Mike visited:

» Thailand
» Myanmar (Burma)
» Laos
» Cambodia
» Vietnam
» India
» Nepal
» Egypt
» Jordan
» Uganda
» Tanzania
» Malawi
» Mozambique
» Swaziland
» South Africa

View a map of his route.

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Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

They say that leeches are a sign of a healthy ecosystem. If that's the case, Khao Sok National Park is thriving.

Leeches Galore

At least thirty leeches attached themselves to my feet as I hiked through the rainforest. I'd tromp through a muddy bit of the trail, glance down at my feet, feel a surge of panic, howl out in disgust, and tear the bloodsuckers off of me.

A Riot of Natural Beauty

Khao Sok National Park is breathtaking with its abundance of plant and wildlife. I've never seen such a riot of growth and prosperity. Nor have I ever heard such bizarre insect and animal noises.

Hidden in the forest are wild tigers, Asiatic bears, spotted cats, elephants, snakes, lizards, seven types of monkeys, and innumerable birds and insects. On three separate hikes through the forest I only managed to see lizards, snakes, birds, insects, leeches (see above), and one monkey. I guess the animals have plenty of room to stay out of sight in this 740 square-kilometer park.

Rivers and Waterfalls

Beneath the chorus of singing insects and birds, the sound of running water can be heard constantly throughout the park. Streams of all sizes intersect the forest trails. Each of my hikes through the park was rewarded with an impressive waterfall.

Plenty of Rain in the Rainforest

When you're in a rainforest, you expect to get wet. But not this wet. I've never experienced rain as torrential as I have in Khao Sok. It would come down as if out of a fire hose and continue unabated for hours. Orlando Car Rental

Elephants in the Rain

A popular activity in the park is elephant trekking. I signed up for a two hour hike to a waterfall and back. It was interesting to hop atop such an enormous, magnificent animal. The elephant was remarkably sure-footed as she climbed up steep muddy paths rutted with deep elephant foot holes.

A monsoonal downpour commenced about twenty minutes into the trek, and it continued for the duration of the journey. Although it prevented me from taking many photos, it didn't dampen the experience.

Animal welfare note: the elephants appeared to be well taken care of. I was relived to see that the place wasn't an elephant jail. Each elephant had a guide that worked with them, and the relationship between them was cooperative, kind, even touching.

Treehouse Bungalow

Most of the guesthouses near the park offered rooms in treehouse bungalows. Besides the novelty factor, I guess this is a practical setup considering all the rainfall.

Stoners in the Jungle

When I arrived at my guesthouse at 9:00am, the owner greeted me with an enormous blunt between his lips. "Want some ganja?" he asked. I told him I might wait until after I'd brushed my teeth.

In the evenings as I chatting with stoned, pseudo-intellectual Westerners with dreadlocks and ear-plugs the size of potatoes I was reminded of something I learned years ago in Amsterdam: unlimited access to cheap, powerful dope is not necessarily a good thing.

Posted on October 25, 2002 10:07 AM


Comments (post your own below)

Hi Mike..
Sounds like you're having a great time. I've been enjoying reading about your adventures. We miss you in Chicago.

Posted by: Suki on October 25, 2002 01:15 PM

Hey there Mikey,

I've really enjoyed your vacation clips. Its a bit like being there myself. I've even shown your pictures to my fifth graders. They're way into your trip too. No worries, I only let them see the GOOD pictures. Although one of my boys wanted to know if the "Ladies of the Night" were your new girlfriends.... Funny

Keep Cruisin'

Posted by: Jason on October 25, 2002 03:09 PM


Will that tailor-made suit help you blend in with the locals? Maybe you should purchase a top hat?

Posted by: Ryan on October 26, 2002 11:07 AM

I don't think your latest video will ever make it to the travel chanel! Lea Ann

Posted by: Lea Ann on October 28, 2002 08:48 PM

Fantastic execution of a great idea. Congratulations. I hope you make it out of old Burma with all your equipment. See you around new years day or before.

Posted by: Michael "Dubya" Pugh on November 3, 2002 08:08 PM

Hey Mike -

My friend Cheryl Dillis in Chicago turned me on to the site - she was your neighbor in Chicago I any rate, I'm planning an around the world trip myself - I've never done any travels of this magnitude before, and one thing I keep seeing in the entry requirements for various countries that disturbs me is this: you must show a return or onward ticket upon this true? Or is the proper visa and evidence of sufficient funds enough? I want to do a lot of travel overland, and I won't be purchasing bus/train tickets until my arrival in whichever country I'll be in...but, it looks like that is a no-no?? Any insight? Gracias and enjoy your journey.

Scott Urbach

Posted by: Scott Urbach on November 17, 2002 03:28 PM

Sounds like a great adventure, I hope to go one day.

Posted by: Buck on March 28, 2003 10:18 AM

I had to comment. This is one of the coolest sites I've seen in a long time. Keep up the good work and enjoy your travels.

Posted by: SkWatch on March 28, 2003 03:46 PM

Comments closed.


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