A Whole New World

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
Our Jungle House Khao Sok National Park
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
chew lam dam

Flag of Thailand  , Surat Thani Province,
Saturday, December 29, 2012

The bus ride out of Surat Thani had us moving from dead flat terrain to incredible karsks jutting out of the jungle towards Khao Sok.

Khao Sok is Thailand's 1st protected reserve. Part of the oldest rainforest in the world, full of lizards, monkeys, snakes and tigers are said to live here. There is an area to the east that was flooded for a dam and looks incredible from the maps. I've been told it's Thailand's Guilin and I can't wait to see it!

A complete change has washed over us since arriving. Fresh air in our lungs and a beautiful landscape to behold. Suddenly we feel alive and are curious to get out and see everything. Immediately we booked out trip out to the lake. Everywhere there are sounds of things we cannot see. Within the first few hours of arriving, we've heard creatures we don't know what they are and have monkeys sitting on our balcony.

The next morning the giant karsks were playing peek-a-boo in and out of the morning mist. One moment you'd see a faded craig and then it would be gone, but another higher up would pop out. It only functioned to build anticipation for what was coming beyond the horizon at Chew Lam Lake. No longer used for hydro electrics, instead all that's left is an other-worldy landscape. Some kind of cross between jurassic park and avatar. Soon we were surrounded by sheer cliff-like karsks rising out of turquoise water like spires. Bit of trees and ferns cling to the edges like crazed rock climbers. Some of the karsks are to be the largest in the world – up to 960m. Looking at the far shore, you think it's a smooth range, but as you move along, you see it's an undulating series of hills at different heights and depths. Almost like God started to create a mountain range, got frustrated, crumpled it up, and threw it into Thailand. I couldn't take enough photos Everytime I opened my eyes from blinking, it was like I saw something new and unbelievable.

Arrived at one of the floating raft houses (the thick jungle and high cliffs make it difficult to build on land) for our lunches before setting out on or hike to the cave.

When we disembarked from the boat to start the hike, we could hear a gibbon in a far off tree serenading us – like some sort of good omen for the hike. The haunting sounds added a sense of serenity to our walk.

Into the dense jungle and farther from the gibbon's cry, we couldn't even see the mountain we were circling. Back and forth across the river we would follow all afternoon, we finally came to the cave the river was entering into. Now I didn't think it would be possible to tip hiking up a waterfall.  But hiking down a river with waterfalls whilst IN a cave did! For almost a kilometre and a hour in the pitch dark we walked. Past the spiders and bats and through all kinds of conditions. At one point, we needed to crab walk through a cravasse which was too narrow at the bottom for our bodies, but the river was running through. So instead, one hand on either side and our feet following suit, we made our way across. When it finally widened enough for our bodies, we were sinking down into water up to our necks. At times I couldn't touch the bottom at all!

Ah! Another reason to love travelling in Thailand! No safety restrictions. No waivers. No health assessments. No nothing – just go! Interesting how the print-ups say there 'may be some swimming inside the cave' and nothing else. And the stories of people who have died in that cave are only told AFTER finishing...

The lake had another treat for us as a reward for our accomplishments. With the sun setting the mountains put on fresh faces in the different light for us to gaze at.

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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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ma on

which one did you say was the monkey?

2totango on

i didn't ;)

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