Published: March 10th 2009March 6th 2009
Khao Sok National Park covers an area of over 738 sq. km. Its spectacular limestone range studded with many caves, towers over almost pirstine tropical evergreen mudstone and siltstone terrain which is cut by many streams and rivers making much of the park difficult to access.
Together with the adjacent wildlife sanctuaries, Khao Sok forms part of the largest continuous nature preserve in the Thai peninsula and also the major watershed for the region. This area is an invaluable wildlife habitat especially for many large mammals which rely on large areas of undisturbed forest for thier survival.
In short--it is a stunning place. It's also raining in the driest of dry seasons. It's winter here in Thailand which (usually) means no rain and dry, dry, dry. Or not. The German Lesbian who has decided to tag along, and I managed to find a swimming hole in the Sok river before the late afternoon rains arrived and turned into the evening rains and turned into the overnight rains....
So much for a night safari or an all day trek or going to the Lake. We sat on our bungalow porch at Our Jungle House (too expensive and a crabby German owner),
reading and listening to music. It was actually a nice way to detox after the retreat! Except for the part where I am trying to read and I find GL staring at me instead. Can you say creepy??
The next day loomed cloudy and threatening of rain, so again, no trek planned--only more reading and an Thai massage indulgence satisfied.
By this time, I've learned that GL likes to talk. Alot. About everything. And nothing. In a voice that grates on my last nerve. In broken English that I may or may not understand. At first I went to a lot of trouble to understand but already she's wearing on my nerves and I just smile and nod hoping that's enough. It's exhausting and I'm ready for the rain to end so we can go our separate ways.
Oh, but she had planned 'our' entire holiday out! She was all, 'and after Khao Sok we can go here and then we can go here and I'm all like, WHOA German Lesbian'! 'We' aren't going anywhere together. I'm going scuba diving after this (thank god she doesn't dive or I'm quite sure she'd follow me there as well) and you're
going...well...where ever you're going which is NOT where I'm going.
I travel by myself for a reason. There's only one person I can be around 24 hours a day and she's not here.
She has a not-so-hidden crush on me and it's more than a bit suffocating. We are also traveling on different budgets and I'm tired of hearing her complain about the cost of things I am planning on doing. Um...no one is keeping you here, you are free to go at any time! But instead she just follows me around doing whatever I want and complaining. It's maddening.
I am trying so hard to practice my loving kindness meditation and vent all my frustrations here instead.
Besides, she was just here last year...so I have a pretty good idea why she's staying around....
Finally! The rain went away and we were able to make an all day trek!
Nung House organized a 10 K trek with our guide Jac, through the jungle to see the famous Rafflesia, the world's largest flower and then on to the Than Sawan waterfall.
Our guide showed up looking like he was ready to go on a date in Bangkok. Seriously,
his hair was perfectly coiffed, he had on long, baggy fashion shorts, loads of jewelry and an awesome belt buckle. He topped it off with fashion sneakers with barely a tread, laces loose and no socks.
At least he wasn't wearing flip flops.
We started with a steep 3k climb straight up the side of the mountain in search of the rafflesia. There was a spectacular one in bloom and they are really amazing. After a few more km's, I off-handedly asked Jac when was the last time he did this trek? His reply made me realize I needed to ask a few more questions before booking a trek. Apparently, this is the hardest trek they offer. It's over 13km and they only do it about once a month because no one is crazy enough to book it! Also, we'd started over an hour late (GL is never on time...another pet peeve) so we needed to go a bit faster.
I did a crazy tough trek in Sumatra last year and I do declare this one was harder. There was virtually no 'path' and had we not had Jac with us, we never would've found this trek.
the most challenging thing I've done in a very long time...there were so many times during the day where I thought 'you want me to get from here to there like that?' and then I did it.
There was one point we were literally rock climbing down the side of the waterfall Than Sawan and one false move and you were dead. We got to a ledge and Jac stops and is looking around. 'Rope' he says. Great. There is supposed to be a rope for us to get off this ledge and the rope is gone. I'm looking up thinking, 'there's no way in hell I can get back up the side of this cliff.' No worries. Jac finds another route, we hang onto vines and crash into trees hoping the branches hold us and keep us from plunging to an early death.
It was GREAT!!!!
We were handsomely rewarded with the most beautiful waterfall all to ourselves and we enjoyed lunch and a swim before heading out for the last 6km.
Heading down the stream bed Jac is getting further and further ahead until finally I say, 'Jac, you need to go a bit slower. I can't see
where you are crossing and it's making it very hard for me.'
His answer: 'I'm sorry! I'm trying to go fast because I have to shit!'
Well, how can you argue with this kind of honesty? Poor guy, I really felt for him!
If you are in Khao Sok and feeling ready for an adventure--go on the all day trek--I swear you will have the best one ever!
There are more photos below