Wednesday - 17/06
|Joy relaxing on the porch of our tree house on stilts|
|A fully grown elephant which we thought was a baby - everything is smaller in Asia|
|Watching the elephants walk down the river while waiting for our turn|
We ascended to a tall wooden platform and then mounted our elephant, Thong Cum. We sat on the VIP seat while our guide sat nestled on our ellie's neck
|Ready to go!|
Although most things are smaller in Asia, the mosquitoes in the jungle definitely are not! These mosquitoes and horse flies were so big that they were even able to pierce poor Thong Cum's thick elephant skin!
It was then our turn to get the real experience! Roxy was first up to get down low and sit skin on skin with our elephant...
Her skin was thick and the hairs on her neck hair were quite coarse and the skin on skin or should we say hair on hair (Joy hadn't shaved in a while) experience caused a little bit of friction.
But it was just the most incredible feeling to be truly in touch with such a mighty yet gentle creature!
|Elephant trekking Selfie|
|Roxy got a shock when she got her first touch of the long trunk that seemed to have a life of its own!|
|A trainer applying medicine to one of the elephant's legs - he later spilt most of bottle on top of himself - too funny!|
|Our guide unpacking Thong Cum - taking off all the many layers of protective blankets|
On the way back we stopped to look at the Maya waterfall which was just off the main road.
|A curious chicken even joined the group to get in on the action.|
|Joy freaking out as the big daddy monkey crept up behind Roxy!|
|Roxy getting close|
|Acrobatic monkey scaling the telephone wires!|
|Mommy mediating as the kids play and fight|
Thursday - 19/06
Cheow Lan Lake Tour
|Roxy on the jetty before boarding the longtail boat for a ride on the lake|
|Our guides on the tour: front left - Me (our guide-in-training), back - The Boat Captain (at only 14 years old), back right - Em (our charming, playboy guide) and front right - Em's girlfriend|
|Some delicious, Burmese grape type berries that Me picked|
for us to sample
|Fish-tail tree roots|
The jungle was filled with huge trees that created a shaded canopy over our path. The damp leaves beneath our feet left the air with a familiar compost smell as they slowly decayed to return nutrients to the soil.
|Climbing up the steep mountain track|
|An extremely tall tree which was about 400 years old|
We then went to our accommodation for the night - floating bungalows on the lake.
|They may look a little skew but they were quite securely floating on the water|
Once back on solid (floating) land, we boarded our boat once again to go in search of wildlife. Em knew his way around all the little island and we were able to spot monkeys, wild buffalo, an owl and many other bird life. We unfortunately did not see any elephants so Em promised us that if it did not rain that night that he would take us out again.
That night we enjoyed a yummy dinner, played some cards and prayed the rain would not set in. But we were in the jungle during rainy season so unsurprisingly the rain did come. We displayed our joint disappointment to Em and he agreed that if the rain let up for a bit that he would still take us. We waited with in anxious anticipation and luck was on our side - within 10 minutes the sky had cleared and we boarded the boat. We were still a little cautious and once again our sexy plastic ponchos made an appearance. Off we went upon the black water with only the moon, stars and Em's spotlight as our source of light. We were all on the search hoping to spot something wild and big. All of a sudden we saw flickering lights within the black jungle. Roxy thought that it was someone signalling for help but wise ol' Em informed us that it was just fireflies! They created a spectacular display of yellow flickers (nature's very own fairy lights). It felt almost as though we were at a disco in the jungle with all the flashing lights around us.We all sat there watching the sparkles in the trees and admiring the stars sparkling in the sky. Just as we were enjoying the stillness of the night, the light from the moon disappeared and the heavens opened. It was a downpour! Luckily Em knew his way back and was able to navigate us safely home...only a little soaked!
Friday - 20/06We awoke to the most amazing view of the morning light glistening off the lake
Our first activity of the day was a two hour climb to the top of a waterfall. We literally had to climb up the waterfall...
The water was cool and the sandstone rocks were not slippery so it made it easy and super fun to climb. There were points where the water running down the waterfall was just dripping down, at these points sandstone stalactites were formed - quite astonishing!
|Me taking a break|
|Our tour group: Left - the guides; Back - Clara and Nathan (a British couple): Front right - Kevin (Irishman) and Sam (London boy)|
We then made our way to a cave within which we could have a swim!
Joy and Sam hanging from a stalactite!
There was another boat at the caves containing a few scuba divers who had been exploring the depths and darkness of the cave! Inspired by them we ventured as far as we could go into the cave, but were stopped when it got too narrow and too dark!
|Roxy deep in the dark cave|