At the mercy of jungle critters
Nov 30, 2009
Jun 01, 2011
We spent a couple of days trekking in the national park under our own steam
. There were guided treks available, but buoyed by our wild-life spotting success in Cat Ba we figured we should be able to manage it on our own. Little bit unnerving when we came across the 'beware of wild elephants’ sign and heard some unexplained thrashing around in the undergrowth. But armed with our walking poles we figured Kev could hold them at bay while I ran to get help! Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you want the story to go) we didn’t see any elephants, we did however spot loads of great wildlife. Loads of fantastic lizards, a bright green snake, macaques, dusky langurs, a huge shiny black beetle with a horn like a rhino and some of the coolest caterpillars. One that looked like a fern leaf. Some of the wild life got a bit closer to us than we would have liked. One our first days hike Kev felt an itch on his leg and rolled up his trousers to find a leech attached to his shin. It was firmly latched on and having a good old feast! I leapt into action and came over all Jungle Jane getting a box of matches from my backpack and singeing the little bugger until he fell off. I can only presume I must have learnt this little trick from an episode of Ray Mears or Bear Grylls as have never encountered a leech before. I found the whole episode rather exciting and amusing, although Kev not too impressed that my first priority was to take a photo of his leg before getting it off. He got his comeuppance the following day when I removed by boots and found a leech on my ankle. No time for getting matches or any of that, just a huge shriek and frantic swiping at it to get it off. God knows how he managed to get in there as had my trousers firmly tucked into socks and boots on. It bled for an hour and left a big blood blister as a souvenir for few days. Horrible at the time, but in hindsight all added to the proper full on jungle experience.
We decided to go for the opposite end of the spectrum with our alternative stop after cancelling our plans for Bangkok. Instead of cocktails, high-rises and cheap night markets we had a bamboo shack, jungle and a million and one insects to deal with. Khao Sok national park is just a couple of hours by bus from Surat Thani. The scenery is spectacular, green everywhere, Karst Mountains covered in thick jungle and the sound of crickets and cicadas. Our accommodation was in a little wooden hut on stilts, with woven bamboo walls. Pretty basic, with plenty of gaps in the walls and floor, through which geckos, mice and ants could come and go as they pleased! Thankfully there was a nice big mossie net hanging over the bed, so last thing at night we'd make sure it was securely tucked in around us so nothing could munch us while we slept!