Day 38 – Sun – 12th July:
Today we got up early about 8am and packed up the tents. This is because US Ryan was leaving today and we would swap our two, two man tents for one three man. We said goodbye to the Germans, who were going off on a planned hike with a guide (which you don’t need btw and it is very expensive).
I explored the campsite and there was a cool ‘Indiana Jones’ style swing bridge which lead to the start of one of the trails and a small coffee shop which only sold coffee. I think they would make money if they did breakfast (we all would have had it) so they are missing a trick there.
It was good iced coffee in a proper printed cup (like Starbucks) only saying ‘Khao Yai National Park‘ with a logo of a deer.
We had a discussion with the park ranger but it was hard to tell where the trails were and where they started. I think most people hire guides at this point (he kept offering us a guide), maybe out of frustration.
Firstly we re-hired our gear (you had to check in with it every day) and then swapped our tents over. We loaded up US Ryan’s hired motorbike and he took the gear, with Silja, to the next campsite. Phakluai Mai Campsite, (last night we were at Lumtakonh Campsite), I think, as there were no signs and it was very confusing. Scroll down on the link here for info about both campsite and both waterfalls in the park.
Me and AUS Ryan walked to the campsite, along the concrete road, and it only took us about 25 mins. Silja and US Ryan had already set up the tents so after a drink in a cafe we set off.
So we took the trail (I think) called ‘Pha Kluai Mai-Haew Suwat Trail 3 Km’, and the first 30 mins (to the first waterfall) was along the concrete road.
The waterfall, ‘Haew Sueat Waterfall’, was lovely but you couldn’t swim 😦 so we hunted around and finally found what we thought was the continuation of the trail. We passed some Japanese tourists sitting on a rest bench as we wandered off into the jungle. They looked at us like we were crazy. I think (as I have said before) walking and hiking is certainly a tourist thing, no Asians would be ‘crazy’ enough to walk in the heat. I guess they have to live in the heat all the time, maybe if I did then I wouldn’t be so keen to hike.
So here is a pic of our map (it was a little worse for wear by the end of the day).And after an hour of guessing the trail, which was incredibly underused, we came to the next waterfall. I think was the ‘Haew Sai Waterfall’, but it was so unclear and not signposted.
Amazingly we bumped into the Germans who had reached that point after three hours of hiking with their guide, and having not seen anything or any animals. Now seeing animals is always luck of the draw but I think it is defo not worth having a guide. It had only taken us 1.5 hours to the same spot from the same campsite.
We swam in this waterfall and it was lovely. Sijia took a retro snap on her Polaroid camera and then we all took pics of the photo with the waterfall in the background. See below.We then walked on for another hour but couldn’t seem to reach the third waterfall? So in the end we turned back. US Ryan turned back about 40 mins before we did because he had to get out of the park and off to catch a plane he next day (I think from Bangkok City).
We arrived back at the camp at exactly 4.30pm. But the cafe was closed and the small shop was literally just closing and the lady was locking the door! I ran over and waved at them but surprisingly the lady rudely just walked off. Normally the Thai people would happily just open the door for five mins and let you buy something.
Anyway I was very hungry as I hadn’t eaten all day so we hitchhiked to the next campsite and found a shop and a restaurant. Then we hitchhiked back again. Defo pack your own food for this trip
Lots of deer roaming around this campsite as well, but no people! Just a couple of stoned white (not Thai) guys in a hammock. The place was dead, even quieter than the previous site? Where is everybody….
Day 39 – Mon – 13th July:
Today we packed up early as we had to be back in Bangkok City to meet Sijia’s friend from Denmark (her home country). It was his first time out of Europe so she planned to meet him in Bangkok and show him the city.
It was very hard to get a taxi out of the campsite. As I said last night there was nobody here and no Rangers either! Unlike the other site which a least had some staff.
We walked back along the road to the other site (we had to go there anyway to return the hired gear). It took us a little longer than before as we were carrying all the tents and stuff.
At the other site we asked for a taxi but they said 1,000 baht out of the park! Crazy! In the end we found a bunch of other people (also Danish) to join us and split the fee. It worked out about 150 baht each, which was doable.
This taxi actually took us all the way to the town (different place than before), cutting out the Songtheaew part of the journey, and we jumped straight into a bus to Bangkok, so it was worth it.
We arrived back at Glur Hostel in Bangkok at about 12pm and after a rest I was introduced to Silja’s friend Daniel (also from Denmark), who had just flown in. This is his first time out of Europe and he has a long trip ahead of him planned to meet friends in New Zealand and also to tour round the rest of Asia.
Read about the awesome hostel Glur in a previous post (in day thirty-five).
His first few hours in Bangkok were rather hectic. First there was a rushed trip to the train station where we tried to get tickets on the night train for tomorrow night. Unfortunately it was completely full for the next five days! This is the first time this has happened to me in Thailand, normally I can get a ticket for the same day no problem but it is getting into a slightly busier season for tourists I think.
We glanced into the bus office but they looked a bit unsafe and we were not in for trying something new this time, just to get to our destination (Chiang Mai).
So we finally decided to take the day train which no one was very happy about but we had no choice (we were all on a bit of a tight schedule to meet other friends in a few days/a week etc).
The best thing about the night train is that the journey flies by and you save the cost of a night in a hostel.
As we walked back from the train station I saw the post office was open for another half an hour! Something I had planned to do tomorrow which was no longer possible as our train left before the post office opens. The hostel had told me it shut at 6pm but it was open till 8.30pm!
So I made a super rushed trip back for my bag of stuff to post, this involved me running for a local bus (35 to Robinsons Dept Store, 7 baht) and then running from the bus to Glur. Grabbing my stuff and running for a tuk tuk. I got there just as they were shutting the doors but they let me in!! Yay.
Let me explain. I had packed my bag and omitted more items (read here about my packing reduction) and I had planned to post the items home tomorrow before the night train. Anyway I was super glad I made it on time because I didn’t want to carry certain items with me on my onward journey and I didn’t want to repack again…..
Silja went off on a similar mission to downsize. She went to drop some items at a friend living in the city and I took Daniel out for his first meal.
We had a really nice pad Thai from a street restaurant with pudding from a street stall (fried battered cake thing with sweet condensed milk). It was a really locals place, an experience I would never have done on my first day.
Next up: days forty and forty-one.
Previously: days thirty-six and thirty-seven.