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Pak Chong Travel Blog

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Sleepy Pig tailed macaque

After a brief trip to the embassy in Bangkok to organise new passports (could take a month!) we boarded a local bus to Pak chong, our destination - the fantastic national park of Koh Yai. Suz and I had visited here a few years ago and we had a really good time with the guides at greenleaf guesthouse so we decided to go with them again and we knew Karen would be in expert hands for her first rainforest experience.

Before we knew it we were in the back of a pick up truck heading towards a point where an underground spring emerges and joins a river. We pulled up and right next to the car was a meter long indo chinese water dragon, he looked just like a minature dinosaur and posed proudly for us whilst we took some photos.

Watchful water monitor
We also disturbed some white coloured squirrels who bouned off through the canopy emitting alarm calls as they went. We bathed in the crystal clear water and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.

We were then taken to a bat cave in the grounds of a temple. We clambered down an old ladder into the gloom and speant then next hour admiring rook fromations, walking through guana and enjoying the site of three different species of bat roosting above our heads ocassionaly chattering at us as we disturbed their slumber. The cave was home to more than just bats! in one corner there was a huge burrow, its occupant a hand sized velvety tarantula lay poised to pounce at its enterance. Whip scorpions and crickets roamed the walls of the cave and small frogs hopped around the vegetation that grew in patches of light tat came from the various entrances.

Tomb raider Moomin
The cave also housed various buddah images and in the evening is used by the monks who go into the darkness to meditate.

The next site was a couple of miles away, we stood below a rocky cliff in a sugar cain field being drowned by the sounds of frogs beginning their evening racket. We were here to see 2million bats lave their roost, we heard them before we saw them and at first just a few braver (or desperately hungry) individuals flapped past, but gradually this turned into a column of thousands passing over us snaking through the sky, the beating wings of the multitude making a suprisingly loud noise. As we watched a pari of barn owls circled picking off the bats as they emerged.

After a good night sleep we were anticipating the days forest trek and drive, and we tried to guess at some of the things we might be lucky enough to see.

Great views
We enjoyed the coolness of the climate as we drove off in the pick up to the entrance of the park. We wound our way up forest clad hills and stopped at a viewpoint where a group of black giant squirrels crashed through the branches. We were immediatly joined by a troop of squat muscular looking pig tailed macaques, the males with ornate facial markings which looks like they are wearing make up, they kind of looked like extremely butch hairy Geisha! A trio of wreathed hornbills flew over head and a large Tokay gecko sat above us, not bad for ten minutes of wildlife watching!

 

We drove on to the park heaquarters startling a lone barking deer at a salt lick. The grassy areas of the park were the domain of loud boisterous lapwings which alerted our presence to every animal in the vicinity with their shrill cries.

Swimming in the natural spring
At the park head quarters the wildlife watching didnt stop, two huge turtles basked in the river and a 2m long beast of a water monitor lazed on the river bank basking in the sunshine, to top it all off a serpent eagle soared over head, does wildlife watching get any better than this? apparently so as two horse sized sambar deer nonchalantly strutted past us just meters away!

 

We took a drive to see gibbons and hornbills, we were lucky with the gibbons and speant ten minutes watching a trio of white handed gibbons conduct their acrobatic display in the distance, the wailing songs of various different family groups reached us on the breeze, it was great.

 

Next was a three hour treck through the forest, we were rewarded with sightings of mountain horned dragons, huge scorpions (one of which Karen very bravely let crawl up her arm), white lipped pit viper and a few frogs.

Mountain horned dragon
The strangler figs and fungi grew in profusion and we picked off leeches as we trecked through the rain. We took another drive to find elephant, no luck although elepant shit littered the road throughout the park. Instead we took a drive to a viewpoint at 1,200m altitude, it was a bit nippy but the view stunning. The mountain top was also a military base and due to the lighting at the mountain top hundreds of moths had gathered on the walls in a dazzling array of forms and colours.

Back at the guesthouse we were welcomed with a welcome back meal free of charge, we were really flattered and the food was great, a really good end to a fantastic couple of days.

Caz_and_Serif says:
Wow!! Looks like you had a super time!! xx
Posted on: Sep 18, 2010
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Sleepy Pig tailed macaque
Sleepy Pig tailed macaque
Watchful water monitor
Watchful water monitor
Tomb raider Moomin
Tomb raider Moomin
Great views
Great views
Swimming in the natural spring
Swimming in the natural spring
Mountain horned dragon
Mountain horned dragon
Microhylid frog
Microhylid frog
Pak Chong
photo by: dan2105