Majestic Mountains, Mystical Morning Mist & aMazing Mammals
Special Wildlife tour at Cheow Larn Lake
My visits at the Cheow Larn lake can be counted on two hands, yet never have I been so high up North. Departing from Our Jungle House at 9am, our group of eight introduced each other in the van. The atmosphere was joyful as Iat, our guide, outlined the activities for the trip. A small stop at the market in Ta Khun and we were more than ready to hop on the boat at the pier. The hour-long ride on the traditional long-tail boat gives a breathtaking overview of the diverse beauties of the lake.
The majestic limestone karsts tell tales of hundreds of millions of years of geological transformation. The steep cliff, colored red, white and black, is partly vegetated by jungle trees – leaving one to wonder how the trees get hold of soil to nurture their roots. As we get closer to Klong Mon, in the north west of Cheow Larn lake, the landscape changes from vertical to more horizontal. With the lower lands, the banks of the lake transition almost smoothly into deep jungle, providing welcoming grazing places for wildlife such as sambar deer, wild pigs and wild ox.
At 2pm our group head out for the jungle hike – walking upstream a small river. Within the first 10 minutes our hike guide, a national park ranger, points at a huge pile of scat – massive round footsteps right next to it… we needed no translation for the Thai word “chang”. The ranger was alert with all his senses, but did not perceive any nearing danger – so we continued to head upstream. We found more elephant traces along the path and learned that wherever there is wildlife, there are leeches as well. Any creature who walks in these wilds also chooses to keep company with leeches. A fascinating hike through the jungle – truly remote.
We came out of the jungle just in time for an evening wildlife safari by boat, immersed in the color spectacle of lake sunsets. Wildlife highlights were numbers of hornbills and a wild ox. Upon our return to the rafthouse the bright moon rose over the mountains and covered the landscape in a dark but soft blue.