Daily Archives: April 20, 2006

Short visit to Khao Yai

I notice there isn’t much written on Khao Yai National Park in here yet (or not that I could find). We, my family and I, just had a two day visit to there during Songkran and thought it was very nice. I would recommend anyone living in the area to visit.

Our access to Khao Yai National Park was through the Northern gate. As far as I know there are 2 gates that you can enter, one in the South and one in the North. All the accommodation within the park was full so we stayed in a Guest House just a few km from the gate, called Bann Kroo. Rooms in Bann Kroo cost us 300B per night and were small and simple but nice and exactly what we wanted. I thought it was a nice place and the owners were good people and I would recommend it for a simple, no fuss place to stay. There are many places to stay outside the park as well as accommodation within the park. However, within the park, the accommodation is often booked out on weekends and public holidays, so it is best to book in advance or be prepared to not stay in the park if you are there on a weekend / holiday.

Khao Yai is Thailand’s oldest National Park and one of the largest. It is not far from Bangkok and contains tigers, elephants, deer, monkeys, gibbons, bears, leopards, buffalo, crocodiles and much more.

Entry to the park cost 200B for me, 50B for the car, 20B each for Kanchana and her Mum and 10B for each of the kids. We drove the car through the park, looking for animals and stopping at a couple of lookouts. It was pretty nice scenery but nothing too exciting at first with the exception of reasonably fresh looking elephant poo on the road.

In many areas I could hear gibbons calling. I found a place where I could hear gibbons; there was room to stop the car and there was a track heading into the jungle. I headed into the jungle by myself to see if I could catch a glimpse of the gibbons. Kanchana (my fiance) and the kids were still quite unsure of walking in the jungle at this stage and wouldn’t come with me. After a 5 – 10 minute walk, keeping my eyes out for tigers and snakes, of which I saw none, I found the gibbons. I could only see one although there was at least three that I could hear. Interestingly I also noticed a nest, similar to an orangutan nest, which obviously belonged to the gibbons. I hadn’t previously realised they made nests. I watched them for a while and took some poor quality photos and then headed back to the car.

During the rest of our drive we also saw deer. We then walked a little around the Park HQ an saw a small cream coloured squirrel and a giant squirrel and heard more gibbons. Oh, also saw a few small lizards.

We also had a chat to one of the park rangers which was interesting. Khao Yai National Park is attached to some other National Parks and wilderness areas, making up a fairly large area of jungle. The ranger we were speaking to worked in an area that made up about a fifth of this jungle. Over the past 4 years he has had various cameras permanently set up in his area and in that time (4 years), they have taken 4 pictures of a tiger. I couldn’t understand enough to be sure, but I think this was the same tiger each time. Hmmm, the chances of tigers surviving in the Khao Yai area seem very poor. Judging by this, there may only be 4 or 5 tigers in the Khao Yai jungle, if that many. There are still poachers coming into the park to hunt for tigers and other animals as well as to take timber and other jungle products (Is this largely for the Chinese market???). There is a considerable effort to stop this, but it has not yet been totally stopped. Just another one or two tigers killed by poachers would be enough to guarantee the extinction of tigers in this region. The ranger said about 180 elephants lived in Khao Yai National Park.

In the evening we went back to the park to do a night safari drive which cost 430B for 5 people and included a truck, driver and spotter with spot light. We had paid for this during the day and so we didn’t have to pay to come back into the park. We saw a lot more deer and a civet. No elephants, which was a disappointment for Kanchana, who loves elephants.

The next morning we drove home via lunch at a waterfall somewhere near Saraburi.

Khao Yai was good and we already plan to go back.

Moving to Thailand – best decision ever!

“Are we making the right the decision to move to Thailand now?”
Just to give you a little taste of what I have been dealing with.

We both are in the early 40s, I have thai-american passport (been in US for 23 yrs), hubby – american, and we have a 20 yrs marriage. We owned a fairly successful engineering firm for 14 yrs. All these years being in the US, we both think we have accumulated quite a bit of acadamic degrees, knowledges, work and life experiences, along with money. At 40 we have finally come to the junction middle point in our live that it’s time for us to move on and to try doing something new which will in turn gives us unique experiences and pleasures.
I’m an architect/urban planner, hubby – an structural engineer. We have a strong interest in design and homes building. We can work on the project all days and all nights without getting tired on it. We did this on our last 2 homes and had made a sizable profit from them. Now we’re at the point that the housing market here is still red hot, and if we could build 1 more home then we will able to walk away with extra few hundreds thousand profit, but the problem is in our area is so difficult or almost next to impossible to get a building lot to build on – the price had gone up so crazy since last year – tripled from the last year price. So we had thought to ourselves why do we want to build and move again – so much hassles in the process – why don’t we just sell our house which have appreciated so much in value since we built it 2 yrs ago, then take the money+savings and move to thailand…..then we can develop the housing over there instead….thus in turn we will be doing something we truly love and give us pleasures so much.

Beside the points mentioned above……We used to think we have a good life and an american dream. But lately there also seems to be something missing in our lives. Working on someone else projects is not “sanuk” any more. It becomes quite a mundane feeling…..A typical day in, day out of getting up in the morning, going to work, then getting paid for the job well done. There is no bliss in life or happiness in doing it anymore.
I read from somewhere that “Happiness” is…
1- Be able to do what you love (follows your passions)
2- Be able to control your own destiny
3- Be able to get helps when you need one
4- Be able to get reward you deserved (materials or non-materials)

So there you have it “my dilema”. I don’t know what is worse, the fact that I took the time to think about the decision, or the fact that I thought it twice, or the fact that I began to understand it the third time we thought on it…..and why do we like Thailand.

All we know is this…. I will miss the USA, the great country (in my eyes) that gives me soo much. I’m sure that In the first five years I will painted a mind picture of how great things were back in the states. But somehow after our recent 4 weeks vacation there over the X’mas, something had happened. We just couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it was. All I know is that…..When we came back to the US we found things had changed or at least changed from what we remembered. Within two weeks we wondered why we had came back and was already thinking of ways to get back to Thailand. What do we miss SO MUCH now?? ….THAILAND!

We know when we move there, it will be an amazing new life begining, discovering new ways of life, food, places, people, and politics oh boy!. The most difficult thing for us to accept are the constant dangerous situations and manoeuvres you’ll see almost every time you drive on the roads, be it in the moo ban or on the motorway. Drives both of us insane! But we know we will have traded off many of our former daily routines for new ones. It’ will be a refreshing experience and making me realize how familiarty can breed a degree of boredom. There will be enough new things to see, learn and experience in Thailand that we’re set for the rest of our life. We will feel like a kid again, full of much wonderment.

So I guess, it won’t all be as boring or terrifying as I originally planned, I hope.

Stay Tuned…for the next chapter of our life.
Thanks for reading my story