It was another early start to our morning as we headed to the local airport to catch a plane from Bangkok to Surathani. I have discovered that Thai people know how to make a good latte, so naturally I’ve decided I can stay. Kellen’s attempt at ordering a coffee this morning left him with just a shot of espresso, illustrating I believe exactly what being a 6’3″ man in Thailand really feels like:
Navigating to Khao Sok National Park was an experience, since there is no direct transportation, we had to take one bus to the city center, and then a mini bus from there. Signing up for the minibus was literally in a family’s house, which I’m coming to discover is not that uncommon here for businesses- they run them out of their homes, which is just basically an open air living concept with children running around and family life happening right there amongst the business. Being a mom, of course I loved watching the kids and couldn’t help but thinking how different life is here for these children, and yet, oddly the same! I laughed when I watched the Mom tell her little boy, barely 3 maybe, to go sweep, and his tiny little body carrying the big broomstick to complete the task.
The Minibus was quite the native Thai experience, it certainly wasn’t a bus made for tourists, since all of the other passengers he picked up were local residents. He told us it would be 1 hour to Khao Sok, so we had to laugh when our driver kept stopping to complete random errands along the road- including getting gas, picking out his lunch at the local market, picking up some corn at a different market for later- every stop kellen and I looked at each other and started laughing. So different from back home. The other passengers on the bus kept turning aliens to watch us, they seemed really confused as to how we had ended up there, haha. The one hour trip turned into two thanks to all of our drivers pit stops that provides us extra time to scope out what life is like here- but we eventually made it to the park.
The place we are staying is called the Smiley Bungalows- it is literally a row stilted bungalow houses lined up inside the jungle. There is a hammock on our porch and an incredible view of the luscious green jungle mountains out in front of us. The room is extremely basic, just two beds and a shower with a hole in the ground that shoots right out onto the ground below, no plumbing hooked up for it. There is a toilet with plumbing, however, which I was relieved to see.
After lunch, we were told the only activity outside of the national park itself (which we have planned for tomorrow) is the Cave Monkey Temple to feed the monkeys, a local temple and business where monkeys have learned they can get food, so we were off to explore.
When we arrived, we bought tickets and a bag of peanuts from a young boy and his mother from a tiny shack at the entrance. I grabbed the bag of peanuts and we began walking and I was not prepared in the LEAST for the bombard of monkeys. One big one came running at me, climbed us my legs and literally grabbed the entire bag of peanuts out of my hands. So much for feeding the monkeys, haha! We still got plenty of pictures of them, as they played and foraged for other food leftover by other past tourists. It was such a cool experience and probably one I’ll never forget- being under the tree as they swung in the branches. As we were observing, it began to pour, and it was one of the coolest experiences finding shelter in a cave on the side of a cliff, watching these monkeys play and eat.
The rest of the evening was spent with some drinks and swinging on the porch swing in the open air bar, talking about life and overlooking the jungle and bungalows from our spot. When we went back to our place, it took no short of 5 minutes for me to fall asleep in the hammock, listening to the sounds of the jungle.