After leaving our lovely little beach front bungalow in Samui (where we did out previous post) we have had some quite exciting experiences (to do with animals, once again), and also some extremes of comfort on the housing front. We took a ferry to the mainland to get to the Khao Sok national park and it all went very well, and as we had not booked any tickets beforehand we were feeling quite pleased with ourselves. It wasn't until we had got off the ferry and were trying to walk into the town centre to catch the bus, that we realised that our ferry hadn't taken us to where we thought, but to this little place in the middle of nowhere, where there was a further hour's drive to Surit Thani (the place we thought we were in already!). By this time we had missed all the buses, so we had to wait for the next ferry to arrive, and got on a minibus to the city. So it all ended up fine in the end, but we hadn't been quite as lucky with the travel as we'd hoped...
All this travel was to take us to Khao Sok national park, which is one of or the oldest rainforest in the world, something crazy like 130 million years old! We picked out a nice sounding place from the guide book and headed there, to find that they had slashed all there prices by half as it was low season. So we could stay in the top of the range bungalow for not much money at all (4.50 Pounds or 7 Euros), great... ish... It turned out, I suppose unsurprisingly, that there was quite a lot of wildlife in the area who thought our room was lovely, so we all shared it! Us, the frog, the giant beetles, the geckos, the bats, and the snake! We made a lovely little family! The snake managed to confine himself to just staring at us in the bathroom this time, but the bats thought it was great fun to fly aroud the bedroom!
This didn't make us immediately feel at home, but the scenery was beautiful and we thought a little walk in the jungle would but us at ease, as I was still getting over my snake-in-the-lap -trauma. Walking up the road to the park entrance Jenni suddenly stopped next to me and yelped, I looked down, screamed, and bravely ran away from the aggressively reared up 1.5m long bright green snake crossing the road! Jenni calmly walked away a little bit and took this photo so you could all see it. The snake then calmed down and slithered across the road and up a tree. So we have got a good collection of snake incounters now, Jenni almost walked into one, I had one in the lap and one staring at us in the shower, a snake lovers' paradise! We did make it onto the walk and were treated to a view of a small group of monkeys feeding up in the trees right near us, much more our cup of tea!
The next day we did an organised trek and visited a floating raft house deep in the jungle. We got to spend about an hour watching some more monkeys feeding in the trees which was great, and also a leech, which was gross! Our guide thought it would be good to leave it on the guy who had it on his arm so that we could all see how big they get and how to get rid of them! The scenery was again stunning, amazing rock formations around this lake that we travelled across for an hour on a longtail boat to get to the start of the trek. During the walk we discovered why they are called rain forests, it rains! Proper hardcore "I'm standing under a shower" heavy rain. The track we had walked up became a stream and we were then walking in at least 10cm of water the whole way back to the boat. It was great fun and we got soaked, but the camera didn't seem to agree, but it seems to have recovered now!
We then moved on to the Andaman coast which is the west coast and is in rainy season a the moment, which is proving correct! Were in Khao Lak which was hit really hard by the 2004 Tsunami destroying most of the beach front properties and killing many people. Lots of the places have been rebuilt now, but the beach still has many remnants of the pre-tsunami era and shrines to those who died that day. It is quite upsetting walking on the beach here and seeing the half buried steps and bridges to nowhere and the huge empty plots of rubble and debris.
We are staying in a super luxury hotel at the moment which is amazing, by far and away the nicest place I have ever stayed in. They have all slashed the prices massively to try and lure people in and it worked with us, it is not much more than the cheapy places we normally stay in but it has air con, TV, Swimming Pool, little shampoo and bath cream bottles, a bath, soaps, towels, toilet roll, orchids, it is lovely. It is a bit wierd as you feel like you could be anywhere in the world, it doesn't feel like being in thailand really, so it is like we have had a short holiday from our trip, strange but quite nice too!
Right that will do for now. We are now probably going to go to Malaysia, we are trying to work out how to go there as there is a bit of a slight bombing problem in the South of Thailand at the moment. We need to make sure we avoid as many bombs as we can as they don't sound very nice!
Make sure you check out our new photos, there's lots from New Zealand, and quite a few from Thailand as well. Click on the photos on the right!
Lots of Love
Dan and Jenni