The rain, the caves, and the spiders
Have I mentioned before I'm the godess of rain? I'm sure I did. But repetition is the way, right? So the Night Safari was booked, but the weather said „No.“.
We met for dinner with Pim (an older guy from the Netherlands who agreed to be my second for all those activities I had planned as they (the resort) required at least two people to sign up to make it happen), and already during the dinner, I senced a storm approaching. Naturally, half an hour before we were to head to the jungle, the hell broke loose and it started raining and storming like crazy. So there was it for a Night Safari that evening. What can you do..
So what we did was we stayed at the restaurant and enjoyed a few more beers and fruit shakes. And cuz the wild animals of the jungle were taken from me by the weather, I decided to document the wild animals that decided to join up at the restaurant.
However, we were told that the weather at Khao Sok should have nothing in common with the weather at the Cheow Lan Lake as it's quite far away from here. That was a news to me, but nevermind.
We were picked up before 8am and transported by a truck to the actual mini van. I should probably mention that up to this point I was still naive enough to think there would be just the three of us from our resort (one German guy joined us). The reality of „unless you hire a boat yourself just for yourself, there's nothing private anymore“ became clear soon enough.
Whatever truth I discovered that day was, however, nothing compared to the discovery of the driving style of the mini van drivers. During that hour the trip took, I made complete peace with my life and I was prepared to die, as I strongly believed we would. That. Was. Insane. Beyond insane. Going some 150 in the wrong line (cuz in the correct-left line was a slower bicycle/moped/car/another mini van) up the hill and just blowing the horn so the cars coming in the other direction would know we were coming and clear the way... well, life/death experience.
By a miracle, we managed to get to the National Park and the pier, boarded the long boat and took off. The hour long trip on the lake was already quite something.
We arrived at this place with huts and a restaurant and many many more long boats. Had a break to swim or relax, then the lunch was served (there I discovered I have to be careful with the chilli) and then we got on another boat and headed to the center of the island by the river.
We got off shortly and there the walking started. It was quite an easy hike, once you decided to walk through the rivers instead of trying to cross them with dry feet. One thing I didn't understand considering it was made clear to us we would swim through parts of the caves. We would get all wet anyway so what's the point in jumping from stone to stone to avoid the river?
Before entering the caves, we took a little break, left our drinking water and sunglasses there (we were going to pass by the same spot on the way back), packed our cameras into the water-proof bags (eternal thanks to our guide from carrying both of my cams through the caves, he had a nice funny story for his fellow guides) and put our head lights on.
There he told us there are spiders in the caves.
There I remembered my claustrophobia.
Then we went in.
We went through large caves and smaller caves, walked on dry land and through river, all only with the light of our head lights. It was simply amazing. We had to swim through deeper parts and, the best of it all, we had to climb up a waterfall through a narrow corridor only with the help of a rope put there for the exact purpose. My claustrophobia was screaming in my head, my arachnophobia screaming the back vocals in case a spider would appear, but I was having the time of my life.
We climbed up to the largest caves and then the spiders came. And strangely, the arachnophobia in my head probably passed out quickly, I wasn't as terrified as I expected I would be. I mean, I wasn't getting unnecessarily close to the spiders, but I didn't run away screaming either. And even when walking through the caves and noticing the many little movenemts on the ground and across my feel, I didn't scream and run. I was just feeling a little uneasy, but that was it. And when the bats started flying by, I felt completely fine.
Obviously, due to the minimum of light and my cameras being safely packed, I couldn't také any pictures in the caves.
When we got out, we rested for a while again and then headed back, picked up our things and stopped at one of the largest trees.
At the pier/huts place, we had some fruits and thai sweets (Those. Were. Amazing.), time to relax and then we got on the long boat again and headed back for the mainland.
The trip back was as insane as the one in the morning, but once again, a miracle happened and we all survived. We got back to our resort around 7pm, had a dinner and that was about it that I had any energy left for. It was an amazing day and I promised myself I will come back to those caves and do it again.