In the sadness of loved ones leaving us, we booked a trip on Sunday night and off we went by Friday. I don’t really know how we landed in Khao Yai, but we did, and what an amazing trip it was. We have just arrived back in the city and I just had to write about it- to share our news and to remind myself just how brave I was.
Khao Yai is three hours North-West of Bangkok and famous for its world heritage site- Khao Yai national park. We have been looking into going for ages, but there wasn’t a weekend that really seemed to fit. With an INSET on the Friday and crying about family leaving for most of the week, this weekend seemed like the perfect choice for some fresh air, greenery and chilling out.
We sweated our way to the mini van on Friday afternoon (Victory Monument BTS station), with a little lunch box packed and a bottle of red wine swinging around a canvas bag (priorities, of course!) The man at the mini van counter punched 3/2/0 into his calculator to tell us the price for our trip. 320 baht (about £7)- for both of us to get to Khao Yai. And guess what? We got the front seats! Enough room for our bags and to cuddle up with the air con blasting out of the fans, freezing Will’s little chicken legs to bits. We slept most of the way, taking a grand total of four hours. It took over an hour to get through the BKK traffic on a Friday afternoon. I just had to take a deep breath and tell myself it would be okay and to think about fun things, like eating cheese.
Glamping was the name of the game this weekend. As we pulled up at the resort, the first thing we heard was… nothing. Peace and quiet, with lanterns glowing in the distance around the open-air check in desk. The man gave us our little hurricane lamp for going to the toilet and the pad lock to lock our tent, then we were off, in his little jeep around the resort to tent ‘107’. What fun at 9′ o clock! Unzipping the tent, this is what we found…
What you can’t see is the wooden floors, the leather sofa, the mini fridge with free goodies, towels, sun hats, umbrellas, A TV and the jars of nuts, biscuits and little peas. It was perfect, except from one thing… no glasses for our treasured wine. So, Will sloshed the wine into a mug and by 10pm by head had hit the pillow. Wine out of a mug is not my thing, but I was desperate.
At 7am we woke up to find this on our doorstep…
It was the most beautiful setting and a really lovely thing to wake up to. But breakfast was calling, so we didn’t stay too long outside our tent to admire the view. And anyway, trekking was on the cards for today. No rest for the wicked!
We shared our tour with three other young ones (early twenties we guessed, and we still class ourselves as ‘young’) for 1500 baht each (£30). This included our tour guide, being driven around in a jeep, entry to the park itself, lunch, leech socks, raincoats (just you wait) snacks and water. It turned out to be such a bargain, and I’m all about value for money.
Upon arriving into the park we saw this and I nearly cried with happiness.
Here they are again, the family:
And possibly the best action shot I’ve ever taken on my little Nikon camera…
Monkey’s in the wild- a sight to behold. In fact we saw so many animals and insects around the park- hornbills, crocodiles, scorpions, giant spiders (!!!), lizards- and our tour guide knew where to look and how to spot them. Even this poisonous beast in the tree! I had to refrain from telling him I’d been bitten by a poisonous snake, but just in case you didn’t know, I have. An Adder, in the UK, of all places.
As we got to the peak of the park to admire the view, butterflies started fluttering around us. Look how these ones landed on Will and I- so chuffed.
What we weren’t so chuffed about were the leech socks. I was afraid the the socks wouldn’t fit around my bulbous calves, but I shoved them on anyway and had to pull the string to tighten them! I was really happy about this.
I feel like this blog is going to go on forever, as there is so much to tell everyone. I must move on to the trek. Oh the trek! This was a challenge for me. I could barely walk to Chatsworth house at Christmas, let alone the mud slides of Khao Yai national park in my light weight running trainers. And guess what? It started to chuck it down just before going. Time for a quick coffee and a new garment of clothing: the raincoat.
So, what was the trek exactly? Basically, a walk through the jungle in heavy rain and trying to dodge crocodiles (I’m not even joking!) The health and safety was sky high.
Did anyone even do a risk assessment for this? I mean, it was treacherous and my wails when I slid down the vertical mud slides seemed to echo and reverberate off the trees and back into everyone else ears. Why wasn’t anyone else making sounds when they were skateboarding down the cascades of mud? My poor, poor Nike trainers. Absolutely ruined! We were by no means prepared for this trip. We prioritised wine over trekking gear. That’s us, definitely city goers these days, I’m afraid. The picture on the right doesn’t do the trek justice. By this point we were soaked and the rain had stopped, so it was so hot and humid. Will had to carry the coats and my city-chic backpack. Who takes that on a trek?
Here’s the first waterfall and below that, what was described as ‘a crocodiles bedroom’.
Before this picture was taken, we had balanced over a giant, crumbling log going right across this bog. I pretty much crawled along on my hands and knees, with Will filming behind on the Go Pro, which was lovely and supportive. Then we stopped. The tour guide going ahead, telling us not to move. What was she looking for in the pathway we were about to walk down, covered in greenery a metre high? Oh yes, that’s it, just… a CROCODILE! Ohno, there it is, on the other side. Must be safe then, so off we went. Needless to say the crawling over the log part now felt amateur, and the next part, the little stepping stones across the stream was easy.
The final part of our tour was a visit to the famous waterfall where ‘The Beach’ was filmed. Sadly, Leo wasn’t there to recuse me. Although could you imagine his face bumping into the above? Look at the state of me. Good job Will was there to rescue me instead.
Finally the sun began to shine and we went to the biggest waterfall in Khao Yai national park, with rainbows glistening through the waterfall spray and sunlight. Beautiful!
What a day it was! Time for some R and R by the infinity pool before saying good bye to Khao Yai, avoiding all holiday blues (because we are still in Thailand!) This is a great feeling and a nice thing to feel after feeling a bit homesick this week.
What did you do this weekend? We went trekking and lived to tell the tale. Anyone visiting us next year and fancy going back? Next time I’m going to have all the gear and I’m planning on getting my ‘Senior Wilderness Explorer’ badge.