Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Days 9 and 10- Khoa Sok National Park- the Raft ho

After breakfast we left our treehouse and our driver drove for about 1 1/2  hours to the lake. We picked up our lake guide, Yu, along the way.

At the lake we boarded a long tail boat to take us to the rafthouse. The name long tail comes from the long propeller shaft that can be over 10 feet that stretches from the motor mounted on the deck at the back of the boat and extends to the propeller. 

As we went deeper and deeper into the lake, passing many small islands,  we became surrounded by gorgeous, lush limestone mountains. After about forty minutes we arrived at the rafthouse. It was rustic and peaceful. There are about a ten small rafthouses on each side, a restaurant and washroom facilities all connected by a long dock/ floating walkway. The rafthouses are really small cabins, about 8' x 8', floating on pontoons. There was a twin  and single mattress on the floor and that was it for furnishings. Power was supplied by a generator. There was no internet , which was just fine.

There was a glass table in the restaurant where you could watch the fish swimming down below. Fish often jump out of the water, especially in the morning and evening.

After lunch we went for a swim right out of our front door. The deep emerald colored water was warm but still refreshing in the hot sun.

Like clockwork, in the late afternoon the clouds swiftly rolled in and rain pelted down so we stayed in our rafthouse and read for awhile.

After the rainstorm wore itself out, Yu picked us up and we took the long tailed boat across the lake to a small bay that was the starting point for a jungle walk. We saw Dusty Langer monkeys in the trees, many tarantulas in their holes and a beautiful small blue bird keeping eggs warm in her nest. There were lots of gigantic bamboo and rattan in the jungle. The sweet smell of some kind of flower (plumeria or jasmine?) permeated the air. We looked up to the sky when we heard the unique "quash quash" sound of air passing through a hornbill's wings as it flew overhead.

Yu loves animals and gets amazing shots with his fabulous camera. He was interested in whales and asked us what kind we had in Canada. I don't know what I was thinking when I answered " the great white whale". John was quick to correct me and we all had a good laugh.

I asked Yu if there were any crocodiles and he answered " the sharks ate them all." :)

Our walk ended at a shore area that had a small village of seven modest houses and many long bamboo boats. Local children played in the calm waters, using long pieces of bamboo like we use pool noodles. John commented " What a lovely place to grow up."

We took one of the bamboo boats and slowly made our way across to the other shore where we climbed up the rocks and with headlamps in hand, entered the Coral Cave. It's not made from real coral, just the way it's eroded makes it look like it. It was stunningly gorgeous with all kinds of shapes and often sparkles in the rocks. When we arrived at a deep part of the cave, we turned out the lights and literally, you could not see your hand in front of your face. It would be horrifying to be in there without a light. 

We went back to the boat, crossed the lake and walked through the jungle on the same trail we came on to get back to our long tail boat.

Supper consisted of a large, delicious fresh caught gourami along with a mossaman curry dish, rice, shrimp stir fry and fresh pineapple and watermelon. Yu showed us how Thai people even break off pieces of the fried gourami fins, dip them into the sweet chili sauce and eat them like chips. It was pretty good. The pineapple especially was extra delicious because it was grown in the mineralized soils of Phuket.

In Thailand, you are not given a knife and fork with your meals but a fork and large spoon. Yu told us that you use the fork to push the food onto the spoon and eat with the spoon.

I had a hoot watching the geckos running around on the inside of the roof, catching bugs for their dinner. One pair of geckos had a brief romantic moment before getting back to chowing down. Some of the geckos would wait on the light shades to catch unsuspecting moths. It was really quite intriguing. 

We woke early and Yu took us for an nature boat ride where we saw monkeys, a king fisher and an eagle hunting for prey before returning back for breakfast.

We spent the rest of the morning on our small deck, reading, writing and listening to the monkeys hoot and howl in the distance.

After lunch it took 40 minutes to return to the boat pier. Our driver met us there and drove us to Krabi and dropped us off at the Krabi Front Bay Resort. After checking in, we got a map and went for a walk.

Krabi is a port town, a place where the ferries take people to the islands. After experiencing the ports of Piraeus and Bari, I wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised.

We walked around the park and along a boardwalk that runs beside the river until we got to the town centre. There was a night market, some shops and lots of restaurants.  Bizarrely, one main intersection was controlled by three giant traffic signals in the shape of what looked like a Neandrathal or Yeti. After eating Thai food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we decided to get a pizza and some drinks before heading back.

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