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February 19, 2006

Khao Sok National Park

I hooked up with Wendy (Canada) and Alice (Australia) to take the bus ($3) up to Khao Sok National Park for a night. It's beautiful! There were butterflies everywhere. I think I saw 100 of them.

We found a room at the Morning Mist Resort, for 800 bht/night (about $5 per person for 4 of us). The restaurant in the hotel was beautiful, very earthy and outdoorsy. We spent the afternoon floating down a river in innertubes ($6.25). Ultimately 24 volunteers came out and coordinated, somehow.

Saundra came out as well, and had a lovely all-wooden bungalow with mosquito nets and a porch out front. We sat and listened to the crickets and the birds as dusk fell. They grew louder and louder in the darkness, and we watched some mice travelling back and forth along the leaves and branches. It was very peaceful.

After dinner, we all hung out at the Rasta Bar in town for a while. Reggae is big here, for some reason. (I suspect at least part of the appeal, just like in the states, is the ganga.)

Sunday morning, Saundra decided she was too worn out to hike, so after a very leisurely breakfast where I was joined eventually by Alice, I set out to the park to do a 2k rainforest hike on my own to a waterfall ($2.50 to get into the park, at half off for volunteers).

The hike was sheerly vertical, and consisted entirely of stone steps. Have any of you ever hiked the hidden steps in Silverlake? You're all amateurs. This wasn't a hike, it was a climb. Without the steps in the rainy season, it would have been a sledding expedition.

The trail was straightforward, until one point it made a T. My instinct was to head right, but I was approaching my turnaround time to make the 3pm bus back home. So, no waterfall. But I did see a cute baby green snake on my way back. Of course I got down in less than 1/3 the time it took me to climb, and I had plenty of time to make the bus.

Nick, Alice and I hitched 1k up to the main road, and another guy I'd seen on the hike gave me the scoop—I had chosen the right direction, but the waterfall was another 40 minutes up the trail. No time for a swim, for sure, so I'm glad I turned back.

And then tonight on my way to dinner I saw a lightning bug by my bungalow! I tried to tell my server about it by drawing a small bug with a lightbulb for a butt...but it didn't translate. I'll have to find out the Thai word for firefly.

Posted by sedda at February 19, 2006 07:08 PM