Khao Sok, the land of limestones, is famed for its pristine beauty as a national park area. Many tourists come here for a day or two to do a tour to the famous lake or the ever popular tubing on the river. If you dare to stay longer than most tourist, you can enjoy the unknown sounds of the jungle and the luring animals. You need to be mosquito proof though! The nature lover would love it here. Even though tubing on the river is highly ‘touristicized’ and bulks of tourists come by in jeeps with cages, which look like a truck carrying pigs in swimwear, it is still an amazing experience as you can gaze upon the old trees from your tube.
Hospitality of Green Mountain View Resort
Our friends Sam and Chalita had already met the owner several times and communication was easy as Chalita can speak Thai. He told us the bungalows were full, but that we could just camp out. They prepared one tent and put it in an open wooden house, which used to be accommodation for employees. Sam and Chalita slept in the tent and we slept in hammocks. The house was built higher to prevent all kings of animals to enter. You can not just simply camp out on the ground, well you can but the thought of snakes and scorpions flowing coming in is not soothing. For example, we discovered a snake relaxing under a cushion which we were about to use to sleep on.
Explore the jungle: in search for food
People living in Khao Sok have mostly lived from the jungle and had a tough life. As kids they learned to survive in the jungle and find the useful goods nature has to offer us. Their fathers stumbled upon tigers, when they did not flee into the deep jungle yet; away from human threats. One man, a jungle ranger nicknamed ‘bear’, told us his father even fought a tiger and survived it. Life has been hard for most people in Khao Sok as there has not been a lot of availability of jobs. Now, tourism has kicked in and some earn money by guiding the tourists during their tubing or jungle trek.
We walked towards the river, where the tubing can be found, to search for bamboo shoots and eat it for dinner. It had been raining hard so we had to walk through knee-high waters to get to the river. It was a beautiful sight to walk around in the jungle like that, even though we were all wet and muddy.
Near the river we found suitable bamboo to eat and Vincent and Sam collected these bamboo shoots.The only thing you can not escape when being in the jungle, are mosquitoes. That is why we made ‘mosquito slappers’ out of bamboo leaves. While we enjoyed the monkey sounds coming from high up the mountains, we encountered some tubing group. Most of them were just local teens playing around.
It started raining very hard as we walked back and all of us were soaking wet. We decided to just jump into the river and swim for a while. The current was pretty strong and getting stronger as more water filled the river.
In the end we did not eat the bamboo shoots for dinner as there was no dry wood to be found after the rain. The next morning Vincent and Sam were confident to make a bamboo breakfast. It took them from 10 am to 3 pm to make a fire and prepare a breakfast for us. Of course we were all very hungry.
Conversations in Khao Sok
The day passed by so quickly and we had good conversations with Fabienne about subjects as how people look towards animals in Thailand and how people are not much aware of the depletion of the earth in all parts of the world. Employees nicknamed ‘gun’ and ‘jah’ came by and gave us some tips about the use of machetes, how to prepare the bamboo and a way of making fire. You can only touch a bamboo shoot on the tip as the rest has sticky hairs that will itch your skin. We found it hard to get rid of these hairs, but gun told us you just need to was your hands through your hair. The bamboo hairs will stick on to your hair and fall down naturally.
Tubing on the river in Khao Sok
The third and last day we met jungle ranger ‘bear’. But it was also the day we planned to hitch-hike to Phang Nga. He offered us to go tubing, but at first we hesitated as it is quite pricey for budget travellers. He offered it for free and we accepted the offer. We have no pictures as we have no underwater case or water-resistant camera. The experience overall was amazing! We took Bhun, the dog, and a kid who has never tubed before and does not know how to swim. In Thailand, or at least in Khao Sok, it is not seen as very important to learn children how to swim. It seems necessary though as they live near the rivers and natural disasters can happen any minute.
The cold water feels chilly at first but becomes comfortable after a while. When you gaze towards the sky you will see the leaves of old trees pass by. You can also stop along the river and have some fun by jumping into the river with a rope. Even though the kid and us could not communicate, we had so much fun playing and pretending to race against each other. Afterwards the owner ‘Tawee’ and his wife did not want anything for our stay, but for their hospitality we gave them something. ‘Tawee’ and ‘bear’ gave us a ride to the highway and we hitch-hiked from there to Phang Nga; next time on the blog!