Hi there!! It is time we talk about Khao Yai National Park, our next stop after visiting Ayutthaya and the last place we visited before leaving Thailand and going to Cambodia. So let’s start, shall we?
Once we were fed up with temples and ruins we took a train from Ayutthaya to Pak Chong , the closest town to the park. All train journeys in Thailand are rather similar: no air conditioning, uncomfortable seats, lots of heat and to round it up every minute a food vendor shouts on your ear offering some Pad Thai or cold drinks. Once we got to the station at Pak Chong, someone from de GreenLeaf Guesthouse picked us up and took us to the hostel.
Khao Yai is known for its wildlife. Its visitors are not only foreigners but Thai people from all over the country. During the weekends it gets pretty crowded, so we went there on a Thursday to avoid crowds. Since we wanted to see as many animals as possible, we booked a tour with GreenLeaf Guesthouse. We are not usually ones to book organised activities, but in this case we definitely did the right thing. Our tour guides were very well trained to see the animals. We wouldn’t have seen most of them if we had gone there on our own. The tour cost us 1300 baths (35€) and we strongly recommend it in case you visit Khao Yai at some point.
The tour started at 8:00 from the guesthouse and we headed to the park. After entering, our guides gave us a pair of leech socks. Probably not necessary, but better safe than sorry. Plus, we looked great with them. After ten minutes in the park we already saw some macaques that came to the parking lots looking for food. They jump to the cars and steal everything they can, so you better be careful. And more importantly, don’t feed them since this is the reason lots of them end up hit by cars.
We did some hiking through the jungle hoping to see some animals and we were not disappointed. Monkeys, gibbons, snakes, deers, lizards and a scorpion that our guide gave us to hold. We were amazed by the sight of our tour guides and how they were able to spot a lizard in the river or a gibbon on top of a tree from the car. Here are some of the picks we took.
During the afternoon, we went to see the waterfall that appears in the movie The Beach, not a very good movie but the waterfall is awesome.
To finish the day, we went to see if we could find some elephants. The only trace of them we (our guide) had found so far were their turds. And man, that leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth
(just an expression we didn’t actually taste the poop). We had already lost our hope when suddenly we all heard a loud noise, our driver stopped and there they were, inside the jungle, 3 meters away from the road. We barely could see them through the bushes and we were already ecstatic with that sight. What we didn’t expect was what happened next. The mom, the biggest one of them, came out from the woods with the intention to cross the road, followed by 6 smaller elephants of all sizes, even a baby. That was just spectacular.
Our tour guides were really happy to see them and told us we were so lucky to have found such a big group. It was such an amazing experience seeing wild elephants, one that we won’t forget.
That was it for the day. We went back to the guesthouse happy as clams. The next day we would start our journey to Bangkok to later head up to the next country, Cambodia. Looking forward to write about it, but that our friends, is for another post.
Joan & Laura