Friday, May 20, 2011

Day ?

Khao Suk National Park was unbelievable. Being the rookies we are, we were not sure how to initially attack this monstrous playground. We arrived in the late evening and just pointed at a block of bungalows, or maybe tree houses would be a more apt description, which happened to be in our price range, ate some dinner and went to bed. At dinner we met a nice kid named Tyler from Washington State and decided to meet up the next morning to hike around the park ourselves. Great day filled with wrong turns, waterfalls, sweat and leeches. Ohhhh the leeches.
Funny story: apparently, if you want to avoid the leeches, you should walk at the front of the line. We were unaware, and we were all baffled that Hope had such a problem with the leeches. When hiking in the rain forest, the person in front wakes the leeches up, the people in the middle give them a scent to follow, and the person in the rear gets attacked. Such was the case. Neither Tyler nor I could understand why every time we stopped to do a leech check, Hope had twice as many as we did. Anyway, Hope didn't loose too much blood, and we all made it home safe after a grueling 7hr hike.
The next day was unforgettable. We had scheduled a tour of the giant lake that was the center of the national park, Chowlin Lake, as well as a tour of the Namtaloo cave. The lake was amazing. Endless with thousands of islands and limestone walls that raised 200ft.
After a 2 hour boat ride to the far end of the lake, we stopped to eat lunch and get ready for the hike to the cave. Will, Robin, Ryan and Jen; Fulford cave has nothing on Namtaloo. A deep cavern over a mile long with a stream at times lazily flowing and at times rushing through. the stream starts out innocent enough, about knee deep with slight pressure, then it just gets silly. Waist deep, then neck deep rushing so fast you need a rope to pull you up stream. Then some casual rock climbing over some actual rapids within the cave, until you stumble upon a pond with a waterfall at the far end, let me remind you, within the cave! Amazing! About an hour or so is spent exploring the cave with a guide until we are sent out. Then back to the boat and back home in time for dinner.
During our cave tour we met a nice German couple whom we ate dinner with and agreed to go tubing with the next day. A lazy and fun morning of tubing in the river, a rope swing, river monkeys, and even a python who swam right under my tube. Then we said goodbye to Khao Suk and headed to Phuket airport. Hope and I made the decision to fly to northern Thailand instead to taking the train to give ourselves a couple extra days. Worked beautifuly. Would have been a three day trip to the north, instead just a couple of cheap tickets and a couple hours flight.
We arrived in Chiang Mai 2 nights ago at midnight. found a cheap hotel and went to bed. Woke up and immediately regretted our choice of hotel. The dirtiest one yet. so we packed up and headed out. The innkeeper stopped us as we were walking out and pleaded with us to let her show us her nicer rooms, for only 100baht more, which is about 3 dollars, and we complied. The difference was astonishing. Air conditioning, TV, and a balcony. $3 to go from the worst room of our trip, to the nicest. so we stayed. and we've been there since. Yesterday we went to the Tiger Kingdom. Hey Curt, imagine a kingdome of cats, really big ones. No joke, tiger cubs in my lap. Giant mommy tiger rolling over so Hope could scratch her belly. Today we went on an all day trek in the mountains. We hiked for about 4 hours, with the hike broken up with one section of elephant riding(yup, on an elephant. Hope rode it bareback most of the way),
one waterfall to swim in, and one section of bamboo rafting down the river.  Tomorrow is our first cooking class. An all day event that starts at 9am with a trip to the local market to pick up ingredients, then to the class for cooking and eating. A 7 hour and 5 course event. Can't wait.


  1. I just found out about the leeches. I'm going to buy leech socks! borneo is supposed to have some very big leeches. Maybe that is why we will be on those high walkways. Altho I hear they fall out of trees as well. How did Hope get rid of them??
    Trip sounds amazing. Can't believe you are doing this. Stay safe!!

  2. You guys rock. Love the stories. Can't wait to hear more. Much love.

  3. Its real easy to get rid of leeches, just pull them off. And I have never heard of these flying leeches you speak of, but well find out.

  4. thanks will! we think about you here often.

    noel - the leeches are actually easier to pull off when they're bigger, but they suck hard and takes some patience when trying to. they really aren't that bad, just a little annoying and with leech socks they shouldn't be as big of a problem as we had when we didn't have them.

  5. These pictures are amazing!!! Rory you must have been in heaven with the cubs. The cave looked way too scary. Don't like leeches!