One of the joys of couple travel is trying something that you would never think of doing. When was the last time you stayed the night in a tree house? When was the last time you took an elephant safari into the jungle? It is time for you to cross these two things off your list. We will tell you how.
Most travelers to Thailand focus in on the double B’s: Bangkok and Beaches. But there is In the middle of Thailand’s long pan handle point south into the Gulf of Thailand are a collection of national parks that are some of the most pristine and diverse jungles in the world. There are nearly 3,000 square kilometers of national parks waiting for you to explore! Bring your bug spray! Our favorite jewel in the national park crown is Khao Sok National Park.
Khao Sok is home to a collection of lakes, rivers, dense jungles and limestone formations that will amaze. Of course, how can we talk about the Khao Sok without talking about the animals?! The rainforest is home to 48 types of mammals, over 300 varieties of birds and…..38 kinds of bats! The park offers guided and unguided tours for animal and bird watchers. There is a host of stunning cascading water falls.
Stay in a Treehouse
One of the highlights for our trip was staying the night at “Our Jungle House” an eco-friendly accommodation right on the edge of the park. The resort hosts many “tree houses.” Some overlook the river and others are more on the interior. Each tree house has a bedroom including bug net for your bed and a private, but outside bathroom. There is running water, however it’s not heated. Showers feel cold in the morning, but refreshing in the afternoon. We stayed in the “Romance Tree house.” Insert snickers here. We thought that was ironic given our relationship. There are houses are on the ground level, but ours was literally up in a tree. It overlooked the river and the sky scrapper tall limestone cliffs dripping with vegetation. While there wasn’t much romance going on in our tree house, we did hear a lot jungle noises and the sound of the water was cleansing.
The Jungle House offers a host of tours and meals. We booked our elephant ride, float trip down the river, and jungle night trek through the resort. Our favorite activity was riding an elephant through the jungle.
Ride an Elephant
A truck picked us up from the resort and drove us to the elephants. Riding elephants sounds like a good idea, until you see how massive they are. Our elephant was easily 10 feet tall. We climbed up a raised platform where 12 year olds helped us swing on a rope onto the elephant. It was a bit unnerving, because you realize just how much trust you are putting in the elephant The kids put a bar across the seat, like a ski lift, and we were off. Our mahout controlled the elephant. He sat on the elephant’s head rocking back and forth carrying a wooden stick with a sharp steel claw on the end. He would yell “hoit, hoit” and a lot of other words we didn’t understand. At one point the elephant merged into the vegetation in protest and lowered his head so the mahout would slide down and walk beside him.
We were told that a mahout trains with a specific elephant for many years. There is one elephant to one mahout. It obeys the mahout through time and trust.
As we lumbered through the jungle, we started up a mountain pass. The ground was soaked and the clay like mud lapped up the elephant’s legs to its knees. We (I) worried about getting stuck because of the muck, but the powerful elephant trudged along. As we made our way up the mountain, it opened to a clearing that literally looked like something out of Jurassic Park.
After we completed our ride with no complications (phew), we were able to watch the mahout wash the elephant down and even reward our elephant with a basket of bananas fed to him by us. The mahout let us get a few pictures with the elephant as long as he was close by. It was an experience we’ll never forget!
Thailand is the perfect destination for traveling couples. Whether you chose the warm sandy beaches of the south, the urban vibe of Bangkok or a ride through the jungle: Thailand has it all! Get out and take a holiday for two in Thailand!