Thailand
Khlong Bang Khao Phang

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8 travelers at this place:

  • Day6

    Elephant Hills

    December 7, 2018 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    Today we are off on a 4 day adventure into the depths of Khao Sok National Park. Our transfer arrived right on time and handed us a bottle of water and an envelope containing our itinerary for the next 4 days as we boarded the mini bus. We are staying at a place called Elephant Hills which is around 2 hours from Ao Nang with a quick stop at a services where I had to naviagte my way around a Thai toilet. I obviously dont have the right technique as I definately peed on my foot!

    As we pulled up to Elephant Hills, a man opened up the large metal gates and we knew instantly that this was going to be a lovely place. After our briefing on the camp and the days activities with our guide for the day, Pond, we were given a padlock and directed to our luxury safari tent where we will be staying for the next 3 nights. It's absolutely amazing, with a huge bed and loads of cute wooden elephants everywhere, from the stool to the light switches and the walls of the bathroom.

    After dropping off our stuff we headed up to lunch which was Thai buffet style and absolutely delicious. You get so much choice and there is loads of it. As I am veggie / awkward they make me my own personal vegetarian options of all the dishes which is great! I am struggling a little bit with the spice though even though apparently it is foreigner hot and not Thai hot!

    After lunch we headed off to see the elephants which has been one of the things we have been most looking forward to on our trip to Thailand. The elephants were a short 15 minute drive away so we jumped into the safari truck and headed off. There are 12 elephants living at Elephant Hills all of which are retired from the logging trade after it was banned in 1989. Elephants need to eat a LOT of food a day which can be very expensive and following the ban, many unemployed elephants and their mahouts ended up begging on the streets. A mahout is the name given to the elephants keeper. The same man will look after the elephant throughout their lifetime so they grow old together.

    When we arrived Pond told us about the elephants and we got to stroke one of the elephants whose name was Shampoo. 3 of the elephants then took a bath in their big muddy pool so we sat and watched them have a muddy bath. It was then our turn to give them a hose down. Our elephant was very friendly and patiently stood there whilst we hosed her down and rubbed her trunk with coconut husk. She liked us to fill up her trunk with water which she would then drink. After around 15 minutes she got bored and wandered off. Elephants are such graceful creatures. You imagine that you would be able to hear them stomping around but they are so light on their feet (I am definately more heavy footed than they are).

    Next up, dinner time! For dinner, the elephants had an assortment of pineapple, banana and tamrind balls rolled in sea salt and seeds and wrapped in a banana leaf which we got to make ourselves. As soon as it was dinner time all of the elephants were there with their trunks stretched out trying to get a cheeky bite. To feed them you had to tuck the food behind the end of their trunk which they curled over for you. You had to be quick otherwise they would grab your hand as well. They really are strong!

    Saddly that was the end of our time with the elephants. I could have sat and watched them all day. Before we left, we got to sit up on a high platform and watch them mooch around and do there own thing.

    Our second activity of the afternoon was canoeing along the Khao Sok river. We didn't have to canoe though so we could just sit back, relax and enjoy the view which was pretty incredible. Along the way we saw a mangrove snake wrapped around the branch of a tree, a giant frog, lots of fish and some monkeys which was pretty cool.

    Back at the camp we had a couple of hours before dinner so we had a quick dip in the pool before jumping in the shower and getting ready for dinner. Before dinner we watched a documentary on elephants, followed by a Thai dancing performance by a local school. We then got to watch a Pad Thai cooking demonstration before tucking into dinner which was once again delicous.

    Back in our safari tent we tucked in for the night listening to the sounds of the jungle. We had forgotten how loud the jungle could be and were reminded of the caravan we stayed in in the Daintree in Australia. Surprisingly our tent is considerably more secure than the caravan was so I didnt have any concerns about any creepy crawlies getting in!
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  • Day9

    Day 4 - Elephant Hills

    December 10, 2018 in Thailand ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

    With our bamboo sticks and safari shirts (which we got for free for booking online - lucky us!) we were ready for our morning trek through the jungle with Ant. There was meant to be 10 of us but due to various aches, pains and lack of appropriate footwear only 5 of us set off into the jungle.

    Before we could start we had a very quick trip across the river in a canoe. As we walked throught the jungle, trying to avoid getting wet feet in the jungle stream, Ant pointed out various jungle flora and fauna including jungle palm with its dreadlock like fruits, rubber trees in which the locals were collecting rubber and bamboo. The walk was a little tricky in places, having to clamber over sharp rocks and steep inclines. The 3 older ladies in our group found it a little difficult but we were happy to mooch along at the back.

    Lunch today would be served jungle style so after around an hour and a half we stopped at a bamboo hut where a man was preparing our lunch over an open fire. On the fire was some pork and tofu and mushrooms for me (being the only veggie and after he went to the trouble to cook it over a fire I had to eat some mushrooms which wasn't pleasant). They then set about making a coconut chicken curry and a delicious dip for the pork and tofu and showed us how to make it. To start with the man showed us how they traditionally make coconut milk by scraping out the inside of the coconut, adding water and squeezing out the pulp before putting in through a sieve. This would form the basis of the curry. This was then added to a pan with tumeric, thai ginger, chilli (always lots of chilli), kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and garlic and brought to the boil over the fire before adding in the chicken. Lunch was serviced out of coconut bowls which was really nice! After lunch it was a short 20 minute walk back to camp.

    It was then back to our tent for a shower (we were ridiculously sweaty) and pack our bags as our jungle adventure is sadly over. After checking out we were taken back to Ao Nang in the mini bus for another night at the iRest before heading to Koh Lanta in the morning.

    We arrived back in Ao Nang around 5pm so grabbed a couple of Changs to enjoy on the balcony whilst playing Monopoly cards. For dinner we consulted Trip Advisor and decided upon a Thai restaurant called KoDam Kitchen which was around a 20 minute walk from our hotel. It was a little off the main street down a very long and dark side road so not something you would have easily stumbled across just walking around. Despite that it was really busy but they managed to squeeze us in. For starter we shared some roti and peanut sauce, very closey followed by a whole red talapia and pineapple fried rice. Now the name should have given it away really but it really was a whole fish, head, flippers and all. I saw it and thought no way was Simon going to eat that but fair play to the boy he gave it a good go! My pineapple fried rice came in a hollowed out pineapple which looked very impressive, all of which was delicious!
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  • Day11

    Day 11/72: Elephant Hills!!!

    November 7, 2018 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 32 °C

    So. Today we woke up early in Phuket, got a rushed breakfast from a cafe (although reeeally nice bacon omelette) and got picked up by a man and a minivan from outside our hostel at 7:45 sharp. We then drove the 3.5 hours to Khao Sok national park, where we reached Elephant Hills Jungle Lodges (which I booked for Tom's 21st birthday). Having been greeted with a welcome drink, we found our luxury tent (complete with bathroom, shower, electricity and WiFi, but completely open besides a Mosquito net to the jungle outside).

    At 12 o'clock the lunch gong sounded and we headed to get a lovely meal of rice, stir fries and fresh fruit. Then we headed over to the elephant camp. That was where we met the lovely elephants, and we spent the next few hours watching them swim, learning about them, washing them down with hoses and coconut hair scrubbing brushes, and preparing food for them and feeding them! (And also hoping you weren't too close when they decided to throw mud over themselves). It was an absolutely incredible experience; one that we will never ever forget.

    The elephants have one mahout each; the mahout is the man who looks after one elephant all his life. Since elephants live to be about 80-90 years old, they will grow old together. At elephant Hills you can watch the mahout follow the elephant around, and the elephants in turn follow the mahout when the mahout wants.

    These elephants live in the very best conditions possible: open fields to roam in, lots of swimming holes for them to swim in, and muddy pits for them to fling mud over themselves in. They use the mud on their skin as sun protection.

    While we were washing one of the elephants, we could only wash her for as long as she wanted to be washed for, they stand still for about 10-15 minutes and then start to walk away as they have learnt that this is long enough!

    The food for the elephants consisted of pineapples, bananas, grasses/leaves tied into bundles, sugarcane, and their vitamins which had to be hidden in a banana leaf parcel to get the elephants to eat it. The elephants then take the food straight out of your hands with their trunks, and start searching around for more when it's all gone! It was great to see because even if you gave one the vitamin parcel and a couple of bananas in the same trunkful, they'd eat the bananas and carefully drop the parcel on the floor!

    Interestingly (and if you don't want to learn more about elephants skip this paragraph), Asian elephants are much easier to train than African, and have been used in the logging industry for years. When Thailand put a ban on logging due to deforestation, it left many elephants unemployed, so Elephant Hills takes them in and have won many awards for their sustainable and humane approach to keeping elephants. African elephants have 4 toes on their front legs and 3 on their back legs, while Asian elephants have 5 at the front and 4 at the back. They also have a much more love heart shaped head. Elephants communicate to each other using sounds too low for humans to hear up to 70% of the time.

    We were both very sad to say goodbye to the elephants, however we walked 100m down a dirt track and all got into kayaks with a guide paddling us down the river while we sat and looked around the rainforest and the dramatic hills towered overhead. Our guide pointed out all kinds of wildlife- a sleeping (thankfully) mangrove snake, which our guide ensured us was only a little bit venomous, lots of big frogs, a tiny squirrel, and 3 white monkeys! (the monkeys are apparently quite rare to see and on our return to the camp this evening every other group was very jealous to know we had seen them).
    From the river we had an amazing view of the elephant hills of Khao Sok Park, thus named because they look slightly like the humped backs of elephants... The sounds of sicadas washed us down the river.

    This evening was filled with traditional Thai dances from the local schools in the area, a cooking demonstration on how to make Pad Thai (seemingly you should already know exactly what you're doing and put all the right ingredients in the wok in the right amounts at the right moments...) and a delicious buffet style dinner of rice, curries, stir fries, chicken wings (and tiramisu for dessert!!!).

    Right now, we are writing this blog post lying on the King sized bed, listening to the sounds of a tropical rainstorm on our tent, and the sounds of the river and the jungle outside, agreeing it was probably one of the best days ever, and hoping that no mosquitos manage to find their way in.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Khlong Bang Khao Phang, คลองบางเขาพัง

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