We briefly backtracked towards Bangkok as we made our way to Khao Yai National Park and its adjacent town called Pak Chong. We had purchased a two and a half day tour and accomodation with GreenLeaf guesthouse and they offered free pickup from the bus station, which was great. The guesthouse was very basic but spacious and clean, however we did find a giant spider the size of a fist in the bathroom on the night we arrived, but hey, we were here to see critters after all, no? In fact I kinda threw a tantrum (or a strop, as Richard would call it), tried to get him to dispose of it for me, which he refused. I then had to go get one of the guys at the restaurant to come and do something about it for me, while Richard sat and gave me scornful looks and the guy giggled at us. This made us wonder how I would be coping with the critter encounters ahead of us…
The next day, I put my brave girl pants and leech socks on and off we went! And it was really good! We spotted a few wild elephants rights from the start followed by a bunch of other wildlife including gibbons, pit vipers, macaques, hornbills, deers and other I forget! Our guide was very skilled a spotting all these animals that we would have never been able to see otherwise. He also took photos with our cameras through his telescope. I loved the baby monkeys!
On the second day, we did the half day tour which started by a refreshing splash at a local spring, where our guide helped us spot skinny little snakes hiding in the trees and tried to get us to handle them. “Hell to the no” was my firm and final answer. We then explored a beautiful cave where I had to fight the urge to panic because I thought my life was going to end there and then! We proceeded to check out a bunch more critters and, as you can see from the photo, I was absolutely thrilled.
Lastly we went into a field for an amazing sunset and to watch bats emerge from their cave by the million. Having a bit of a history of my own with bats (I grew up in a old house where the attic was infested by bats and we occasionally got the odd one in our bedroom at night, which would in invariably scared the shit out of me), and judging by my expression on the photos, I was pretty thrilled by this as well! Not. It was quite an amazing sight nonetheless.
Overall it was an amazing experience to see all this wonderful Thai wildlife in its natural habitat If you are going to hire a guide to visit Khao Yai National Park, I strongly recommend the lovely folks at GreenLeaf guesthouse. The only down point for us was the location, as we didn’t have our own transportation and we did feel a little stranded in regards with the rest of town and restaurants. We ended up eating all but one meal at the guesthouse (there are a few scattered options within walking distance). Fortunately they had tofu on hand, and the meat could be substituted for tofu in all the dishes, including a delicious laab, which I have been dreaming about ever since….