I wake up feeling really shite with a headache, blocked up nose and sore throat. Simon suggests we stay here for another day but I figure as we are now up we might as well get going after breakfast. We repack our gear and after some toast and fruit, Simon runs out to the road to get a taxi. We pile in the sawngthaew and ask the fella to take us to the bus station. The buses are every hour, on the hour and we figure we have plenty of time as it is only 9.40 but the guy at the station grabs our cash and chucks us on a bus that is leaving now. Still we check with the driver and it seems this bus does pass Khao Sok on the way to Phuket and I’m happy enough with that.
Two hours later and we are close to the park. We have passed lots of big lorries loaded up with beige coloured sheets of raw latex. The busy streets of Surat Thani, where the red lanterns hanging to celebrate Chinese New Year are being taken down, slowly give way to mountains, trees and small bumpy roads with occasional huts and roadside seller’s.
We are called to the front of the bus and its time to get off. I’m in desperate need of a pee and am directed to a few sheets of plastic and a hole round the back of a hut when I ask where to go. Still I’m a hardcore toilet user now. Look out Nicky things could get worse! Hee hee!
A fella with a pick up asks us where we want to go and we tell him we have reserved a bed for the night at “Our Jungle House”. Simon gets in with the driver and me and the kids sit in the back with our gear. Going over the bumps is an exciting experience as our arses jump up and crash back down on the metal. Luckily the most uncomfortable ride experience I have ever had only lasts for 10 minutes before we arrive. Oh wow what an awesome place, some of the places we have visit I really struggle to convey exactly how amazing they are and this place I don’t even think the photos will do it any justice let alone my ramblings.
Down a narrow path, is a small wooden, single storey building with a few tables and chairs, a desk and a bookshelf. There is no one around but a fella appears down the stairs and introduces himself as Klaus. He asks us how long we wish to stay for and then suggests we leave our gear and “Let’s go for a walk”. We set of behind him in single file down a dusty path into dense jungle. I expected to see a neat row of wooden bungalows but there’s none of that organisation in this place. We walk for a while and pass what Klaus describes as the” Thai house” first. This is a two storey structure but unfortunately not available tomorrow night. Then we pass 2 tree houses, they look great but are a long way from each other and we would rather be closer to the kids here.
Last we arrive at what Klaus calls the riverside cottages. These little wooden huts on stilts will be perfect for us, close together, in a little clearing, right at the end of a trail and on the riverbank. The scenery is truly amazing and across the river massive, sheer limestone cliffs rise 200 feet into the air. We are surrounded by thick jungle and as Ali says it is as noisy as a city, the cicades are ear splittingly loud and we all catch sight of lizards, dragon flies and other insects darting around. Maisie comes across a snake and wisely waits until it slithers off before carrying on skipping down the path!
The cottages are quite comfortable with cold water shower, clean sheets and mosquito nets. We are given a solemn explanation of do’s and don’ts of the jungle including checking underneath our pillows at night before lying down. Oh my god!
We have our dinner, the choice is really good and we decide to be a bit adventurous. We choose pumpkin and bamboo spicy red curry, banana flower leaf salad, chicken green curry, tempura vegetables with chilli and steamed rice. It’s really great food and we’re all completely stuffed by the end of our meal. We make our way back along the path to our huts its only early but dark although not pitch black. The moonlight lights up our little clearing and we stare up at the stars and watch the bats swooping around. It is an eerie and wonderful experience. My imagination starts to run away with me though and by the time we get ready to let our mosquito net down I’m convinced there are huge bugs everywhere.
Although I knew before I started the trip I was scared of heights amongst other things, I never thought insects would bother me. As I am pottering around in the gloomy light looking for my toothbrush I tread on something warm and squishy. I shriek the place down and the kids come flying across from their hut to see what’s wrong. I sit on the bed sobbing hysterically that I’ve trodden on a snake and insist that Simon looks for it. The snake turns out to be nothing more than the padded strap from my rucksack and eventually I fall into an uneasy and disturbed sleep.