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Thailand - Khao Sok

National Park Jungle/Lake

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View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

On the morning we left Penang we got the free ferry over to Butterworth and sweated our way to the train station to catch the 14:00 train, which was only a small four carriage affair through Malaysia and picked up more carriages at the first stop in Thailand, Hat Yai. The train rumbled along at a steady pace and we were at the Thailand border within about three hours, at which point we disembarked and went through the immigration formalities as well as ordering some train food of stir fry and fresh fruit. After a protracted stop we carried on into Thailand, the beds came down and we arrived at Surat Thani around 12:20am (LONG!!!!). Unfortunately everyone catching the train onto Bangkok at Surat Thani piled on leaving us to barge through a carriage of people in the single gangway, only just getting off the train as the whistle went and it started going. We had pre-booked an apartment in Surat Thani and the taxi driver was at the station to give us a lift.

The apartment was billed as being close to the station but was actually a right old trek away. Therefore the next morning with no one around we walked back to the station with full kit and lost around 5 kilos in sweat, but we found a nice man who sorted us out with a mini-bus to Khao Sok. The white mini-buses in Thailand are notorious for being driven by lunatics and piled high with people/baggage/+everything else. They also pick up people at any point along the busy road adding to the experience, and therefore we had the usual white knuckle ride but made it to Khao Sok in around two hours.

We had booked to stay in Smiley Jungle bungalows for a night, their lake house for two nights and then the jungle bungalow again as we'd stayed here two years ago and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately the bungalows had gone downhill since we stayed last and were a bit grimey, but the hammock with the jungle view was just the same. There is a little strip of restaurants in Khao Sok so we went for a nice meal and headed to the Reggae bar for a few bottles of Chang in the evening (after a massage).

The next day we were out for 08:00am (early!!!) and got in the minibus to the Smiley lake house. The minibus drove around 1 hour to the Khao Sok National Park pier and we got a longtail boat for around 1.5 hours to the lake house. We had been here a couple of years ago and found it to be 'same same but different' in that there was now 23 new floating rooms and a diving platform into the lake, therefore a lot busier. Luckily we were in one of the end rooms away from the dining/drinking pontoon so it was nicely peaceful in the evenings, especially as on the last evening around 60 self styled 'Oliver Reed' Thais arrived at the Lakehouse for a 12 hour bender. We had opted to forego the tours (ie. jungle safari and trekking) as we had done these before and Jack actually saw more wildlife in the kayak.

The first day we relaxed and swam in the lake, the second day we relaxed and swam in the lake, then for a change we relaxed and swam in the lake on the third day :-) Jack enjoyed the diving board and managed a few back/front flops off the pontoon. The climate at the lake was hot hot hot and the lake was equally warm so staying cool was an issue but we managed. Whilst we really enjoyed the time at the lake it had changed a lot from when we went previously through the expansion so had lost a little of the magic, but star gazing on your balcony in the evening made up for it!!! The highlight for me (Jack) was when I took a kayak out in the evening and came across a troop of monkeys coming down to the lake edge to drink and scavenge on the water's edge which was very nice to observe, made me think about how beautiful the world...not really, actually made me think great, monkeys.

On the third day we reversed the trip back to Khao Sok Jungle stretch and went out for some dinner and back to the reggae bar where the owner showed off his fire poi skills.

In the morning we arose and caught a minibus back to Surat Thani to catch the ferry to Koh Tao, but unfortunately the driver dropped us off at a ferry agent (where he likely made commission) rather than the official ferry company. After some short words with the agent who tried to pressure us into buying ferry tickets we caught a Tuk-tuk to the proper ferry office and after a few hours caught the bus to the pier where we got on the Lomprayah catamaran ferry to Koh Toa, arriving in the evening for the next chapter...

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Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 06:18 Archived in Thailand

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