Hello to everyone once again,  Hoping that life is treating you kindly and you are all very well.Last week, after growing tired of island hopping, I decided on a whim to search for a different landscape to explore. This decision has led me to my most rewarding experience in Thailand so far.

Following a short reference in my bible (Lonely Planet guidebook!), I headed inland to the Khao Sok National Park, a stunning region of thick, native rainforest and rugged mountain vistas.

It is here, by chance, I found accomodation with the most warm and hospitable Thai family you could ever come across. In a small resort of 6 very ambient and comfortable jungle bungalows, myself and a handful of other friendly guests were treated like family, sharing a campfire, deliciious home cooking and many tales of adventure with our hosts.  The owner, being a former jungle guide in the national park, was a wealth of information on the area.

Khao Sok,  established in the early 80’s,  is a huge nature preserve featuring a vast 165km long lake winding its way through the mountain lanscape.  The limestone outcrops protruding from the water were countless, some up to 100m high. 
My days here were busy – hiking through the rainforest to various viewpoints and majestic waterfalls,  swimming,  canoeing,  caving,  night safaris,  feeding the monkeys,  and my favourite – tubing down the jungle river (with the fish biting my feet).  One night was spent sleeping on an isolated bamboo raft house.  Waking each misty morning to the eerie calls of the wild gibbons was another highlight.

As I write I am now in Bangkok in preparation for my journey to Delhi, India.  I have even shaved my head for the occassion.

I figure a couple of nights in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok’s Koah San Rd backpackers district may prove wise for my future journey. Here at Koah San Rd there are beggars,  touts,  taxidrivers and shopkeepers everywhere you turn,  all vying to take as many tourist dollars from you as they possibly can. 
My favourite was an old fortune teller who approached me on the street and began reading from my eyes and the lines on my face.  Following him into a dark, back alleyway we sat crosslegged while he continued with reading my palm and using other ingenious sleight of hand tricks to prove his powerful psychic abilities.  And my future you may ask… well,  he believes I will follow a mysterious work opportunity to England where I will make my home.

In 2009 I will be married, in fact the next time I return to Bangkok will be with my wife. And I will live to surpass the grand, old age of 79! We’ll just have to see about all that…

Anyway, after stubbornly bartering down the exhoiberant fee he demanded I believe he may well have cursed me as well!

Love and light to all and stay tuned for my next adventures – in India.

Paul