Thursday, 30 April 2015

A Place No One Will Want To Leave

Khao Sok, Thailand

Every time we good travellers go away we’re like to come across a few locations we’ll enjoy, but then we’re bound to visit a place that we just don’t want to leave. This has happened to me several times (there’s a list floating around somewhere), and Khao Sok National Park just so happens to be on it. Included on the ThaIntro tour (mentioned in the Bangkok post), Khao Sok was the ‘natural side’ of our Thai experience. We came here for one night and stayed in the floating bungalows on Chiaw Lan Lake which just about everyone enjoyed.

Khao Sok, Thailand (taken 2014)
In getting there we caught an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok (the road takes about ten hours and 731km for those interested) to Surat Thani province before getting on a few minivans (we took minimal luggage also). We had the benefit of being in a group but Lonely Planet tells that you can bus it there just as easily from Krabi. Once at the lake’s shore we boarded a longboat for one of many floating bungalows.

Khao Sok, Thailand (taken 2014)
Khao Sok has been recognised as one of the oldest rainforests on the globe; upon looking at the towering limestone rocks and glass-green water leaves one speechless. Chiaw Lan itself is a man-made lake and its size will immediately cause visitors to cast some doubt, but this never became a distraction. Simply put, we were all caught up in the bliss that the park had to offer.

A few little highlights to point out; first of all, the water is amazing to swim in. A few years ago I was weary of deep and open water (ironically, swimming with a giant shark put that fear to rest), so stroking around in the glass-green of the lake was a joy. Don’t know how deep it gets but that never once crossed my mind. Next to that, kayaks are on offer for exploring and rubber rings to get lazy in.

Khao Sok, Thailand (taken 2014)
Being on the lake, we didn’t have the chance to go ‘bush walking’, a pastime I enjoy and so we didn’t get the chance to see much of the wildlife Khao Sok has. I learnt only recently that tigers, elephants and tapirs are running all over the place which has motivated me to make a return trip during my next stint in Asia, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t leave disappointed. Going out onto the water at dusk, you’re like to see gibbons swinging from the trees that are known to come in for closer look. This was a plus, as were the carps the bungalows' staff were feeding the following morning, but what amazed me was the tennis ball sized snail we found on the boardwalk. Australia may have some deadly bugs, but Thailand has the biggest I have seen.     

Khao Sok, Thailand (taken 2014)
Then there’s what I took from Khao Sok that I’ll forever be grateful for; the inspiration. Imagination has always been with me and so every time I looked out at the flat water I’d picture a dragon breaking the surface (little bit wishful thinking also since I was in Asia and the mist drifting around the limestone peaks was peaceful), but the lake itself was ‘kick in the backside’ enough to get the novel started in high school back into works. This mess of a book means a lot to me, as does my Thai experience, and so by putting the two together I’ve been doing things I once thought could never be achieved. Haven’t broken the 100 page mark but we’re getting there.
'Breaking Chiaw Lan Lake’s surface, his lungs filled with air tasting fresh and so pure; it was bliss in the finest of forms.'

Utilising my approach to the Keep River post, that was the opening of Chapter One from my beloved Dragonfly; the gods willing, there will be a completed first draft at some point. With that said, I urge you to see Khao Sok for what it is. Beautiful. 
Khao Sok, Thailand (taken 2014)

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