American Thanksgiving being the travel-worthy Holiday that it is, last weekend I made my way down to Khao Yai National Park, about two hours outside of Bangkok, to celebrate with my TESOL friends/family. There was amazing food, amazing company, and a jungle trek- what more could you ask for? The Jungle Trek was nothing of an adventure, however, compared to the journey we had just getting to the park!
The short version of the story, part 1: Wonderful lady in Bangkok offers to drive us to Khao Yai because she has a house there. We realize when we’re almost there that we’re going to the wrong side of the park- park is closed and a 4 hour drive to go around. No transport. Try to see if we can go through with the park rangers, because said wonderful lady is apparently very important and knows the colonel, who comes with us to the park gate. Entry denied due to fear of Elephant trampling. Only option to stay with wonderful lady at her Thai Mansion…
Part 2: Wake up at 5am. Ride in back of pick-up truck (with seats, so the luxury variety) to park gate. Manage to enter park for half what it should cost. Freezing, can’t feel fingers. Ride 2 hours through the park in said truck. Stop for a view, food stolen from truck and persons by monkeys. Evil monkeys. Exit park and attempt to reach the others at the house on phone. Finally get through. Drive 45 minutes. Convinced we’re lost. Enter sugar cane field. Find house full of friends in the middle of nowhere. Relief ensues.
After finally meeting up with the rest of the group at the house, we set off on an amazing tour of the Park (yes, the same one we had just driven through), featuring a 3 hour trek through the jungle and an amazing waterfall!
We headed back to the house, and some of us got straight to cooking our makeshift Thanksgiving meal. Featuring amazing food- both American and Thai, plenty of great music, a bonfire, and wonderful people, this was certainly a Thanksgiving for the books! Couldn’t have asked for a better holiday weekend or friends to spend it with.
Thankfully the journey back was considerably less eventful than the one there. It even included a trip to this awesome waterfall for a mid-day swim!