Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Khao Sok, singular? Here's me thinking they only came in four-packs

Khao Sok National Park

So we had an eventful though disappointing time at the park. Disappointing in that the severe rain meant we couldn't do the jungle trek and also disappointing in the fact that we almost drowned on the canoe trip. Saying this, we still had a great time. The people are wonderful and the area is quite magical as jungle tends to be. We knew it was rainy season anyway so were ready for it to be wet, thought didn't anticipate how wet it could actually turn out to be. We avoided flooding, though it was close. The French chap and his son who we met on the lake trip had stayed at a place way out of the village which had flooded when the river overflowed. Their bungalow was on stilts so was OK, but the things they had left at ground level had to be recovered later when the water had subsided. It's also disappointing that the National Park itself is largely shut during during the rainy season so you can't actually go in there and see some of the wildlife. It would be far better to visit in the dry season, though wildlife is supposed to be more difficult to find then (but if you can't get into the park to see it, you'll not experience it anyway!).

A busier time would also be good as more of the bars and restaurants might have been open during the evening, and those that were might have been open later. We'd certainly come back and stay on the floating houses on the lake. On the other hand, we'd not touch the canoe trip with a bargepole, never mind a kayak paddle. We have seen more in Khao Yai National Park in the NW of the country which seemed altogether less touristy, though it was quite a few years ago since we were there so this may have changed.

Coming in the wet season you need to be prepared to get wet and stay wet, wear plenty of mossie repellent and you can see stuff if you are alert (we managed two types of monkey, two snakes, a few birds, bats and frogs). The frogs croaking after the rain is quite fun and we actually found a small frog in our bathroom on the day we left. If you take this on board you can have a great time any time of year. According to the book about the place which they had at our lodge called Gibbon Calls and Waterfalls (and you can actually hear the whooping calls of gibbons all over the place in the morning), it is supposed to be one of the oldest rainforest habitats on the planet. It is a very good book explaining a lot about various parts of the ecosystem. My favourite one the author explains is the sweat bee that I'd heard of before and encountered before, but hadn't realised they were the same thing. These are tiny black bees that really hover around your head really annoyingly and are difficult to swat away. They are attracted to the salts in your sweat and won't actually hurt you I now know, so if and when I experience theme again I won't be so irritated by them.

So it's time to move on from the jungle and head to the beaches of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan

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