Kayaking in Khao Sok National ParkA Trip for the Heart

By Kallum Jessica Englishby - Khao Sok Tour 2007

In April 2007 I was lucky enough to venture to the Khao Sok jungle with Paddle Asia. I had arranged for my family, a handful of friends and myself to take part in a four day kayaking tour in celebration of my 21 years on the planet. The long drive out to the National Park was….long, but was a fun part of the trip thanks to Dave’s back catalog of jokes and limericks. When we arrived at the dock in Khao Sok to board a powered long tail boat to our even more remote destination we had trouble catching the breath that the scenery seemed to have take away from us. Our guides: Dave, Moo and Aew continued like it was nothing special…sort of like ‘you aint seen nothin’yet’. We boarded the long tail boat and started our trek into the depths of the National Park.

It was the pictures of the floating bungalows on the Paddle Asia website that sold me the Khao Sok jungle tour, that and the high recommendations…and the whole kayaking thing. So as I saw the bungalows appear as a modest paradise back dropped by a spectacular jungle I became excited. An excitement that didn’t leave me for the whole trip…and still remains with me now when I think back to the time. We arrived at the floating bungalows, oo ahh’d and squealed over the novelty of living on water for a couple of days, put down our bags and jumped out of our respective bungalows into the Khao Sok reservoir. Brilliant. We then oo ahh’d and squealed over our lack of buoyancy in the fresh water of Khao Sok (interesting fact) then got out and ate a beautiful lunch. Every meal on our stay was succeeding the last with explosive tastes of south Thailand – I think it became hard to decide whether we were waking up for the paddle or the food!

The paddles and treks we went on were spectacular. ‘Crack of dawn’ paddles through the mist, day paddles where you can spot wildlife such as hornbills and the Malay Sun Bear and evening paddles with the spectacular sun setting into the darkness; where the park creates mystical silhouettes – that in your imagination could be anything. We climbed waterfalls, scaled our way through an eerie cave and made our way to the top of a steep cliff face to be overwhelmed by the most amazing view of Khao Sok. Other times were filled with peace and shenanigans amongst a group of people who I’m stoked to have shared the experience with – this includes the Paddle Asia staff - who are a hoot! I learnt a lot from the guides on the trip and shared a lot of laughs with them; I was also spoiled with a birthday cake! Two in fact! Anything that could be done to make the trip unbelievable was done…with a huge amount of love. Thanks for that Paddle Asia!

Not only was it an amazing opportunity to intimately explore such a beautiful place – The Khao Sok kayak jungle tour was hugely beneficial in healing the mind and soul. As tree hugging as that sounds – this feeling of tranquility was obtained by every one of us and remained with us longer after our stay. When you are so far away from the roots of your life and civilization, in a place surrounded by only water, mountains and jungle sheltered by a sky spoiled only by majestic birds and accompanied by a score of enigmatic wildlife you gain a sense of retrospect on your life. Things start to make sense, things start to become simple and you understand that happiness is not in things…it’s in us.

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