Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Khao Sak National Park - Surat Thani Province, Thailand

I'm back home now from the 1 month trip to Asia but will continue to update the blog as I catch up on the photos!

While down in the south of Thailand in Phuket, we took a 3 hour bus to Khao Sak National Park to stay there for a couple days. The area is known for it's lush rainforest and large variety of animals, insects, and birds. Apparently there are wild tigers that live in and around that area, although it's extremely rare to actually see them. I was always keeping an eye out though while hiking through the rain forest. :)

We arrived in the afternoon and went for a quick hike to check out some of the rainforest. Although we didn't see much wildlife or birds, you could hear them everywhere. The bird noises were incredible! We saw a bunch of monkeys swinging from tree to tree and I got some video of that, but no decent photos. Those things are so hard to photograph!
Of course love finding spiders and here is one of my favorites. With his legs spread out he was about the size of my hand! I'm having a hard time identifying him. All I can find is that he's some type of "orb spider" but can't find his exact species. Help me out of you happen to know!

Bethany's shot of me holding him on a stick-

Another spider in his funnel web on the ground-

A frog that I spotted during dinner at an outdoor restaurant. The light behind is from the restaurant light-

Bamboo in the forest-

The highlight of Khao Sak was definitely a day trip to Chiaw Lan Lake. The lake is an hours drive from the National Park headquarters where there is accommodation, so most people choose to book a tour which includes a van to the lake, then pack onto a boat with dozens of other people to tour the lake. Bethany and I are always trying to do things differently and avoid the normal tourist way of doing things because it's nice to have more freedom to get the best photos, and also avoid the crowds. So rather than just taking a tour, we rented a scooter and found the lake ourselves. It's always fun trying to navigate though roads in Thailand with the signs in Thai, and no English speaking people to ask directions. Many times we found ourselves laughing with the Thai's as we would try and communicate what we were trying to find by acting out things like swimming, lake, boat, water etc. Good times.
After an hour on the scooter and super sore butts, we found the lake and then began the negotiations for a boat & driver. We paid about $40 for a longtail boat with the driver, for about 3 hours. The price seemed high at the time because it was a National Park, but now that I'm back in America and think about it, it's so cheap!
Most all the tourist boats were just coming in when we were going out, so that was great. We were on the lake past sunset and had freedom to tell our driver when to stop and where we wanted to go. Awesome.
The lake is surrounded by HUGE beautiful limestone cliffs. It was very similar to Guilin in China and Lake Powell in the states.

These are floating bungalows that are only accessible by boat. You can stay in them for about 10 bucks a night, and that includes breakfast. We're definitely doing that next time! All the tourists there were actually Thai people out seeing their own country, which is always nice too see.

Next up on the blog will be Cambodia!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was it a female Golden Web spider (Nephila pilipes)?
- Tina G

3/04/2009 2:37 PM  
Blogger blaine said...

You got it Tina! Bethany actually beat you to the punch... but you got the scientific name in addition. :)

3/04/2009 3:18 PM  
Blogger joshtaber said...

Wow. I was driven to your site by Parker Fitzgerald. I LOVE you work. What's your equipment setup look like?


- Josh

3/10/2009 1:41 PM  
Blogger lisa page said...

I always love your blog and pictures, but number 6 up from the bottom really made me awestruck. So incredible!

3/12/2009 11:05 PM  

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