Last weekend I had the pleasure of getting out of the town with three new friends one of which has a car and access to a family home adjacent to the Khao Yai National Park.
A two and a half hour drive northeast of Bangkok the park boasts many beautiful trails for hiking, rivers and streams for kayaking and rafting and safaris for spotting asiatic elephants, monkeys and a plethora of other wildlife. The surrounding hills boast several organic farm retreats, vineyards and resorts – oh, and some nice looking countryside.
My friends and I arrived late Friday night, cracked open a bottle of wine, and to my surprise started jamming. I had no idea prior, but my newfound friends were not only all musically inclined but rather talented musically. And here I was, the music teacher, with no instrument at a weekend of jamming.
My friend’s family home was built on an old jackfruit orchard. When his family bought the land they had to keep it registered as an orchard so they built the house around a large jackfruit tree. The neighborhood was quiet and peaceful, surrounded by a large temple and chedi and the misty Dong Phaya Yen mountains.
After a leisurely Saturday morning of making pancakes and playing folk songs we hit the park for a hike and a swim in one of the many waterfalls. As it is rainy season the trail was heavily infested with pretty eager leeches. Our host for the weekend suggested that the best way to deal with leech bites is to let them stay on you. Once they’re finished with they’re business they usually spit an anti-coagulant into the wound and it doesn’t bleed as much. Needless to say, we had a lot of opportunities to try out more than one method to leech warfare.
As we are in the middle of the rainy season, and it has already been an exceptionally wet one at that, the waterfall’s current was too strong for swimming. The flooding around northern Thailand is getting increasingly worse, people fear for what is to come in the month left of the wet season.
I will definitely be returning to Khao Yai to explore the kayaking and camping options as each trail head hosts a well-equipped camping ground, although you’ll have to deal with these curious fellows though…