Ratchaprapha Dam day trip
Khao Sok Travel Blog› entry 29 of 47 › view all entries
Today we headed out on a trip to the Ratchaprapha Dam. This is in a valley about 60km from where we are staying. The dam was constructed in the 80s to allow the building of a power station. In the process hundreds of families who lived in the original vallies were flooded out of the homes and land they had had for generations. Many have rebuilt their lives around the lake and the tourism it has created but it was quite strange to think of all the ruined villages, schools and temples 30-100m below us!
The journey started with a ride on the back of a pick up with a driver who felt the need to do everything at full speed so it didn't take long to get to the lake! We then travelled on a noisy Long tail boat across the lake for an hour to see all the scenery. It resembles Halong Bay really. The limestone cliffs poking out of the water are all covered in jungle. There are also the sunbleached dead remnants of trees that flourished before the dam that poke out of the water in groups now and again.
We stopped for dinner at some raft houses in one of the hundreds of bays. The food was lovely and we got to jump off the walkways and swim in the lake. The water was such a lovely colour and seemed very clean. It was also a great temperature. Not hot but cool enough to be refreshing without making you cold!
After lunch we headed out on a trek to a big cave system. This was a change we hadn't expected, we were meant to be bamboo rafting to the cave but the guide decided that this was a prettier option. So off we went totally unprepared, me in my five pound asda pumps with a hole in them and Jamie inflip flops! The flipflops lasted comfortably one minute before they broke so Jamie went all jungle explorer on us and did it bare foot! Our guide hadn't told us but we needed to beat the rain to be able to go in the cave (after it rains the river in the cave is too dangerous) so we did this trek at almost running speed in the humid jungle! It included alot of river crossings which were lovely and cooling for our tired feet!
We finally made it to the cave and got our head lamps on. It was pitch black inside and full of hundreds of bats twittering above our heads. There were some cool looking frogs. They were fine, it was the bloody great spiders I had a problem with! Honestly they were the size of my open hand! The worst bit though was when your light caught their eyes they glowed bright green! So although you couldn't see them all the time you could sweep your light around and pick up lots of green eyes looking back at you!!! argh!!!!!!!
I had to hold jamies hand so tight so I didnt run out of there! It was not my idea of fun and thats the closest you will get to me doing any caving!
The evening was pretty quiet as we were so tired! Played some cards with an Intrepid travel group as two of them were also from Nottingham. Then booked out tickets to Krabi for the next morning although we really really dont want to leave!
Hurrah we have made it out of Koh Samui and to Khao Sok National Park and we love it!!! Totally love it and never want to leave!
We got dropped off by the bus at the end of the main road to the backpacker area and as usual there was a gaggle of people waiting to show you their resorts and give you good price. We had already decided on a place called Freedom Resort and firmly asked to go there (despite background murmurings that it was closed) and our lady agreed to take us there. So we arrived and lo and behold it was closed! She had known this all along but strangely enough we weren't far from somewhere good and cheap she says. Whaddaya know.....its her resort!! We agreed to look to keep her sweet so we could get a ride elsewhere and the rooms were cheap at 200 Baht per night and they weren't bad but there were no facilities to speak of. We eventually ended up at Morning Mist Resort which we had originally discounted as it looked a bit on the expensive side. We couldn't have been more wrong!!
We had a garden view bungalow with a huge bed, hot shower and fan for 450 Baht. The garden was the most gorgeous tropical flower garden I have ever seen. The staff were really really friendly and helpful. The food was cheap and the best asian food I have had for a long time and Spike the big German Shepherd was very cute!
On our first full day we got kitted up with water and bug spray and headed out by ourselves for a walk in the National Park. We decided to visit Sip Et Chan waterfall which was 4km away. The first 1km was more than 500 stairs up into the rainforest canopy. We were soaked with sweat pretty quickly as it was so humid!! We finally made it up and arrived at a sign telling us the path was closed due to the rainy season! Noooo! (Bear in mind it rained once on Koh Samui and once in Sukhothai for me! So where the water is coming from I have no idea!) So we followed the loop back round which took us back to the visitor centre but made a nice 2km or so trek. Its a good thing we went this way because as we were walking we heard crashing up above us and looked up just in time to see some wild mokeys in the trees above us! They were too stealthy for a picture but it was cool all the same!
The next bit of wildlife was the most awsome looking caterpillar! He was about 4cm long and had a brilliant fuzzy mohawk! Then as we were heading back a 3ft long Monitor Lizard walked right across our path! We froze and kept really quiet as it was digging around for food. We were so close to it! We also saw another cool little green lizard near the river we had to cross. It was also at that point we noticed the baby leech that had made itself at home on my ankle and the adult one quickly making its way across my sock! So with one extra passenger we headed back to the Visitor centre.
The next trail was a much easier stroll for 3km until we were again greeted with the same closed sigh! damn Rainy season! However we had a great time so it was ok! We were both eager for a shower and food anyway!