For my last days in Thailand, I went to the jungle in the Khao Sok national park, which main entrance is 100km west from Surat Thani. Sunday the 19th was spent mostly on the ferry and road from Kho Samui to Khao Sok, from 8 am to 4 pm.
Arrived at Jungle Huts, I was not sure at which tour I should participate. The 2 days tour in the lake was appealing but because of the slippery path, it was not possible to get up to the viewpoint, so I decided against this tour. I started with a night safari, a nice and quiet opportunity to see animals like chameleons sleeping. I went to the lake on the 20th: the 1h boat to the raft houses in the lake was very nice, along impressive high cliffs! From there, we walked to a cave. The rain put the water quite high there, on chest level. Some nice big spider inside! However, we could not see much in the way; it is almost a train of tourist to get there: we were already 3 mini buses (about 18 persons) from our guest houses!
My second whole day was really dedicated to the jungle: a crazy jungle trek from 7:30 to 15:30: an amazing but also exhausting day, particularly because of the leeches: these bloodsuckers got me 10 times, although I got long and closed pants and sleeves: they indeed sucked through my socks and managed to get inside my shirt! During the trek, we saw chameleons, spiders, monkeys, birds, but no real big animals: the trail is along the river and does not go deep in the forest. This rainy forest shall be one of the oldest on Earth, although I was more impressed by the one in Central African Republic last Christmas where the trees are bigger. However, it is not very fair to compare this Thai tropical jungle where half of the trees are huge bamboos with the equatorial forest in central Africa.
The other link between these two trips is the elephants: in Africa, we saw a place where more than 80 forest elephants were widely staying, attracted by the minerals. There is however no way to approach them. In Thailand, no wild elephant seen, but only “domestic” ones: I finally made a “elephant trek” on the 22nd, i.e. rode an elephant, thinking that they should be ok in this big jungle. The elephant is indeed the national animal in Thailand.
After riding dromedaries in Egypt, camels and horses in Mongolia, it was interesting to ride the elephant. Asian elephants are not as big as African ones, but still quite high, although not much more than on a dromedary. The most impressive part was how they manage to keep their balance in the very slippery jungle going up and down. 2 hours were enough, it was not very comfortable!
These amazing jungle days closed pretty much my time in Thailand: the rest was just going back to get the flight in Bangkok: mini bus from Khao Sok to Surat Thani, then night train to Bangkok. This one was actually quite good, having a sleeper place. From the main station in Bangkok, I went straight to the Airport via the metro and city rail link.