Hmm, hmm. I was humming the theme song of the Jungle Book while Mich and I were paddling. Our little, yellow canoe was getting further and further from our basecamp. The basic, wooden cabins on the water looked beautiful from a distance, Michelle quickly took a photo of the view. It was a good shot, you saw my blonde braid, tanned shoulders, a bit of the yellow canoe and the stunning view. I closed my eyes and heard some birds chirping… hmm it felt good being here.
We arrived in Koh Sok yesterday. It was only a 6 hour journey with a minivan, ferry, minivan and bus. By now, 6 hours of travelling feels like it’s nothing, we’re so used to travelling long distances. It was in the afternoon by the time we arrived at the palmview resort, an old man sat behind a desk and did the reception work while an old woman (who introduced herself as ‘mama’) did the cooking for the guests. They were running the place for years but it still looked like it was under construction. Some of the wooden cabins weren’t finished and the playground looked like a mess. Maybe they ran out of money to finish the resort… However us and the other guests weren’t too bothered about it. The old couple was extremely friendly, they helped us with booking an overnight excursion in the national park and Mama cooked us delicious food.
We spent our afternoon reading, watching movies and eating. We had to catch up on some sleep, knowing we had to wake up early for our jungle tour the next day and so we decided to go to bed early.
We got a few good hours of sleep, had Mama’s delicious omelette for breakfast and then continued our beauty sleep in the minivan to the jungle. We met our tour guide named Adam, a local who used to live in Koh Sok until the government flooded his village to create an artificial lake for the tourists. Adam’s heart was there and so he decided that because he couldn’t live there anymore, he’d work on the lake. The lake was his home. Mich, our group and I stepped on the longtail boat, ready to see the beautiful scenery that everybody we had met on our trip talked constantly about. And beautiful it was!!
We admired the many green rocks that were standing tall in the crystal blue water. The lake was huge, way bigger than I expected. Our boat went full speed through the water and our faces and clothes were soon soaked by the lake water. The boat ride took us over 3 hours, which is quite long. I kinda liked it though, it was another one of those super hot days and being on the boat helped us cool down a bit.
Meanwhile, we had a few good stops, we explored some dark caves and saw a ton of cute bats. We arrived at our basecamp by lunch time and the rice, veggies and fresh pineapple tasted extra good after our fun, but active morning. We enjoyed our lunch while we got to know two German girls. Both girls were our age and were in their first year of their English bachelor course. The two college friends met this year and decided to kick off their new friendship in Thailand. It was only a short three week trip, but it was a good stress reliever from Uni. Mich and I shared our gap year stories. By the time that Adam, our tour guide, came by to tell us everyone went swimming we realized we were the only ones still sitting around the table. We decided to explore our base camp on the water for a bit. It was small, basic but beautiful. The wooden cabins were the size of a small rest room, there was just enough space for a two person mattress which was laying on the wooden floor. That was all we really needed. The rest rooms were located on the hill, which meant we had to take quite some steps before we’d get there. The view from the toilets was stunning, especially during sundet, you’d see the lake and our basecamp in all it’s golden glories. And all of that while you’re taking a shit. Hahaha jk. Kindaaa… 😉
We spent the afternoon swimming, canoeing and meeting new people. Adam gave us another evening boat tour, we heard lots of animal sounds coming from the deep jungle and we even spotted monkeys. All of us had a Malay meal for dinner at 7, and while Mich went to bed at 8, the German girls, a Brazilian guy and I spent our evening talking about our cultures. We discussed all education systems, talked about politics and laughed about South American dance and flirt techniques. Adam, our tour guide, decided to join the conversation at 11 and gave us some sad, drunk love advice. It was then when we all decided it was time for bed, we had a morning safari tour at 6 anyway.
Hearing my alarm clock ring at 5.45 in the morning hurt a little. I didn’t have the best night of sleep in our wooden cabin on the water, however duty was calling, time to spot some animals during sunrise. Mich decided to have extra sleep, she was too tired. Adam (who looked actually very fresh considering he was drunk the evening before) wasn’t impressed by her excuse and yelled outside our cabin lol. He couldn’t get her out of bed and so the rest of the group, adam and I left, yet again on our colorful longtail boat. The animals were either still sleeping or just didn’t feel like coming out since we didn’t spot to many. However, seeing the layer of morning fog on the water looked absolutely beautiful. There were some dead trees standing in the middle of the lake and once in a while a flying fish would jump up. Everyone in the boat got super quiet, and we all just admired the jungle sounds. On our way back to the base camp the German girls and I talked to Adam. He was clearly super passionate about nature and hearing him talk about a small bird or fish actually became fun because of his endless amount of enthusiasm. He told us he loved doing what he did, but he hated how tourists would slowly ruin Thailands beautiful nature. Our ride back flew by and before we knew it we were attacking our breakfast.
We all had a good amount of banana pancake, something which was very needed because we were about to go on a heavy hiking trip. We hiked through the woods for a good 1.5 hour and then got to a cave. All of us put our little headlights on and confidentally walked into it, not knowing what was waiting for us down there. It started with extreme darkness, second was cramped spaces, next we we saw millions of bats and eventually we had to go through water that came up to our shoulders. I could deal with all of that, it wasn’t all ideal to crawl through, but we were still moving. It got a little harder for me when we saw huge spiders. I’m talking bigger than my hand palm and neon blue heads. Not cool. I’m never forgetting that one moment when I was walking through the cave, water till my shoulders and walking up to 2 walls with 30 cm in between. I saw a bright light, 5 meters in front of me, that must be Michelle. Then I saw an even brighter light, a neon blue head was staring at me. The spider was right there in the tight gap, there was no way around it, I had to pass it. I survived with only a 5 cm gap between my shoulder and the big monster, but it scared the hell out of me. However, apart from a few moments, I thought it was such a cool experience. As we were walking there, all in line with out head lights, looking like minions. We all just felt really badass. However, I have to admit I was pretty relieved to finally see the blue sky again after a full hour in darkness.
We walked for a bit and then had lunch by the river. All of us had prepackaged fried rice, which was actually delicious. And while we were, yet again, attacking our food, Adam was cutting some fresh watermelon and pineapple. We finished our rice and fruits and walked back for another hour. Again we saw lots of greenery, lots of water and lots of flowers. However, there was one thing we didn’t get to see this morning and that were lots of butterflies. We got to a valley and all of the sudden we saw thousands of butterflies. All in different colors and sizes, blue ones, yellow ones, orange ones and white ones. The French in our group were yelling ‘aaah papillons!’, while the Germans were admiring ’the schmetterlingen’ and us Dutchies were loving the ‘vlinders.’ Anyway, it was a short, but super precious moment and it felt like one of those movies moments.
We finished our hike in the afternoon, which ended our time in Kao Sok. We took the longtail boat back to the main land and all of the sudden tiredness kicked in. I rested my head on the wood, felt the waves and closed my eyes. I heard Mich and the German girls laughing ‘how the hell was I l able to sleep on such a rough boat ride’. I felt the sore blisters on my feet and thought of the new memories we created. And within 5 minutes I was gone… Jungle jane checked out and was ready for some beach time!