Leeching off the Jungle
28.04.2012 - 30.04.2012 30 °C
Deciding to take a short break away from the beaches we headed back to the mainland and to the National Park that is Khao Sok. This area of jungle and limestone has been given a bonus lake thanks to a dam that has been put in to the region.
We took an early morning ferry with a few busses before arriving by the side of the main road. It was a couple of kilometres from there to the small town so we were met by a number of people offering their accommodation to us. One bloke offered to take us to the info centre for 60 bhat so we figured that was best to then decide where we wanted to stay from there. On the way he showed us the powerful bass in his truck stereo system and said he also had accommodation that he would take us to first to have a look at... sneaky sneaky! The place wasn’t that great but it wasn’t dire, so we put our bags in the room and then went for a walk down to the park entrance. On the way we passed another hotel that advertised its pool which was very tempting given the hot and humid jungle conditions. We had a look around the place and were happy to pay a little extra to come here, so after collecting our bags from the other place and paying for the ride into town we relocated instantly making use of the pool.
We organised for a day tour of the lake and jungle. This started off with a bus ride then a long tail boat ride on the lake. The area reminded us a lot of the Yangshuo area in China, with big limestone karsts all around.
We stopped at some floating bamboo huts and had some lunch before taking to the jungle. While we were eating lunch the afternoon rain started to fall with a thunderstorm coming through. This creates two problems for us. Firstly, our planned walk through the nearby cave would be revised to just a quick step inside for safety reasons. Secondly the rain brings out the leeches in epic proportions!
The walk the jungle took about an hour and true to what we had been told everyone was being attacked by the leeches. The guide said that they can live for 4 months between eating, so with 10 of us walking through it was a smorgasbord for them. Any time that we stopped for a minute or so to regroup, there would be a few working their way up your shoes and socks in search of exposed skin.
On the way we passed the following sign... Good given that it was belting down at the time!
We eventually got to the cave exit which would be our entrance for the day. Normally you get to walk through the cave but the flood risk with the rain meant we would just have a peak inside. There were heaps of frogs in the cave and they even played dead when they are picked up. We waded and swam up into the cave for a bit before turning around and making our way back to the camp.
We slept well that night before another early morning bus to head back to the beaches for a few more days.
Daniel – Leeches are pretty disgusting actually, and they seem to really get off on my blood too.
Jeff – Nothing quite like walking past a sign that says “danger, no entry when raining” during a tropical downpour and exploring caves with rivers in them that can occasionally flood. At least there were no leeches in the caves....
Tanya – I was pretty glad these leeches couldn’t swm, and seeing as my shoes were soaked already I walked in the water at every opportunity. Being a bit of a ninny, i was the only one wearing long pants fashionably tucked into my socks. I was probably the only one who didn’t get my blood extracted although you should have seen the way they could cartwheel up my pants in search of fresh skin! Aside from the leeches it was a great jungle experience in a beautiful area.