Kaeng Krachan Reservoir: abundancy of monkeys'

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
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Trip End Jul 13, 2012


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Flag of Thailand  , Phetchaburi,
Monday, July 2, 2012

We decided last night that we would visit a dam today and go for a boat ride around it, but I can't say I was very excited at all, luckily I didn't bail out. We all piled into the car and set off for pretty much Burma as Nana said which took roughly 1.5 hours; the trip up was amazing. I've always thought you get more out of going to villages than you do going to tourist attractions and that still stands. It's always magical going through tiny poor villages with some walls only made out of rubber banners and mud, people washing their clothes in the river, wild dogs all around (which are said to mostly all have rabies) and the gorgeous smiling faces of the townsfolk. We were all very surprised about the number of 5-star resorts up in the back blocks which were a huge contrast to the villages. Early on in the trip we had to turn onto a very small dirt road as they were in the process of fixing the normal road, but this meant that we had to cross a tiny, one lane, wooden bridge that didn’t look stable at all. As soon as we saw it, David and Sassy said '’no way’’ but the further up we drove the more we could see that there wasn’t going to be another bridge so back we went, a Corolla crossed the bridge safely but we were in a 4-wheel drive with 5 adults and me! I am absolutely terrified of bridges as it is (the hospital did work out why but I have no idea now, possibly because of my Vestibular system) but I wasn’t the only terrified one, we all held our breath and slowly inched across; God was I happy to be off it!

Our first stop was on a bridge overlooking the dam which explained that it was actually a reservoir, which went for as far as the eye could see, was 90m deep and served all of Phetchaburi and surroundings areas.

Kaeng Krachan Dam is a multi-purposes hydro-electric project located in Phetchaburi Province. The Project provides water for irrigation, fishery, and power generation. The dam was built in 1966 and created a reservoir of 46.5sq.km. It has become tourists attraction site with beautiful scenery, water sports, resorts and golf club.

Kaeng Krachan (Thai: แก่งกระจาน)  is the largest national park of Thailand. The park was created on June 1981 as the 28th national park of Thailand. Originally covering an area of 2,478 kmē and it was
enlarged on December 1984 to include the boundary area between Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces. The park has been included in the list of ASEAN heritage parks.
 
 Kaeng Krachan Dam is located in the vicinity of Kaeng Krachan National Park. Construction of the dam was completed in 1966 and power generation was installed later on by EGAT. The dam stores water which is then released to Phetch Dam (Regulating Dam). Water is mainly used for irrigation and solve the water shortage problem in Hua Hin District.
 
Pa made a comment about tigers to which Sassy replied "well I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see one". I have to admit I was terrified after that! We drove on in the surprisingly straight roads until we made it to a small village overlooking the reservoir; we sat down for a drink, while Sassy and David received glares from Pa for having an ice-cream. We bought two bunches of bananas for 20B each and made our way down the dry rocky path to the very edge of the water, which was brown, dirty and full of bugs - I now know why we don’t drink tap water here

We all climbed into a little wooden boat which mum says would be "easily 30 years old" and was quite squishy width wise. We would step on a plank and the other end would come flying up, you’d sit on the seats and the backs would shake, the motor conked out a few times; let’s just say I was bloody scared. With our life jackets on we sped out into the deep, dark dam, which could easily have been the sea and within a few minutes we had arrived at 'Monkey Island’.

Monkey Island was as the name suggests - an island in the middle of the dam with heaps of monkeys. At first we saw a few trees move and some little heads popped out. Monkeys have always been my favourite animal so I was ecstatic to see five monkeys but nothing could prepare me for what came next. We all threw bananas out into the dam to draw the monkeys into the water and they would just dive in and swim 5m out which was another 5m from our boat. The monkeys just kept coming and coming down the trees and off the island to get the bananas. I thought we’d see some monkeys – maybe 20 or 30 – but I didn’t think we would see hundreds of monkeys. There were plenty of mothers with babies on their backs, which didn’t stop them fighting over bananas but the surprising thing was that all the big monkey’s, presumably adult males, stayed back on the island looking very timid while the females went wild. The driver kept starting the motor so the noise would keep the monkeys off the boat. Sounded effective to us!!!!  In an effort to get more bananas one climbed up the steel post at the end of the boat and onto the tarp roof which scared me. When I turned around to face the front again, there were six monkey’s standing literally 30cm away from me! They were greedy, hungry and vicious trying to grab everything they could, size or weight didn’t matter. The whole time with the adrenaline I thought they were after my camera, which they certainly weren’t getting but they did get a bunch of bananas from mums lap. With eight bananas it was pretty heavy but one just came up, quickly swiped it out and jumped into the water with it. Luckily mum and I were sitting in the second row from the front, in front of everyone else, meaning we were safer than if we were sitting in the very front and got a better view. The man directing the boat told Sassy that he’d never seen anything like it so we were very lucky, if that’s what you’d call it; I can still feel my heart beat fast just thinking about it. Our fun ended abruptly when some idiot (there’s no other word) tourist came with two dogs in his boat who scared the monkeys’ away, not for long but long enough for our driver to think it was all over and start the motor again. (Check out the video, skip the start and end though!)

With the adrenaline still pumping the rest of the boat trip was more exciting and enjoyable. All we saw were islands and hills but it was still amazing. One island was made especially for the King of Thailand so he could spend 24 hours alone on it, for whatever reason. Looking into the mountains we were shown some that are just over the border into Burma, although I thought it was now called Myammar or something.   Our tour ended after being shown some fishing nets, I believe for the restaurant where we then had lunch.

As I said, we went back to the restaurant for lunch, although none of us were particularly hungry so only two dishes were ordered and Nana suggested that I have an ice-cream which I was happy about and Pa quickly decided that he should have one too (no surprises there!)  Over lunch Sassy explained to us her childhood which was amazing. Sassy was the second of seven children and was raised by her grandparents until she was six when she moved back to Bangkok with her parents to attend school. She vividly told us how she would go hunting in the jungle to find spiders to eat, but she had to be careful not to eat or go near the poisonous ones and how her Grandfather was the Village doctor and people who came across boa constrictors’ would take them to his house. He would then cut the snake straight down the centre take out something (possibly milk) for medicine and sent the meat back into the town for eating. It’s hard to believe considering Sassy is so posh and 'glamorous’. 

On the drive home, in an attempt to go around the roadwork’s, we got lost and came home 40 minutes later than we would’ve but it did mean we got a different view; in one section the river had got so high that it had corroded the bank next to it creating look-alike static mites and static tights for a few kilometres.  We got home and had a nice swim with David and Sassy (who I felt incredibly fat next to) before going on a walk around the garden. Nana stopped to smell and admire all the flowers, particularly the frangipanis and rambutans (not that I can spell it). 

Everyone was so full from a late lunch, except Pa and I who had ice-cream, so it was decided that we would stay home and eat salads for tea. After dinner mum and I went into the rec. room to use the table-tennis table, although I was dreadful, I was proud of myself with how well I’d done considering I haven’t been able to do any sport for a year or so.  David and Sassy came down to talk to us all for an hour or so; Sassy excitedly brought down food she eats with  her friends, which turned out to be dried seaweed, which I tried and hated and mum was given dried fish which according to her is "as bad as it sounds".  Sassy, Nana, Pa, Mum and I all jumped in the pool around 9pm because the pool looked incredibly inviting with the changing coloured lights.
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Comments

Lyn on

Looking forward to seeing your monkey photos.

Val on

Congratulations Mel for the great Blog. I almost felt as though I was there. I could feel the fear.
What an amazing experience, especially when the monkeys jumped into the boat!!

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