Hot Spring Waterfalls

Trip Start Nov 30, 2009
Trip End Nov 06, 2010

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Flag of Thailand  , Krabi,
Monday, January 18, 2010

Hot Spring Waterfalls:

Today we decided to take our trusty scooter out to see some waterfalls and hot springs. The ride was supposed to be only 45 minutes from town, so we brought lots of water and snacks and headed out.
In Thailand, you drive on the left side of the road, so we felt our few days of short trips had given us enough confidence to ride on the highway for a longer time. There is a lot of traffic on Thai highways, and this one was no different. There are usually 2-3 lanes with the far left lane being designated for scooters only. In the middle of the highway, there is usually a large meridian, with spaces every few hundred meters. If a local needs to drive down the road, but does not want to bother crossing the traffic, that's exactly what they do. It's perfectly acceptable to just drive in the far left lane, towards oncoming traffic as long as you aren't driving very fast (under 20 kms/hour). So many times throughout our journey, we would have to get out of the way of cars/trucks and other scoters headed towards us in our own lane. It takes a little while to get used to it, but after a while it's just hilarious.  The ride was great for the first 30 minutes, until we got a flat tire. A wonderfully sweet Thai lady with perfect english pulled over and told us there was a mechanics just up ahead. On a long and mostly barren highway, we happened to get a flat tire only  only a few hundred meters from a mechanic. We pushed the scooter over and had it all fixed up a few minutes later. It only cost about $4. The mechanic pulled out a big shard of metal that we must have run over. They don't clean the side of the highways here ever, so a lot of nasty things can accumulate over time.  
We were all fixed up and back on the road. We rode for about another 15 minutes, and then we were pulled over by some police. The officer was very mad at us, but we had no idea why. He spoke next to no English, and all we could understand was "you pay". We had heard of totally corrupt Thai police and figured we just had the bad luck of being pulled over by one. We were reluctant to just hand money over to him without some kind of receipt, and it caused a bit of a commotion. Luckily, he called over his superior officer who spoke decent english. The other cop told us that we didn't have a license plater on our scooter and we did not have the proper registration papers. We had to go over to a little booth the had set up on the side of the road and pay them 300 baht (about $10), although we did manage to get a receipt. After another hassle, we finally got back on the road and headed off the highway and into the jungle. 
This area of Thailand is really unique and has many areas in the jungle where water boils up through the ground and from hot springs of various temperatures and chemical compositions. Some of these are said to have healing properties. Unfortunately, hotels have set up shop around some of the hot springs, but luckily a few managed to be made into parks. We rode for another 20 minutes and finally made it to the first park. This place was really beautiful. The jungle is all virgin rainforest and the trees are huge and covered in twisted vines. The water boils up through the ground in a few different places here, one pool is a deep shade of blue, and another is orange, but because some the water is highly acidic, only one place is safe to swim, the Emerald Pool. It gets it's name from the beautiful shade of green it turns around dawn and dusk. When we were there it was the middle of the afternoon but it was still a lovely shade of aquamarine. The water is great for swimming in, the temperature varies, and when we were there it was around 30 degrees but it is usually about 40 degrees. They have a set up a little hut with a diving platform over the deepest section of the pool and we did a few dives.

Next we headed over to another nearby park with hot-spring waterfalls, about 10 minutes down the road. This place was amazing, hot water rises from several springs and flows through a forest until it tumbles down a bluff down into a large deep pool. Over the course of hundreds of years, the minerals dissolved in the water have naturally formed about a dozen pools the size of jacuzzis enriched with 40 degree mineral water. 

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