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Entries about jungle

Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

Trekking through the jungle - an entry by Chris

sunny 30 °C

It's Chris again. Zoë managed to contract tonsilitus for most of this section of the trip so it's up to me to write the blog.

Khao Sok National Park is a large area of jungle and limestone karsts in central Thailand. There is a small area where all of the accommodation and shops, restaurants etc serving visitors to the park are located. Most of the accommodation is bungalow type rooms on stilts. We booked a bungalow right on the river as we were intending to have an easy couple of days relaxing on the balcony, reading, drinking and snoozing after a pretty non-stop couple of weeks. As usual this didn't materialize and before we'd arrived we'd already planned a couple of trips into the jungle.

Unfortunately on arriving Zoë was a bit worse for wear and after a good look down her gullet with a touch it turned out she had tonsillitis. She spent the first afternoon napping whilst I relaxed on the balcony.

The next day she still wasn't feeling right so for the first time on our trip I decided to venture out on my own, guessing she would probably sleep through most of the day. Our guidebook suggested two different trails into the jungle and I decided to try what sounded like the shorter but more challenging trail so that if Zoë felt OK the next day we could do the longer, yet flatter one together.

After eating breakfast (alone), I set off along the 8km route (4km each way) as soon as the park opened to avoid the crowds and the worst of the heat. I needn't have bothered as I only saw one local jogger on the way there and about 5 people on the way back. The jungle was formed of thick bamboo and looked quite cool with the morning sun cutting through it. The first two or three kilometers were quite easy but then I had to start crossing rivers which meant getting wet shoes. This didn't bother me at first but then I realised that my ankle was bleeding and it turned out I was being leeched. I flicked the first few off but more kept appearing so I had to stop every few minutes to remove them. I then reached the waterfall which marked the end of the trail and the turning round point.

I took my shoes off to check for leeches and let them dry out a bit but as I was crossing the final river at the waterfall I slipped over. It wasn't until a few moments later that I realised that I now only had one shoe! After searching in the water in the vicinity of where I fell, I couldn't find it and wasn't looking forward to walking back with one bare foot no doubt being relentlessly eaten by leeches.

After a bit of thinking I decided to conduct a 'controlled experiment' where I would see if my one remaining shoe would sink or float, making sure I could grab it if it went downstream. It turned out they floated which meant my shoe could be miles away. Fortunately after setting out on what could have been a long expedition down the river I found my shoe lodged against a rock not far from where I fell. To say I was relieved would be an understatement. After a clamber up the waterfall and a bite to eat I set out on the return journey.

On the way back I bumped into a guy who we'd sat next to on the bus the day before. We ended up chatting for over an hour, standing in the middle of a stream, whilst he told stories of Thai body-to-body massages (apparently better than sex), getting into Aussie bar fights dressed as a woman, and the ethics of performance enhancing drugs in professional sport. I arrived back about 2.30 and Zoë had just got out of bed. I knew she was starting to feel better as she was ready for lunch.

Fortunately the next day Zoë was feeling better so we set out on the second of the jungle trails. It started off easy enough with some nice spots for swimming along the way. As we got closer to the turning round point the trail started to get a lot more difficult and it was becoming apparent that the guidebook suggesting that this was the easier trail was ill-informed. At points we were sliding down hills and clambering up the other side using our hands. This wasn't helped by wildly inaccurate distance markers, unless the last 200m did actually take us 45 minuted! We finally got to the waterfall at the end of the trail and were rewarded with a beautiful waterfall and rock pool which provided an excellent opportunity for a refreshing swim, made even better by only having to share it with one other person. The trip back dragged and I got leeched a fair bit again, but we stopped off for yet another swim which helped cool us down.

Before leaving I decided it was finally time to get my hair cut. Just realised, this is my second blog post and both times have been when I've had my hair cut. Anyway I was a bit nervous due the language barrier but after requesting 'same same but shorter' the result was fine and I was now a 'very sexy man', the hairdresser's words not mine!

The following morning we left Khao Sok, fully stocked up with corner shop antibiotics, aching and unrested to head to Khao Lak, an hour down the road and for another attempt at relaxing, this time on the beach.

Posted by Roaming Rolts 21:47 Archived in Thailand Tagged waterfalls trek jungle leeches Comments (1)

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