Aye, Aye it's the jungle of Khoa Yai
Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
42Trip End Dec 21, 2004
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Where I stayed
Possibly the scariest journey yet in terms of not being sure where we were going nor how we were going to get there.
Started off well on Khoa San Road; the taxi meters lined up outside the hotel had joined together & were refusing to use their meters & haggling like hell with any would be passengers - after 2 arguments Paul flagged one down, thinking (correctly as it turned out)that he wouldn't have had time to join the meter strike. Cost us half what the meter strikers were charging.
Got to the right bus station ( our Thai accents must be improving) but were met with this enormourdome of a building; thousands of buses, millions of people milling about & no signs in English
And what a bus it was. 60 people crammed on to 45 seats & another 25 standing (we counted). Eventually got to Pak Chong where we quickly became the latest local attraction. Whilst waiting for our lift from the guest house locals started to walk out of their way to get nearer to us, what had been empty benches around us became full & I'm sure the lady from the offie phoned her mates to come & have a look at the newly arrived farrang. That half hour wait was the longest ever.
Fortunately the guest house was used to farrang so they stare as much. Stayed at a place called Green Leaf & it was superb; lodging, food & the jungle trek
So the trip consisted of a trek through the jungle spotting wildlife. For those that have been keeping count of the wildlife we've seen so far add this lot to your list. Hornbills (huge), tucans, loads more monkeys, gibbons (amazing), horned spiders (v. strange), monitor lizards, a giant Burmese water python, sibbet cats (little leopards) AND TWO FEMALE TIGERS (both shot & stuffed after killing various local villagers). There were several highlights though.
1. Driving along nicely in the van when Nine (we'll call him 9 for short) slammed on the brakes & started shouting excitedly, we couldn't tell what he was saying nor what he could see so me and another bloke quickly jumped out the back of the van & jumped back in twice as quick. There on the road in front, reared up & hissing was a king cobra!! This thing was huge, no word of a lie when it eventually uncoiled to slither away it was over half the width of the road.
2. Same as above but a python, again extremely long but the guides decided they could play with this one by pulling it's tail so we could get an idea of its length. They did stop when it started darting its haed at them (quite right too).
3. Trekking over, sunset viewed & driving around for about an hour in the dark we rounded a corner & there trotting along in front, blocking the road were 4 huge female elephants protecting a tiny calf between them! Well why bother walking through the jungle when roads are much easier? They looked so funny trotting ahead in front of us catching glimpses of them in the headlights. Everyone was so excited scrambling in the back to get a good look at them. Things soon became complicated. A car coming in the opposite direction had stopped to let them pass, but with us behind them the elephants started to freak & didn't know which way to go, turning back & forth (all the time keeping the calf between them). It looked like one of them actually bumped the other car. 9 got concerned so did a quick 3 pointer. What we didn't realise was that charging from behind was a 6th elephant. This one started trumpeting (what do they call the sound they make?) & aimed for our truck. Excitement soon turned to panic as we all realised that we were in the middle of a jungle, miles from anywhere & this huge mammal could easily tip the van & tread on us. After circling a few times, more trumpeting & half hearted charges with its back end the elephant decided to leave us alone & join her mates. Phewee!! Needless to say many, many Singha were drunk that evening.
Out of the 13 people on our trip we were the only Brits.
Oh yes, we also went for a swim by the waterfall they used in The Beach - v. cold & a bit mucky.