During all the mayhem of yesterday, at some point we had managed to book a two day tour of Khao Yao National Park. Our guide to be was a middle aged lady named Klinn, who for some reason I kept getting confused with the Bond villain, a lady by the name of (Rosa) Klebb. So I kept clear of her shoes and kicking feet just in case there was a knife in either of them!
So it was that we were picked up at nine from the hotel and after donning a pair of the nattyist leech socks, were whisked off by jeep towards the park. Along the way we picked up our fellow trekker, a German guy by the name of Dominick, who we thought was a bit strange first off but as we got to know him better we really liked him as he was quite a cool guy, just with the odd oddity about him that’s all. Anyhow we had plenty of time to get to know him as it took a good while to get to the visitor centre in the depths of the park – the place is simply that big. Just before the centre were some deer milling around. We stayed at the centre for a good half an hour or so to read the information boards and see the exhibits which was quite informative (as it should be I suppose), to get ourselves into the groove as it were and then we were to get back onto the truck as we were off to begin trekking.
Just before climbing aboard our transport we saw a snake, which turned out to be a silver snake, which Klinn thought was a Whip snake, it was not supposed to be venomous but my knowledge of snakes being somewhat limited, you do not naturally think that any snake you wander across will be non-venomous! We drove for a while and then stopped ready to jump down for the beginning of the walk and just at the right spot to see and, more to the point, hear some White Handed Gibbons up in the trees. The gibbons were moving quick so we just saw them for a short while before they had passed by and moved on but the noises they were making stayed with us for quite a while.
So after our quick diversion with the gibbons we finally set off and followed Klinn onwards into the jungle. We had only just started the walk when we were met by a park ranger coming in the opposite direction who was carrying a red gecko a very strange looking creature, red with very large eyes being carried lovingly (almost) by the ranger … lol. We had not gone much further when Klinn pointed out a big fat Pill Bug, the second she picked it up to show us it rolled up into a ball looking like a bit fat Malteser, we even saw a couple more of these strange bugs as we continued walking. Another creature we also saw a few times on our walk were the Black Squirrels, these are definitely the acrobat of the jungle as one proved when we saw it and it did a complete ‘about face’ 180 degree turn. It was on the side of a tree facing downwards and the next second, literally in the blink of an eye, he was the other way round heading away from us. It was just like magic, it is the only way to describe the speed at which it happened.
Klinn had amazing eyesight and her next find for us was an ‘uncolourful’ kingfisher that she spotted simply by it flying into a tree but as we walked along she told us more about the kinds of animals that you could see in the jungle. Every now and then though she would stop at a small hole in the ground and use a little stick to ‘go fishing’ and after we had seen the Kingfisher, she had a bite. She had caught a Green Scorpion which to my mind looked quite big and remembering the old adage, the bigger the scorpion, the less poisonous it is – I thought, it could not be so bad. Then she put it on my arm and even let me hold it, you know all the usual man/scorpion interaction stuff really!
As we wondered along the track we came across a tree with more of the usual vines hanging down and Klinn and our friend Dominik found one that was great for a spot of Tarzan swinging. Dominick obviously either enjoyed this kind of thing or had done it a few times before as he was up the vine like a flipping monkey. Meanwhile me and Liz had quite feeble efforts at even getting a short ways up the vine, to be honest we would have made a crap couple of Tarzans.
After the dense jungle we then hit a more open area of long grass which we had to walk through to get to a purpose-built hide that overlooks a salt lick that the animals sometimes should go to. Did we see anything, did we hell! Oh well, that’s the real jungle for you, not all David Attenborough and gangs of Tortoises hunting Elephants …. whatever!
Anyhoo, it was time to get back on the pick up and off back to the Park’s centre in order to relax and grab a bite of dinner. We had probably walked a good few miles and yet because of the buzz we did not feel a thing but we did feel like we had earnt some grub and wolfed it down. To be fair it was not that much to write home about but it was filling and we were grateful for it. The entertainment at the eatery was quite interesting as some of the local deer population were just hanging about and it was really nice to watch and enjoy.
Our the way to our next stop off point we came across some very dodgy looking customers, Macaques wandering along the road looking quite menacing, even the younger ones. They started off looking quite charming enough until they opened their mouths displaying their huge and sharp looking teeth and then it was time to go … lol. We reached Heaw Suwat Waterfall, famous for ‘appearing’ on the film ‘The Beach’, starring alongside Leonardo di Caprio. This was a really nice place with really big boulders in front of the waterfall and me and Liz had a couple of very nice photos taken, so then I offered to take one of Dominik who decided to do a bit of a gym-thing headstand on one of the rocks with the backdrop of the waterfall. It takes all sorts I suppose!
When we reached the car park on the way back from the waterfall where Klinn was waiting, we headed off to our transport and on the way Klinn spotted a Green Venomous Snake in a tree with green leaves, now I am not sure whether or not she had scoped it out beforehand but it was still a great find. I could not even see it even when I was stood underneath the thing! It was a great find before we had the long drive back to the hotel. We heard there was going to be a huge storm coming so when we parted from Dominik we asked him to let us know that he had got home okay because he was going back by motorbike to Bangkok a good drive away. He had been a really great trekking companion.
At night although it was not yet raining, the stormy clouds were in the distance but heading our way – gulp! So we dare not go out too far, so we just nipped to a restaurant a couple of doors away from our hotel. Here there were a couple of older guys on the whisky just watching out for the weather. The guys were cool enough though the food somewhat limited in choice – actually all that was on offer was omelette and fried rice with seafood and that was it or any possible combination of those three components. It was not too shabby though even if the decor of the place was! And the ‘lads’ were quite entertaining enough even though none of us could really understand each other verbally but gestures and facial expressions helped to convey ours and their messages. Then the rains started, now these drops were pro-size they were huge and it was like a deluge, before our very eyes the road just outside the eatery became a wee river! So we kicked back and carried on with a few more beers and a bit more chat until it finally relented enough for us to ‘run’ back to the hotel and grab some kip, tomorrow was day two of the jungle trek – what we hoped would be another great day with Klinn.