Going for a Jungle trek in the balmy heat of the Khao Sok National Park in Surat-thani, Thailand, was like a test of mental and physical fitness for me. Yaya, our local jungle expert drove us through the village, to the park main entry.
This park is well-known for its treasure chest of tropical rainforest, botanical diversity and assortment of wildlife. Visiting the park and staying in a comfy tree house at the Khao Sok Paradise Resort was my friend’s idea, and since it was my first visit to the Park, I was more than curious to find out more about this nature reserve. I was actually looking forward to an interesting yet relaxing time, which is my conception of a holiday.
Yaya, our jungle guide explain us that the park boasts various species of mammals, including the notorious and very endangered white handed gibbons, Dusky langurs , pig tailed macaques, tapirs, Pangolins, wild elephants, more then185 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including, black eagles hornbills and the little spider hunter.
I ‘m hiking through the rainforest for more than two hours now, a jumble of sky soaring trees, wildlife, insects and a myriad of environments ranging from marsh to tropical rainforest.
Magically The wreckage of the small jeep appears in front of me, Yaya explain us that the vehicle was used by communist students that were hiding in the Jungle in the late 60’s, he also shows us a bunker that was built by the same communist students to hide from the army helicopters, that were hunting them down, in a flash feel like being in a Vietnam war movie.
After that exhausting but amazing trek, we took the afternoon easy and just enjoyed the ambience, the sound of nature, critter and all. Our tree house accommodation offers all the comfort you could expect in the west, hot water, Rain shower, wooden bath tub, rubber mattresses, beautiful wooden furniture, a nice ceiling fan and even aircon and Wi-Fi internet for those who really need it. Even if very modern the Tree houses the Paradise Resort tree houses have a simple look and make us feel close to nature.
We checked another few accommodation options in the area but the Paradise Resort was by far the best.
The next day, we decided to trek to the Bang Hua red waterfall, with yaya.
Trekking uphill took effort and was tiring. There were times, with sweat dripping down my face and clothing, when I wondered why I was torturing myself. My leg ached and my feet hurt, mainly because I was wearing flip flops, which were not adequate for jungle hikes, especially over uneven terrain.
As we progressed through the dense jungle I could see juvenile long tailed macaques playing around me, then I could hear the sound of rushing water, splashing over moss-strewn rocks and gurgling through nooks and crannies, it was like nice music to my ears.
While swimming in the waterfall with my friend Yaya decided to cook some food for us my using bamboo, it apparently is an ancestral way of cooking in Thailand.
We were amazed by the result; it was a bit like a five star menu in the middle of the Jungle.
The trip back to the resort was faster, or so it seemed. I was not paying as much attention to my surrounding as we had to hurry in order to arrive before darkness.
Once back in our rooms we decided to experience a tiger balm massage.
Tiger balm is a unique blend of the finest quality essential oils, when applied on the skin, the analgesic properties provide symptomatic relief from the pain and discomfort associated with the muscular aches and pains of muscle and backaches.
By Wayne Nolan