The Big Adventure: Khao Sok National Park

Stop three was Southern Thailand’s largest and most spectacular national park: Khao Sok. Being our first real hike and having a mere 2 nights we were pathetically unadventurous, following the typical tourist trail and probably missing most of the wildlife that scurried around us. When one pair we saw said they had spotted over 50 monkeys to our one measly izard we felt sheepishly like blind backpacker failures and nodded as if we knew what they were talking about. We learnt though, oh we learnt.

Travelling Tip: don’t take the package journey from Phangan to Khao Sok – you can save around 1000 baht if you get off your ass and look for the buses yourself. We were ambushed at the ferry point at 6am and were taken in by this – the little woman seemed so genuine. But 2000 baht later we – again – felt foolish. Obviously tourists it appeared.

This was our very first introduction to what I call the Thai Minibus spectacle. To be more exact – Thai drivers are maniacs. Your life means nothing to them. Neither does their own. The only thing that matters to them is their car horns – beeeeep they go, gathering passengers, be they human or of the caged chicken variety, to get an extra few hundred baht. Tip: close your eyes and pray. Or take travel tablets to pass out and sleep it out. Either way – good luck.

Accommodation: we like a cheap deal. Agoda – the website of cheap hotel wonders – found us the cheapest of cheap deals in the form of cute stilt hut hostel, Nung House. The owner, a man with the longest healthiest and shiniest hair I have ever come across and an adorable 6 week old baby kitten, was so unbelievably welcoming we immediately wanted to stay longer. The hut was a shack in the air – you could see through the gaps to the floor, all that existed was a double bed covered by a Disney themed mosquito net, and a bathroom with a barely-there ceiling of twigs. It was perfect.

Photo @ nunghouse.com

Photo @ nunghouse.com

Photo @ nunghouse.com 
Photo @ nunghouse.com

Photo @ nunghouse.com

Photo @ nunghouse.com

Khao Sok covers around 740 square kilometres and stretches from Surat Thani to the Krabi province and Phuket.  Parts of the rainforest are said to be even older than the Amazon and there are some incredible stories attached to it. For example, during the 1970s a group of rebel communist students hid out and lived in the Namatloo cave, fighting against the Thai Government. Some believe that had it not been for these students, the forest would not be what it is today because of deforestation and miners. Wild boars roam the forest, wild elephants leave trees trampled, gibbons sing high and lizards slither wild. We may have been blind fools and missed every one of these, but we did find a gigantic bird-eating spider – I forget its species but the yellow bands around each of its legs told me RUN.

My biggest regrets: not staying longer. My second: not doing any of the organised trips. Not one for such trips we brushed past them and never really considered them an option – looking back I wish I had bitten the bullet and paid for the canoeing, night safari and elephant trip. This has left me with only one thing – back we must go!

Wild Wanderer

What a view

Posing in my flattering trainers


Cascading waterfalls, limestone cliffs, glistening canopies


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