Trip Start Nov 21, 2009
29Trip End May 31, 2010
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Where I stayed
Phang Puni National Park
Happy New Year one and all. Here's to 2010 - it's going to be a better year this year. Started off pretty good.
Have had the best week. The first part of the week was spent camping in the National Park. Haven't been camping for years, now I remember why. It wasn't so bad once you got used to it and the treks we went on certainly made up for it. The first night was spent at the Rangers centre, it was only Dee, Oly and myself and of course the random dogs that seem to be everywhere in Thailand. The Rangers were nice enough chaps, they played guitar and sang thai songs for us. They drink the most hideous of drinks, can't remember what it's called but it's 29 percent proof and it tastes vile. They offered me some and I took a sip and that was more than enough for me, yuk
Our first night in the tent wasn't too bad. Not a great night's sleep, was sharing with Dee, she gets up early to pray (Muslim) so was awake at dawn. Had quick breakfast and then we had to pack up our tents and stuff to head further up the Mountain - 3500ft above sea level - Angel Mountain was our final destination. The driver dropped us off and we began our first day's trekking. The three of us and the guide. No mercy and certainly not for the faint hearted - up and down river banks, over rocks through streams, climbing up waterfalls - yes that's right climbing up the rocks of the waterfalls - don't remember it saying that in the itinerary, and some parts of the climb were really scary. Snakes, spiders, bugs - just your average day out. The scenery was beautiful and when we finally got to the largest of the three waterfalls - we took a natural shower. If you can imagine the strongest power shower and triple it - so refreshing, didn't mind the cold as it was just nice to get a respite from the heat
The family who looked after the place were lovely. The house was made up of bamboo, and off cuts of wood. There was a basin on the floor, a dirt floor, with a tap for cold water and this was used for everything from washing to washing up, clothes washing etc. No electricity, no hot water, very limited cooking facilities - but the lady of the house still managed to turn out the tastiest food. The children were lovely and so eager to learn. Each night we sat by the camp fire under the light of the moon and the stars.
The local village was poor, very poor - one village shop which sold coca cola, eggs, water ,some toileteries and a few handmade scarfs. Oh and there was a telephone box. Everything was filthy, especially the children - but the happiest little souls I've ever seen, always smiling. People have been so friendly, so accomodating - can't do enough for you. I find the whole experience rather humbling to be honest - they have nothing and yet they still happy to share with you
The children from the village came up and gave us a dance - so cute - have taken video to let you see, hopefully I will be able to upload it.
Day two of trekking was up the mountain, bearing in mind my legs were still aching from the day before. Off we set with the greatest of intentions, my goodness it was hard work. We had just started up the base of the mountain when Dee announced that she could go no further, well that was all the excuse I needed - so we headed back to camp. I know what you're thinking, defeatist attitude - I can honestly say most people would have struggled and I'm not as fit as I used to be.....clearly!!! My muscles still ache now.
The afternoon was a trip to the local caves, about an hours walk - easy compared to previous day. Then back to camp for relaxation, chilled in the hammock for a while. Bliss, doesn't get much better than this.
Our night's sleep was interrupted by locals who turned up at 3.00am and partied til 5.00am. Was not a happy bunny - no point stressing about it though
When we arrived at the Dam we were in pretty good spirtits, had some beer for New Year and were looking forward to a shower, didn't care that it wasn't hot. We didn't have to sleep in a tent anymore and we could get our laundry done - clean clothes, yay.
The place was breathtaking, reminded me a little of Scotland which was rather apt as it was New Year's eve. The lake was like a millpond and the mountains in the background, stunning. There was a local man fishing and I can honestly say it was picture perfect.
We had supper by the side of the lake and then we had the rest of the time to chill. We had the chance to go to a party, but we just decided to stay where we were. The shack at the side of the lake had speakers and music that someone had downloaded from their ipod - we had our very own full moon party for three, hahaha. I brought some Armstrong tartan with me and recited Burns and sang Auld Lang Syne - had to be done.....Im not sure anyone understood a word of it though.
The last day and we headed to a hotel in Singpanburi - was relatively cheap hotel but at least the shower/bath was hot and we had a proper bed for the night
We took a wonder through the town in the evening and visited what looked lik our post office tower. There were various water and light displays around - have seen these before in Bangkok. Early night for everyone as so tired.
Back at Lemon House today for the last time. Heading to Ko Samet tomorrow for 6 days - beach week. Long overdue. I have caught some sun but its all in patches, somewhat resemblant of a zebra - working on my tan will be a priority.
My visa ran out on 31st December, so will either have to go to immigration in Bangkok or do a border run to Cambodia, to get my passport stamped again. Am not overly worried as apparently travellers do this all the time. Will keep you posted......