18.01.2008 - 22.01.2008 30 °C
Chasing the Sun
So we ran away from the slightly iffy weather. In all honesty we ran from the impending full moon party. We’d seen the type of people it was attracting, not to mention 2/3 of the foreign population of Thailand aged 18-20. No, we are not old, but at the same time, being sick on the beach is not our thing. On top of that we’ve heard plenty of stories of glass and needles (eugh!) in the sand.
After sorting out tickets to Surat Thani (mainland) with ease we jumped on the high speed ferry at lunch time. We had the usual “do we go on the deck in the sun and risk losing a seat indoors or not” dilemma. We didn’t have to worry. The air-con “VIP” part of the boat was 40 Baht extra and only about 6 people took up the offer! It was cool (yay! Aircon for the 1st time in 2 weeks) and comfortable. We were happy, and falling asleep. Shortly afterwards a body builder type Brit and hit blonde companion sat at the front, and upon being offered choices of movies, he instantly chose Resident Evil. Class.
EVERYONE else (all wearing baseball caps) charged to the front and watched the masterpiece at full volume. We moved to the back :-) . So glad to be moving away ! (toilet was fun. I took a look and walked out). Oh yeah – At this stage I had the galloping trots. Nice! – I took Imodium for the boat trip. A very good decision.
Anyhow! :-) got to Surat Thani and booked a minibus to the Koh Sok National Park – a wonder of Thailand. Our driver was nothing short of mental.
We had all sorts of things planned for the National Park, tubing down the river, climbing up waterfalls, swimming in rock pools, sleeping on the lake. Slight problem though. We’d arrived at full moon, and the dry season. Full moon means no night safaris – the animals see you before you see them, and the dry season means no tubing, no waterfalls and no rock pools. Hmm. Slight cock up. No matter though, we had a super time and we’ll go back when there has been some rain. We stayed in a hut on stilts called a “river hut”. Not quite the same when there is no river lol. There were HUGE spiders on the balcony and all around. I was a nervous wreck.
We took a canoe trip down a river – me and K and a guide who did the rowing. It was nothing short of stunning. He parked our canoe under a Green Mamba (worrying) and various other snakes and critters. Then the moment came. He said “Look! Spider”. We were a few feet away from the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in real life. I nearly filled my pants with my recently inherited diarrhoea . After that he avoided the spiders, though every time we canoed thought undergrowth I laid down and cowered. Overall it was a good few hours of beauty and tranquillity. We are so going back when it rains some more. They do trips to the lake where you trek all day through the jungle and waterfalls, then stay on a floating house boat on the lake, then wake up to the jungle orchestra and swim ,then trek some more. Everyone we have spoken to says it’s the most amazing adventure they have ever done. Looking forward to that one :-) (although they take you through a cave with spiders the size of your head – which causes a lot of panic, mainly in the female crowd). Our guide / rower – called me a ladyboy when he saw how terrified I was of spiders. Git!
At this stage we’d already decided to move on and come back later but we were pleasantly surprised by two things. Bear in mind we are in the middle of a jungle with a handful of bars and not much else (so tranquil – the noise of the jungle is mesmerising) – we found a) a Pizza restaurant – and boy oh boy – they made perfect proper Italian pizzas – total heaven (Thai food is great but a change is fabulous), and secondly (ok, b) ), after exploring a seemingly dead-end jungle path – a bar on stilts (the approach being a wobbly rope bridge straight from a Pirates movie) overlooking a plain that was almost like a scene from Africa. We drank beers and cowered as a massive ugly spider hung near by. It was beautiful. (oh, and we fed monkeys by the river :-) ) – cheeky monkeys.
(Spot the Cheeky Monkey)
(we were not the only ones having a great time)
(Where could this lead?)
We are quickly learning that taking 20 minutes to explore your surroundings can reveal some awesome places.
Leaving the national park, and very, very welcoming and helpful hosts (the manager was very honest and explained that night safaris were a little pointless at full moon) (Bamboo Bungalow resort) we set off on another bus heading to the Koh Samilian islands – reputed to be some of the best coral snorkelling and diving in Thailand/World. We met “Tony” the Germain at the bus stop who we’d bumped into the night before at the pizza place (he walked past and said “Bangkok – Shanti Lodge!” – he recognised us form Bangkok lol) – very nice chap – a teacher and musician from Stuttgart who was having a great time walking on his own trough the jungle and recording the nature sounds to use in his music. – Hi Tony! – look forward to seeing you in Stuttgart.
- aside note – we are meeting great people all the time and making new friends who all seem very happy to show us around their home towns when we get there (Stuttgart and Bavaria so far – Germany is covered lol – half of Germany seems to be here!)
So now were are in Koh Lak at a lovely bungalow overlooking the beach. We got dropped off a the “drive” and walked 1km with our packs to the resort – we are feeling very righteous! We are booked to leave tomorrow at 8am for a 3 day snorkelling trip to the Koh Similian Islands. We will be camping in a tent for 2 nights on the beach! Very excited. After that, we plan to go a little up-scale and stay in Koh Lanta (where the Tsunami hit worst) for a while with aircon and internet etc. We can afford small bursts of luxury here and there. We hope. (may well hook up with Chris and Slavka too who we’ve had a great time with in Koh Pha Gnang)
(only one day here :-) not exactly crowded)
Getting into the traveller groove. We hiked up to the resort with a Candian girl called Heather and there were only two rooms left. One wooden with more chance of bugs and one smart and new. She took the wooden one but we offered to share ours with her (4 beds – stop sniggering!) – so the three of us are sharing. Saves money and everyone is happy. We are all on our balcony now drinking beers and getting tips on Canada, which , to be fair, we’d kind of overlooked.
Off snorkelling now – speak soon.