Our Trip to the National Park

  This past weekend Vince and I decided we were going to take a 2-hour trip into the mountains to visit Chae Son National Park.  The park is known for being a beautiful retreat in the jungle with miles of hiking trails, several waterfalls, and hot springs. 

 

Our trip began the day before we left.   We told the Thai English teachers at school of our plan.  They were all full of advice. “Wear your helmet. It’s a serious motorbike ride.”  “Wear sun block.  The sun on such a long drive is very intense.”  “Wear ponchos. It’s rainy season.”  “Wear bug spray. There are many, many bugs.”  “Don’t stay in the hot springs for more than 10-15 minutes and take a cold shower before and after the springs.” Etc.  Everyone loves to help the helpless farangs.  

 

We have a particular teacher out here that we absolutely love. Her name is Pee Nid.  “Pee” means elder brother/sister and they use it with anyone older than them.  Pee Nid is the cutest Thai person I have ever met.  Vince and I help her on a daily basis deciphering the meanings of her English reading lessons.  A Native English speaker did not write her lesson book and many parts of it just don’t make sense, but that’s beside the point.  Pee Nid is maybe around 60 years old. She’s tiny, loves to practice her English, and is always ready to give us guidance.  Pee Nid was going on and on about the hot springs and how she passed out one time when she didn’t take a cold shower after her bath. The next thing we know she chimed in with some more delicate advice. She told us to get a private hot spring room.  In these rooms we could take off all our clothes.  “Go to those ones,” she giggled. “They’re very nice. No clothes. No clothes. Very romantic for you two. Hee hee hee.”  Next thing we know several of the teachers across the room were giggling and telling us,  “Yes, go to the private springs.  They’re very nice.”   It was so funny. I guess they’re getting more comfortable around us.  We just smiled and said, “We’d do that.”

 

The next day we put on our sun block, sprayed on our 40% Deet bug spray, packed our ponchos, and threw on our helmets. It was time to hit the road.  The sky looked at peace, which didn’t mean it wouldn’t erupt into an angry fury of rain at any point given the season.  The drive up was gorgeous, and besides our feet and backsides becoming numb from the vibration of the motorbike we made it up without a hitch.   (Countryside Views)

 

We hiked an hour and a half uphill into the jungle to see the waterfalls. 

 The bugs were insane.  It was impossible to stop moving lest being eaten alive.  We wanted to go further, but the path was overgrown and the rocks were extremely slippery from the never-ending on-again-off-again rain.  Both Vince and I went down a couple of times on the wet rocks.

 Here’s me going over one of the rickety rotting wooden bridges.  In this case it was also slimy from the rain.

 

  Here’s one of the waterfalls.  It’s very difficult to see, but Vince is actually standing on the upperleft side of the waterfall.  It was quite large. Where’s Vince?

 

 

After the slippery, buggy, weedy, sweaty.. though pretty, hike we needed to relax so we headed to the sulphuric hot spring area. 

  

This is the sign for the hot springs.  How many spelling errors can you find?  There’s at least seven.

 

We got our private suite for 100 baht, about 3 bucks.  The private rooms were actually little brick huts. 

  

Inside there was a small hotspring and a shower head.

 

  (“Look.  It’s a hotspring,” says Vince)

Though only advised to stay for 15 minutes we made it to about 45; that did include several cold showers in between.  Alas, the afternoon was setting and it was time to make the journey back home.

 

The gas gauge on our motorbike only stops at about 3 points: full, half full, and empty.  Though we got off the bike at about the half full mark, we started ‘er up at about empty.  So coming out of the national park we were confused about which direction to head in..  Mind you now, this is in the middle of nowhere so it’s very important not to get lost.  About 10 minutes into the drive we began to strongly second-guess our decision. We phoned a friend who asked if we were riding through the rolling hills of the countryside. “Yes,” we said. She replied, “It’s bea-uuu-tiful, isn’t it? …but it isn’t right.” Our thoughts were confirmed. Low on fuel and kilometers from anywhere, what was next?

 

 (Cue the afternoon thunderstorm rolling in)

 

Rain, and a lot of it.  Let me paint a picture for you.  Vince and I, against weather and route, motor biking through flood puddles and poring rain.  Ponchos and helmets on, as advised, putt-putting across the mountainside of the North.  Not another vehicle in sight.  It was like a scene from Dumb and Dumber.    Don’t worry moms, Vince is a very vigilant motor biker in dire weather, and with just a 1/4 of a liter left in the tank (roughly 8 ounces) we did fortunately make it to a petrol station. We also eventually managed to get ahead of the weather and had an enjoyable late afternoon ride the rest of the way home, this time on the sunny side of the street.

 

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~ by The Piersas on June 9, 2008.

5 Responses to “Our Trip to the National Park”

  1. Vince- don’t you know by now not to let Renee give the directions?!?!
    Now that you are both safe, I can tell you I laughed so hard. I can just see it and I can just imagine the “conversation” that was going on between you two when you were lost!
    Mama

  2. It sounds like an amazing weekend! (Minus the bugs, and getting lost and rained on.) And what a beautiful drive! I love your shadow photo too…
    MISS YOU – Mig
    PS: I saw at least 8 typos on that rock, and some questionable “proper english”

  3. It sounds like the travel gods were smiling on you two! The trip sounds amazing, awesome pics too! I love the shadow one, how many shots did it take to get a good one?!

  4. Hi Renee and Vince! I am really enjoying reading about your trip and I am very jealous! What a wonderful adventure you are on and an amazing way to start your lives together!

  5. Hey Guys!! Great blog and pictures. Sounds very exciting and adventerous. That story of being lost is funny…I’m sure it wasn’t then..but at least it will be a good memory. Keep them coming!! Take care..REN

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