits of food in and see them swarm round it, one type of fish almost looked as though it was made of tin foil with the light reflecting off its scales. Here was where I tried to cross the river on my own, I got half way before a massive rock I was on tipped over leaving an obstacle to the path in my head. The guide saw my confusion and come over guiding me to the other side of the river where I was able to take beautiful pictures of the view people swimming had. Once the person I was travelling with came out the water and was covered in 5-6 leeches I decided I was OK sat on the side. However on my way back I slipped on a rock and fell slightly so the guide came and helped me again, as if I wasn't embarrassed enough I then properly fell in the river and my guide took my camera off me until we made it to the riverbank. After seeing such a view and who I was traveling with taking my backpack to make it easier for me my mood for trekking improved.

 

Little did I know before that the next part of the trek I would find most difficult and was also the most narrow. After leaving Tang Nam we were confronted with a vertical rock wall which we needed to climb, I felt my face drop. My first attempt resulted in me sliding down the rock face, putting my camera on my back I attempted again. You had to kind of put your feet and hands either side and shuffle up. The trees we saw along our path were amazing and huge. We continued walking along a "path"- half of the time it was too narrow to stand comfortably with both feet next to each other- which wasn't easy when we were constantly ascending and descending the jungle over tree roots. I agreed to get a stick to help along the path and with my trusted stick the journey became somewhat easier. Our guide stopped us to cut down some bamboo, here he made us little bamboo cups and spoons. We reached Ton Loi Waterfall (number 7) and it was spectacular. Even though this had been the most difficult to get to if was amazing. Along with Tang Nam I couldn't get over how breath taking the jungle was. Here our guide heated water in bamboo and we drunk coffee out of our bamboo cups sat on rocks looking at the view.

 

The worst part about the day was leaving the jungle at returning to civilisation. Seeing cars after 8hours in the jungle felt a bit odd.

An experience I am delighted I did and won't forget.

Tags: jungle, khoa sok, trekking

 

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