Tuesday, 01.03.2011

This morning we saw (thanks to the lady at the reception) a hornbill sitting in the trees. These giant birds always live in pairs and we could hear the calls of the second one from beyond the river. Even with our superzoom camera the bird is hard to distinguish but we were happy anyway to having seen one of these majestic animals.

After breakfast we picked up guests from other resorts to complete our group of 11 people plus guide. The minibus stopped at a street market where we bought a second head lamp since we would pass through a cave as part of the tour. After we arrived at the lake we boarded a long-tail boat and the actual lake trip started.

The Chiew Larn Lake features an almost Scandinavian looking landscape with sheer limestone cliffs, many small islands and fjord-like bays. In the jungle at the more remote parts of the lake wildlife such as tapir, elephant, marble and civet cat, serow and gaur can be found. However, chances to spot these animals are way better when doing overnight tours to be able to get to these remote parts of the lake.

Our first stop was at the
Tone Toey raft houses - swimming huts designed also for staying overnight. While the rest of the group jumped into the lake we could watch long-tailed macaques cleverly snatching kitchen scraps.


mystical scenery at the lake

Tone Toey raft houses

Catch the thief!

family lunch time

After lunch part of our group decided to stay at the raft houses and to do some canoeing, while we went up a side arm of the lake by long-tail to the starting point of our jungle trek. On our one hour trek to the Nam Talu Cave we saw palm-sized butterflies swarming along small streams and other small animals and insects.

the water is getting shallower

Let's go!

a chameleon

beautiful creatures

giant bamboo

at the entrance of the cave

We followed a small stream coming out of the cave and soon the only light was that from our head lamps. We saw bats, spiders and crabs in the dark. Towards the end of the cave the water level rose higher and higher until we had to wade waist-deep through the cool water. The last few meters we even had to swim so all in all this definitely is nothing for chickenhearted people!

into the darkness

impressive flowstone formations

cave spider

a colorful crab in the dark!


more water to come!

The wading in the steadily rising water was not that easy because one could not see the stony and uneven ground. Unfortunately my already damaged sandal then gave out completely so I had to finish barefoot again. After swimming the last few meters we had finally reached the exit and saw daylight again. Through the jungle we returned to our boat.

Back at the raft houses sweet snacks and some fruit like melon and pineapple awaited us. We dried our wet clothes in the sun and jumped into the lake for a wonderful swim. We could also watch spectacled langurs near the raft houses. The babies of this grey monkeys are orange-colored!

On the way back our guide told as about the history of the dam and reservoir and in the light of the already setting sun we finally arrived at the pier.

evening mood at the lake

That was a very good trip and we almost regretted not having set aside more time for the Khao Sok NP. An overnight trip might have been a good opportunity to even see more wildlife and maybe watch some hornbills.

When we arrived back at the resort our guide told us that one of the Rafflesia was in full bloom at present, and that this particular one had 8 petals instead of the regular 5. Since I had wanted to see one of these flowers anyway we booked a Rafflesia tour for tomorrow. Dinner at the resort's restaurant was delicious with spicy Thai curries deserving their name. =>

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