Ok so after a day of cinema fun in Bangkok we thought we better get back on the road again. We took the flashy sky train to the most northern stop, then in sweltering heat walked to the bus station where we caught a bus to Prachin Buri, the jumping off point for Khoa Yai national park.
When we arrived we were a bit bemused as there was no one around fighting for our business, we were on the main street, not a westerner in sight and utterly clueless at what to do next. It seems as soon as you go north of Bangkok tourists aren't the be all and end all, which was quite refreshing really. After trying to talk to a few people (language barrier proving a problem) we wondered down the street and found a shared taxi/bus (full of school kids) that would drop us off at the gates of the national park. It did as promised, but once there the visitors centre wasn't for another 14km. Our options were to buy a ticket (400B each) and try and hitch, hire a moto or walk. None that appealing especially as it was gettng dark and we had no definite accomodation once we were in. So we decided to walk back along the road trying to find a cheap place to stay for the night. After walking about 2km, past a few sparsely scattered buildings we found 'Western Rider lodge', a strange themed motel like place.
The western theme was pretty popular along this stretch of road, we ended up in the 'western steak house' (the only customers), after the waiters got over their suprise that they had customers we both ordered beef steak. When it arrived it came with a chips, veg, salad and obviously a side order of toast! After a strange and somewhat hard day the toast was the icing on the cake and we both collapsed in to a fit of giggles, literally crying in to our food. Laughing that hard is surely the best feeling in the world!
The next day we left with the intention of walking back to the park gates then hitching a ride to the visitors centre, but as luck would have it a lovely Indian man named Shareed was also staying at 'Western Rider Lodge" and offered us a lift. Hurrah! He was here on business having spent yesterday with the princess of Thailand and the minister of agriculutre and was spending the weekend at Khoa Yai looking for a rare bird (a keen bird spotter/photographer). We were very lucky to have met him as he drove us all the way to the camp site, gave us yummy mangos he'd been given by the princess and taught us a lot about the different birds.
Once at the camp site we hired and pitched our tent then went on a trek through the jungle to the waterfalls. It was fun at first until the first leech clung on to me through my sock, was only dinky and felt a bit like a mosi bite and we managed to get it off pretty quickly but it made us pretty paranoid about anything touching us anywhere! We jumped and squeeled our way through the jungle, getting about 9 leeches between us. EWWW! The waterfalls were just lovely though, couldn't swim in them though as i reckon we'd get leeches in places a leech should never go..
That night we ate yummy Thai food in the camp site restaurant, dodged monkeys hanging around our tent and tried to have an early night. How ever we kept finding leeches in our tent, they had obviously clung on to our bags/clothes, no where is safe from the leeches in this jungle! Just as we were nodding off i decided to turn the torch on and have one last check for leeches, lucky i did as i found one dangling between heads, suckers ready to go! Needless to say i had a pretty restless night.
Next morning we packed up and started to walk, our plan was to go to the town at the bottom of the park, about 50km away. So with thumbs out we trudged along. Luckily we got picked up pretty quickly, 3 rides and 2 hours later we were just where we wanted to be and getting on a bus to the Thai/Cambodian border...