After arriving in Khao Sok, we hung out in our bungalow during the hottest part of the afternoon. At about 4:30 Tawee, the owner, came and rounded up his 5 guests (including us) to give us a tour of the park from the bed of his pick-up truck. First stop was a small temple built into one of the limestone cliffs. The temple itself wasn’t that impressive but the surrounding grounds were full of monkeys - macaques. As we drove up to the temple Tawee honked his horn and clapped his hands really loudly. Swarms of monkeys descended from the jungled cliffs surrounding the temple and came towards us. Some of the other guests had purchased bananas for the monkeys on the way to the temple and they shared a few with us. It was really fun to get out of the truck and hand out bananas to monkeys, although it occurred to both of us that this type of tourist behavior is probably very bad for the monkeys. They walk right up to you, reach out their hands, and pull the banana away from you. They have really strong grips and will wrench the banana away from you if you try to hold on to it. The adults are experts at peeling the bananas and eat them exactly like humans do - really bizarre. Here are some pictures:
We then drove to a scenic viewpoint where we finally had someone to take a picture of both of us at one time!
Finally we stopped by the park entrance…I think this was mostly an excuse for Tawee to drive us to his friend’s minimart so we could buy stuff from him.
Tawee’s wife cooked all the meals at the bungalows’ little restaurant. Everything she made was SO good, and we were shocked when we ordered a green papaya salad and they ran out to their garden to pick a green papaya for us! The next day we ordered chicken with basil leaves, and we watched them pick the basil from the garden too.
The next day we rode our bikes the 5km to the park’s entrance to do a short hike. We started off at 6:30am in an effort to beat the heat and hopefully see some wildlife. Even though it was early it was still hot and humid and we were both feeling really tired. We trudged along a 3km trail to a pitiful little waterfall (even our guidebook admitted it was a stretch to try to call this trickle a waterfall) and sat there for a bit eating our bananas. The bananas we’ve been eating here, by the way, are really tiny ones - about one third the size of a banana in the US. They are really sweet and have so much more flavor, too. I never really like bananas in the US, but here they are very tasty! Here is some of the thick bamboo along the trail:
We caught a glimpse of a few monkeys in the trees during our hike - the same type we’d fed the other night. We didn’t see any gibbons, but we did hear their calls. It is really hard to describe the noises they make - almost like a siren. Our guidebook says they use the thermal barrier between the hot and cool layers in the jungle trees to make their calls travel 2-3kms. We also caught a glimpse of a giant hornbill flying above us, but we weren’t close enough to really see him. Jamie tried to take pictures anyway:
We ended up back at our bungalow by noon due to the heat. We’re starting to wonder what we’re going to do during the afternoons here. It gets so incredibly hot that you just can’t be outside…even walking down the street to look at a town is miserable. Maybe we’ll just get a lot of reading done…
Another delicious dinner was had thanks to Tawee’s wife, and we learned some card tricks from his friendly cousin. We spent the night lying in bed under our mosquito net listening to the sounds of the jungle. Definitely the strangest animal sounds we have ever heard! The next morning we headed off at 6:30am back west to Takua Pa, on our way to Bangkok. The morning was incredibly foggy, misty, and beautiful.