Challenge: Part 1: Khao Sok National Park

When I was maybe 10 or so, my family was going to take a vacation to Disney World. Most kids would just be happy to go meet Mickey Mouse or whatever. But not me. I went to the library and checked out all the guidebooks about Disney World and planned out our whole vacation. I learned what rides we should go to first to avoid queues, and for that matter, I learned the word queue. I learned how to save money by going to the cheaper food stalls, and I learned what times were best to take the shuttle.

I just look like the kind of kid who would check out guidebooks from the library and plan a family vacation, don't I? (My mother and sister were cropped from this picture to protect my life...it's not a great pic of any of us, frankly.)

My point–and I do have one–is that I love me some guidebooks, and I have from a young age.

So the first thing I did when I found out I was going to Surat Thani for 10 days was break out my Lonely Planet. And guess what? The Lonely Planet has pretty much nothing but terrible things to say about Surat Thani province.

I tend to believe the guidebooks, for good or for bad, but this time, I thought they kind of got it wrong. I didn’t spend too much time in Surat Thani city, because I was staying about 30 km outside of the city, but I actually had a really fantastic time and thought the area was beautiful. Of course, I had some Thai people to show me around and bring me to the best places to eat, shuttle me around, throw parties for me with amazing food, force me to sing karaoke (“Stay” by Lisa Loeb and most Dido songs are the ones I will sing to blow your mind out of your nose), and just generally show me a great time.

It’s a hard life, but somebody has to live it. And that somebody might as well be me, you know what I’m saying?

I’ve actually got to break the trip up into different parts because there are so many awesome things. I could do an entire post just on the food…which I MIGHT.

On Route 401 to Khao Sok National Park. We rented a car, and while I had to pray for my life because Thai drivers don't exactly stay in the lines, it was also a really nice drive.

Route 401 on the way to Khao Sok National Park in Phang-Nga province, about 100 km from Surat Thani.

In Khao Sok National Park. Despite the sign that said not to go across this bridge, we went across it.

I AM INDIANA JOANNA, DAMN IT! Also, I was pretty sure I was going to fall into the stream when the ropes snapped and die when my head hit a rock.

I mean, COME ON! Who wouldn't think they were going to fall to their death?

So, we were warned about the leeches. They were INSANE. They went through our SOCKS to suck our blood. I mainly freaked out and flailed around whenever one got on me, and eventually we had to turn around and go to the leech-less path because I'm a total wimp. Truth.

Nice path! No leeches!

Swimming hole. The water was SUPER COLD, but I didn't have my swimming suit, so I just dipped my feet in.

Chiaw Lan Lake. On the way to Khao Sok, made from a dam called Ratchaprapha. In the spirit of complete honesty, I will confess I didn't actually make it here.

Rubber plantation. I guess the price of rubber is way up and a lot of people who own rubber plantations are buying new cars in record numbers. Also, the plantations are staffed mainly by Burmese workers.

So, you know how I said I was in the sticks for 10 days? This was the view from the front balcony. Middle. Of. Nowhere. It was crazy beautiful, though. The sky looked like it was Photoshopped this brilliant blue.

Tomorrow: Part 2: Market and Surat Thani city. Wednesday: Part 3: Phuket

Or the other way around, who can know?

Final Score:

Khao Sok National Park: 1  Megan: 1

The leeches were vicious, people, and I was a total wimp, but it was also a really great trip.

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23 Comments

Filed under Awesome, Thailand, Trips

23 responses to “Challenge: Part 1: Khao Sok National Park

  1. Jess

    Leeches always make me think of ‘Stand By Me’, which always makes me shiver, which makes me think your leech reaction was VERY APPROPRIATE.

    Can’t wait to hear more and be even more jealous :)

  2. Oh, believe me, that’s what I thought of the whole time. It was not pleasant…

  3. Adelle

    Did that leech just manage to get through your running shoes too ? That is just freaky.

    • It didn’t get through our shoes, but they got through the shoes of some other people we met along the way. They were totally freaky, you are right. *shudder*

  4. Wait. Leeches can BORE THROUGH SHOES?! Holy crap. I’m never leaving the house again.

  5. P.S. I think you should have given the leeches a point. I mean boring through shoes? That’s hardcore.

  6. Hi Megan, there are some real hidden gems in Thailand; maybe it is good that the guide books ignore them. I’m no fan of leeches, but they must like you :-)

  7. Mus

    Hi,

    Stumbled across your blog. Love your writing style. I just came back (to Malaysia) from a 51 day indochina tour. Absolutely love Thailand, so it’s good that you’re going places that I may want to hit the next time I’m up there.

    • Thanks! Yeah, I highly recommend Surat Thani province and the surrounding area. A bit difficult to get around by public transportation, I think, but if you’ve got the time, it would definitely be do-able.

  8. Megan, it looks like a beautiful spot to visit, maybe Lonely Planet wanted to keep under wraps.

    I can’t figure out if you were a geek when you were 10 years old or a control freak, or both ;)

    Do the food post…I love food!

    • Uh, yeah, control freak geek–described me then, kind of describes me now!

      I’ll do the food one soon–I cannot believe how many amazing things I had to eat!

  9. That leech looks tiny! Not to minimize the horror of leeches or anything, I’m just surprised… I guess maybe I’ve only seen pictures of them after they’ve become engorged with blood?

    It’s that bridge that’s really doing me in, though – I have a serious fear of crossing a swinging rope bridge! I shudder just looking at the picture of you walking across, lol.

    • It actually was really tiny; it got bigger when it had been feasting on blood, but it wasn’t the same kind that we get back home I think.

      YES–that bridge was terrifying! I was holding on for dear life!

  10. Those pics looked awesome! I’ll have to check that out the next time I’m down South. Sigh – too many places to see!

  11. Jeremy

    I went on a hike in that Park as well. My friend had a leech near the vajayjay that her boyfriend had to extract! We turned around shortly after that! So a warning to future visitors: If its that time o’ the month U might not wanna go to this place. I’m just sayin’!

  12. Guido

    Hi Megan – Love your style. I found your blog while looking for a maid in Bangkok on the Expat Women’s Guide. Anyway, good luck in Thailand. I hope to bump into you someday.

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