Khao Yai - jungle wildlife galore!

Trip Start Aug 21, 2007
Trip End Dec 20, 2007

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The natural splendour of Khao Yai National Park!

We travelled from Phitsanulok to Pak Chong by rickety third (wooden) class train for 11 hours. Here we experienced the abundant wildlife of Khao Yai National Park of western Thailand. Although it was well worth the sore bottoms we would strongly recommend the bus to anyone wanting to get here faster...

We stayed at the quiet Green Leaf Guest House which was a true blessing. Not just accomodation-wise, but this friendly family guest house is run by Nine, a.k.a. the birdman. He, his brother-in-law Lek and the other male employees are absolutely gaga about birds and animals and, boy, do they have the eye! It was elating to go through their picture books. And Nine's drawings of birds are fabulous. We spent 1 1/2 days in Khao Yai national park and during this time saw a multitude of animals (list at the bottom) the most majestic of which are the large hornbills, giant large-beaked birds not dissimilar to tucans. We also visited the famous waterfall that Leonardo di Caprio's stunt double jumped off of in the movie "the Beach".

We had a great time travelling with Anja, Nadine, Laura and Isa. We also met Steve and Lesley, "neighbours" from Saltash in Cornwall who are on a 7 month 25th wedding anniversary tour and whose website comes much recommended (see our links).

A further memorable meeting was with Noi, a Thai PE teaching assistant, yoga and meditation instructor, tourism entrepreneur and many other things. In short: a very interesting woman (with a very little car!). Noi was very kind to invite us to her school. While eating some fruit and Noi's scrumptious Thai desert and drinking coffee, we learnt a lot about Thailand from Noi's friend and spiritual brother Prachin while watching the children prepare for a sports competion the next day (which also involved polishing the impressive trophy collection). We had the impression that the school was very laid back and almost appeared in a fluctuating state of eternal recess. The 9 to 11-year olds then sat down with us and sang with us, we exchanged national anthems (we were admittedly very rusty wheras they sing it every day...) and learned a song about fruit. We exchanged autographs, got given pictures and answered their questions while they and their lovely teachers answered ours. It was a truly special experience!

Pak Chong and Khao Yai was another place we were sad to leave from.

Here are our animal spottings:

pig-tail makak monkeys, white handed gibbons, majestic sambar deer and barking deer (red common munjak), wrinkled bats, bicoloured and greater round leaf bats.

Birds: great hornbill, moustached barbet, ragged-tail dongo, white crested laughing thrush, black shouldered kite, red-breasted parakeets.

Lizards/snakes/amphibians: indonesian pit viper, white lip viper, clouded monitorlizard, tokai geckos, tree frogs and poisonous giant toads (lick'em and you fly).

Insects, worms and spiders:
crab spider, golden web spider, scorpion spider, black scorpion, stick insect, praying mantis, wood louse, various giant millipedes, various colouful butterflies and dragonflies, various beetles, giant flies, ants and termites, many leeches, a slug just growing a shell, filiform worms.
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