Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Khao Yai National Park



My friend Ann and I have just returned from a couple of nights away in the Khao Yai National Park, which is two and a half hours from Bangkok and easy to reach by bus.

We stayed at the Green Leaf Guesthouse which the first Lonely Planet “top pick” I have stayed in since they introduced the system. It was a friendly place that was clean and comfortable. I sometimes marvel at how business in Thailand can make any money. We were staying in a large family room (two double beds) for 300 baht a night, which is about £6. This included taxis to and from the local bus station, which is 20km away. How do they make a living and pay all the staff? The weren’t many luxuries knocking about, but I still find it remarkable.

The highlight of our trip was the full day tour that we did organised by our guesthouse. We started by driving into the National Park and along some of the trails. Our first stop was when we tantalisingly saw some trees / bushes being shaken by elephants, although sadly the elephants themselves were elusive. I’ve never seen elephants in the wild and frustratingly still haven’t as we spent the day chasing shadows.

Next up we saw a great hornbill, a monitor lizard…

…. and monkeys…


After the driving safari we set off on a two/three hour hike through the jungle. We were made to wear rather sexy leech socks and warned of the risk of ticks. I was feeling nervous every time an insect landed on me. We saw gibbons…

…and spiders…


Bear marks on the trees and elephant dung on the trails, but still no elephants. As in Costa Rica there were lots of parasites climbing the trees and killing their hosts.

After a couple of hours of hot and sweaty trekking, and a lovely snack of coconut sticky rice with egg custard, we arrived at our lunch time break spot which was a large hide for watching animals surrounded by meadows and forest. Again as in Costa Rica, from a distance I was struck how much of a green and pleasant land, like England, everything looked. However, up close the flora and forna was very different.

After lunch we had a drive through a different section of the park until we arrived at the Haew Suwat waterfall where we went for a swim in the cooling waters. Ann thought the waterfall was featured in the film The Beach. Never having seen the movie the full way through I couldn’t comment!

When they said a full day tour they really meant it, it was a tiring eleven and a half-hours! All of the drinks, snacks and food were included. Great value.

All my photos are here if you would like to take a look.

3 comments:

  1. How do they make a living and pay all the staff?

    the full day tour that we did organised by our guesthouse

    Ricardo it's called a "loss leader" ;-)

    Great pics.

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  2. don't worry Ritchie, that 'bang-for-the-buck' feeling will come crashing down in Sydney!

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  3. @ BE - the tour was pretty cheap too and included everything for nearly 12hrs. I sometimes think they are all loss leaders!

    @ Clint - I am beginning to get the sinking feeling about that. I am hoping you will have perfected the art of living on a shoe string and can show me the way....

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