In desperate need of escape from Bangkok, Khao Sok is the obvious place to go, I now want to live in a treehouse!
I feel like Bangkok is marmite, you either love it or you hate it. This is the height of summer… I hate it. I arrived in Bangkok 2 weeks ago from a really calm part of Tokyo, I went from the wonderful Japanese cultures and mild weather to 40 degrees heat. It was hot, smelly, noisy and I truly hated it! Now I’m dropping my friend, Tooch, back off at Bangkok so she can catch her flight home, and its certainly not growing on me. So I need to escape.
Everyone who has been to Khao Sok National park has said nothing but great things about it. So I thought I’d give it a go. Paradise is just a 12 hour night train away… but sadly, just my luck, there are no beds left. So just a seat for me. To rub salt into my wounds the rather large (putting it politely) woman who is sat next to me, is sleeping over the arm rest. She Sleeps solid as a rock, meaning every time I push her or try and more her arm, she doesn’t move, doesn’t wake. Just lays obtrusively in my space, needless to say I didn’t sleep much.
I’ve mentioned my lack of geographical skills before, but usually I manage to book a hostel in the right location… this time my stupidity shone through. I booked one night in Bike Cycle Hostel which was a lovely little hostel. It was literally perfect for what I wanted, the owner Rosamarin was wonderful, the area was peaceful and I chilled out for the whole day, caught up with Better Call Saul and edited a big chunk of my photos. I booked it because I planned to stay a night or two then do the lake stay in one of the floating bungalows on the lake in the park. But it turns out Takua Pa was still over an hour from Khao Sok, so the next day I caught a bus to Khao Sok, in search for a hostel.
Instead of a hostel, I found the Tree House Resort. It’s more expensive than I would like to pay, but how often do you get the opportunity to stay in a treehouse in the jungle! I have a small house with A/C and a hammock on the balcony, what more could you want in life. My surroundings are full of animals and creepy crawlies. Lizards galore, ants, frogs and the constant buzz of cicadas.
The overnight stays in the bungalows are fully booked. So I booked onto the one day jungle and cave tour. There’s 8 of us in the Minibus, about 30 minute drive to the Dam where the tour starts, we all board a long boat. 1 hour of cruising through one of the most magnificent lakes I have ever been on, past small beaches that no one would have ever visited, trees that were drowned years ago, but their skeletons refuse to die and sink into the water. We arrive to the floating bungalows, steamed rice, sweet and sour chicken and deep fried fish from the lake await us. Then its off on the hike, 2.5km through the jungle, literally. We are climbing up tree roots, over and under felled trees, wading through streams up to our knees. Hundreds of butterflies flitter around our heads, black, yellow, blue, white all so vivid on the green backdrop of the jungle. Flying lizards, centipedes and the biggest spiders I have ever seen.
When we get to the cave our guide gives us a head torch. It’s dark inside he says. The cave is cool, a nice contrast from the sweltering heat outside. 30 seconds in and we are in complete darkness, nothing but a small dim circle of light from our torches to guide us. A stream runs through this cave, it’s cool water starts shallow, before you know it you are wading through water up to your waist. The uneasy rocks beneath make me a little hesitant to confidently stroll through, but I managed to not fall over. Our guide stops to show us two spiders sat (or stood, I’m not sure what the correct term is) on the rocks at the side. These two were, to date, the biggest spiders I have seen in my life. A scorpion spider and a huntsman. They looked as mean as they did scary, semi camouflaged on the rocks and staring back at us. Because these things sit in the dark all day, they only have the energy to run for around 6 seconds, then they can hardly move.
Looking at these spiders you notice their reflective eyes, like a cat’s. After this brief encounter, I start to notice that these reflective eyes are scattered around like the stars at night, thousands of spiders all looking down at me. It’s about now I wish I was out of this cave. 700m later and we emerge into daylight. A quick trek back to the boat and we are done for the day.
Back to my treehouse and I feel like a little walk into the small town that sandwiches the road down to Khao Sok. 500M down the road and it starts to rain a little, a nice cooling spray of rain is pretty welcoming, soon that light spray of rain becomes torrential rain, time to turn around I think. Before I know it I am drenched to the bone, my glasses are so saturated I cannot see through them, the skies are black and thunder fills the void between raindrops. The weather here is beautiful, but when it rains… boy does it rain!
Ever been to Khao Sok, or experienced South East Asia’s storms let me know.