February 22nd, 2009 – by: Kramerdude
Khao Sok Park entrance
2/21 - Trip Prep (or lack thereof) - So we had three consecutive days off (Feb 22-24) and there was much discussion of trying to set up a trip somewhere for the time frame. But every plan seemed to have some negatives (too expensive, too similar to where we were, etc). Finally on the day before the period I found some information on Khao Sok National Park and decided that if nothing else I was going to head in this direction. After our dives on the 21st I brought up the idea to the others and got a few additional takers for the trip (Allison, Mia, Mariana, and Sheran).
2/22 - It was to prove an interesting trip. Firstly since we planned this at the last minute we were not fully cognizant of the various transportation options. We had seen private van transfers that were more expensive than we wanted to pay or regular bus service.
Viewpoint at Khao Sok
Bus service presented two options, via Surat Thani
or via Phuket and Takua Pa. We chose to head to Surat Thani and then turn back to the Khao Sok. Of course the bus to Surat Thani meandered throughout the Thai countryside and what could have been a 2-hr journey turned into 4.5 hours to travel from Krabi
to Surat Thani. Then we got a bus after about a 30 minute wait for the final 1.5-hr trip to the park. Once you read about the return voyage you will understand why this turned into such a hassle.
But finally we arrived at the park and found lodging at one of the bungalow locations just outside the park. We found a hut for 500 Baht/night that would fit all 5 of us (so 100 Baht/night for each of us).
Bamboo grows very big very quickly at Khao Sok
We went out for dinner a few people got a massage at one of the local parlors and by that time we were a bit beat so we called it a night due to the fact that we would be squeezing in a great deal of activity on the morrow.
2/23 - We woke up, had breakfast , and then walked to the park entrance. Paid 100 Baht for the park entry fee and started a trek along the trail that followed the Sok River. It was the dry season so the water was not very high, but there were several small waterfalls and swimming holes for us to visit along the trail. The jungle flora was also amazing to witness. Towering bamboo stands seemed to leap up before our eyes everywhere around us. Other large trees surrounded us in one of the largest jungle rain forests in Thailand.
And we weren't even in the deep stuff as we were near the park entrance. We continued trekking along the river occassionally heading down to the edge to view the falls that were identified along the trail. Like every other day in Thailand it was incredibly warm and humid. To some extent I will be glad to leave Thailand in order to get out of this incessant heat day after day after day. But today this was alleviated by the fact that we could stop and swim (well all of us except Mariana, due to the burn injury on her leg) from time to time in the river. The water was refreshingly chilly compared to the ocean water - probably 20-22C or so instead of the 27-28C that we experience in the ocean. It was quite a relaxing experience, contrasted with the hiking on the trail. We turned back after a bit less than 5 km and returned to the park office and then off to our huts to clean up for dinner.
Swimming hole (3 of 3)
A lone tree rises above the ridgeline.
While we were slowly getting ready one of the employees of Jungle Huts came over and asked us if we wanted to go see some monkeys. He herded us into a songthaew and drove us a brief ways to a small Wat where the monkeys were clambering over the rock walls. We watched and fed the monkeys for a bit and then were herded back into the car. This time we were taken to a viewpoint out over the valley on the south side of the road for some amazing views before returning to our lodging.
This time we did get cleaned up and headed out to dinner. It was a quick dinner at the same place we dined last night (as Mia really enjoyed the food there) as we had to get back to the lodge and meet our guide for our night safari in the park.
A bit after 8:00 PM we set off into the park again, but this time in the pitch back to see what we might see. It was a strange experience walking down the trail with a small flashlight searching off the trail to try to find any wild critters that might be out wandering around. We mostly saw only small critters like spiders, lizards, and the like along the trail. But our sense of hearing became much more accute the longer we went on. We heard a baying/crying sound that our guide told us were gibbons out in the trees. Later on we heard a thrashing in the brush that was hust off the trail. Never saw anything but our guide informed us that it was probably a large wild-pig. We also sat down along a location where an elephant track crossed the trail and went down to the river. There we sat down and turned off all the flashlights and waited quietly.
A winged lizard
Unfortunately there was no major mammal appearance. Oh well, after about 1.5 hours we turned around and returned down the trail.
Our hut at Khao Sok - 5 people for 500 Baht per night (a bit less than 15 Dollars per night)
Back at our hut we crashed pretty quickly as we had an early morning return back to Krabi and Ao Nang
2/24 - So I mentioned earlier about the long trip up. What we found when we checked in was that there was mini-van service directly back to Krabi on a daily basis. The van left at 8:00 AM for Krabi at a cost of 300 Baht per person (which was chepaer than our combined bus journey by about 90 Baht). More importantly since it was a direct journey it only took around 2.5 hours back to Krabi instead of our 7 hour adventure on the way up.
Oh well lesson learned, must learn to plan ahead a bit more and explore all the options. Once back in Krabi we grabbed burnch/lunch and finally headed back to the house to recover after our adventure and prepare to go back to work.
Viewpoint at Khao Sok