January 28, 2023
Up 2 hours before my alarm. Shared a job opportunity with a former coworker, packed up the remnants of my things and walked to meet my taxi.
Taxis in Thailand are small pickup trucks where the truckbed has a shallow roof and two rows of seating on either side. Climb in, hang in and try not to inhale too much exhaust.
Driving in Thailand
There isn’t much for transportation safety here. Few people wear helmets on their scooters. Some scooters carry toddlers either riding in the front, back or squished between two adults. Stray dogs warm themselves in the middle of the road.
Passing takes place everywhere, all the time. Someone might honk behind you to let you know they are there and they are likely going to pass. More commonly, someone will be right on your bumper, straddling the yellow line until they have the slightest break in oncoming traffic to pass. A solid center line means nothing.
Drivers will turn into the wrong lane as a way of making a shortcut or allowing the perpendicular rider to turn more easily. It all seems mostly made up as you go. Somehow most of the chaos seems to make sense though.
En route to Khao Sok National Park
I made it to the pier and onto my ferry as scheduled. As I waited for the ferry to depart, a woman came around advertising foot massages for 300 baht.
Two hours on the ferry and we deboarded at Donsak pier on the mainland. We then funneled onto a bus to the main Phantip station in Surat Thani. Once there, those of us not headed to the airport got off and got into minivans headed for our final destinations. In my case, Khao Sok.
Got to Khao Sok around 3, which is an hour earlier than my ticket suggested. After reading all the bad reviews about my transportation company, I’m relieved everything went smoothly.
Khao Sok National Park is a beautiful jungle of a park in the central part of the peninsula. The town of Khao Sok is a small tourist town right at the entrance. It reminds me of a tiny version of Pai.
I dropped my bags at Smiley Dome Camp and walked around town. There isn’t much here (not even a 7 Eleven!) so I walked the whole town in about 10 minutes. From there I walked down to Our Jungle House, the place where I wanted to stay but was fully booked. On my way there I heard a lot of rustling in the bushes next to me. I paused, looking for the mysterious animal to present itself. That’s when I realized they were monkeys! A whole hoard of them, throwing themselves on and off the drooping branches. These were much smaller than the ones I saw in Koh Phangan last week. There were even several baby monkeys!
I saw the mother first, and I was only about 15 feet from her, so I stopped and waited for her cue. As I watched her, more monkeys started climbing out of the trees and onto the road. Before I knew it they were walking right past me without any care that I was there. I got a good video of the moment.