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Koh Sok canoeing

sunny 29 °C

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It was time to move on to Koh Sok, a touristy national park in the south. Our ride there via minibus took about four hours from Krabi and cost 250 baht each. For an air conditioned ride, that was pretty good. They stopped to pick up and drop off people all along the way. Sometimes it got pretty squishy.

Once we reached the bus stop in Koh Sok, there was a man with a sign displaying different hotel names. After inspecting it closer, I found ours and he confirmed that guests staying there got a free ride in. Things were going our way again. The Valley Lodge was away from the main road and surrounded by trees. They had rustic bamboo bungalows on stilts along the forested path. They had roofed balconies and a bed surrounded by a large mosquito net. It was very cozy.

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We headed to town to see if we could rent canoes. The answer was no, but we explored the town and found the national park. The tour companies offered two hour canoe trips and the man we talked to offered us enough of a discount that we took it. It came out to 500 baht for both of us.

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They picked us, the guide, and the kayak up in a songtao, and drove further up the river. We passed through a Buddhist cave and a monk to get to the river. Our guide didn't speak much English, but we enjoyed the views. We didn't get the option to paddle though, it was all done for us.
On the river, fish swam, and birds flew around. There were even some nuts and fruits on the trees that they enjoyed eating.

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The vibrant blue kingfisher was a favourite in flight as it revealed its colour. From the front, they had a plain white/gray body.

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Beautiful karst hills and mountains came up on the horizon. Next we sailed by the drunk tourists tubing down the river with their beers in hand. They were friendly enough.

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By the end of the tour, we got to see rubber trees as well, with little bowls underneath to collect the liquid. We made a pit stop to drop off the kayaks at someone's home and our guide hopped out to chat. The family was buying homemade ice cream from a local vendor so we hoped out too to buy some. It was coconut and really tasty. The guide was laughing at us as we left.

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We wanted to visit the park tomorrow, but unbeknown to us when we planned this destination, it wasn't possible to walk more than a few kilometers into the park without a guide. The park rangers confirmed the tour companies claims. They also offered their own guide service and we told them we'd come back after thinking about it. Even after doing more research online at the guesthouse, we got the same answers. It seemed to be a recent change.

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When we went back to find the ranger, he was gone. Our guesthouse owner and the staff there had vanished as well after our meal, so we couldn't book with them either. We went next door and booked with the guesthouse next door.

Posted by Sarah.M 20:22 Archived in Thailand Tagged park national canoe ice_cream kingfisher koh_sok

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