With only a month until the final examination, trainees took on more of a leadership role. Trainees began leading the walks themselves instead of relying on the training team to prompt them. Thankfully the unseasonably dry weather had been kind to us, giving them plenty of practice for the time when they will take their own groups of guests out into the park.
Over the last few months, we’ve gained many insights from local guides on jungle remedies they use when hiking with guests. The purpose of these practical tips is not to scare anyone, but rather to inform and show that there’s no need to worry.
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of Khao Sok wildlife is the long-tailed macaque. Troops of these cheeky primates can often be seen squabbling with each other as they noisily leap from tree to tree along the riverbank. They’re used to people and so can often be approached somewhat closely.
Khao Sok currently has 38 resorts; nine of them were built in the last two years and three are currently under construction. This explosion in popularity is mainly because of its proximity to tourist hotspots such as Khao Lak, Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui. But no tourist visits a place simply because it’s convenient to go there…
Khao Sok became a destination in the first place because of its amazing wildlife and friendly guides that serve as a bridge to nature. As the number of guests increases but the number of quality guides does not, it begs the question: how can Khao Sok continue to be a popular destination if no one experiences what makes it popular?
With KhunAnat, who later became Thai Minsiter of Agriculture, our heads rotated in circles as we stared at the swirls of rust and yellow pigment on a 600 foot vertical cliff in front of us. In 1985 there was nothing at all on Railei Beach, Krabi. A few weeks later I went with some friends and slept on the deserted beach, catching crabs and fish to cook over a fire.(Pramoen cooking pic) Even back then, we didn’t think it would last, but reveled in having a natural wonder all to yourselves. Today hotel rooms go for up to US$2,000 a night.