After a few days in busy Bangkok we both felt that some serious nature was in order. For comfort and to save on accommodation, we opted to take the overnight sleeper train south from Bangkok to Khao Sok National Park. Although there are many parks in this area of Thailand Erik was particularly drawn to this one by its stunning lake, dense rainforest jungle, and plentiful wildlife.
Our experience on the overnight train was quite in contrast to our trip in India. To be fair the overnight tickets in Thailand cost us three times as much as those in India, but still a very reasonable $20 was worth it for the improvements.
To start, the western rule of one person to one seat was strictly followed as the seats were actually seats as opposed to benches; furthermore, when they lowered the bunks each one was supplied with a pillow, sheet, blanket, and curtain for privacy.
Although we both slept fairly restfully, only occasionally being awakened by the loud announcements at the larger stations, we did have to be up very early as we were scheduled to arrive at our destination around 6:30am. Surprisingly, the train was quite punctual and we trudged off and circled our way around the many touts to finally find the “local” bus to Khao Sok.
Because there are only a limited number of guesthouses lining the entrance to the park, and even less of them affordable we had made reservations in advance for the cheapest of the lot which was farthest from the entrance, but closest to the bus stop.
Later that afternoon we decided to walk the 2 km to the park entrance only to find that we had been misinformed about the “24 hour” ticket. It was actually a 1 day ticket which we could not re-use the following morning.
We were fairly short on time but if we had had a few more days we would have surely made the trek to uncover the magnificent and illusive refflesia flower that only grows a few places in the world, only blooms for two months of the year and can open to be 80cm in diameter.
Erik assures me that the same flower grows in Borneo, Malaysia so we hope to catch it there before it closes up at the end of February for the rest of the year. We did find a display of the flowers just in case we don’t make it in time this year.