Dear Steemit friends :
If you've followed some of my last few blogs, you'll know that I had a once in a life time opportunity to visit Koh Samui, Thailand.
Aside from the endless stretches of beaches, the island is also home to a largely unspoiled natural tropical jungle at it's centre.
Today, I'll be sharing my trip to Namuang Safari Park, which is located within this large area of forestation.
It would turn out to be one of the most physically and mentally demanding, yet rewarding adventures i've had thus far.
Follow me and let's see how the day unfolds!
Namuang Safari Park is located about 12 kilometres South-east of Nathon Bay. A short journey in the car with some of the best island stretches of road ensure that the drive is thoroughly enjoyable.
Arriving at the park, the car park is shared with these massive trucks which are used to shuttle people to and from various places within the park.
The safari park has several activities and shows, and tickets can be bought at the entrance of the park.
Because of the torrid heat, there are these relaxing roof's all over the park. With such strong sunshine, you'll want to take a break after each activity and rehydrate before setting out back into the sun.
There are elephants everywhere in this Safari Park, I managed to take a few snaps of people riding them as well as a baby elephant with it's mother hanging out in the shade.
My first activity is the quad biking on the ATV.
At first I thought i'd be riding through mountains, mud and puddles of water. I suddenly felt like I was dressed a little bit inconveniently for this activity but since I came all the way here, I thought I might as well just go with it.
This is actually my first time riding any kind of motor bike. Thankfully the routes we took were actually mostly quite reasonable surfaces. Occasionally i'd somehow drive the ATV into the bushes and come out of it scratch-less.
My fears of getting dirty were unfounded. Most of the ride was through bumpy sand and rocks. I did run over some Elephant poop a few times though!
Next up, the mountain tour on these huge trucks we saw at the car park.
Since I was the first person to get picked up, I decided to climb to the top and sit right at the front. A little dangerous if a bit exhilarating.
The mountain tour was a rather quick ride. It mainly goes between the main Safari park, and the foot of the water falls. On route, I was literally grabbing the edge of my seat in complete fear as the truck drove ridiculously fast up and down the mountain roads.
I managed to get a snap of this lovely Buddhist shrine in one of the brief moments it wasn't shaking me around and going crazy on the road.
A very quick slide down the last hill and we're at the foot of the water fall.
Namuang Waterfall 2 (there is also waterfall 1) is the tallest and most formidable waterfall in Samui. The water falls from an impressive height of 80m.
Unfortunately, there is no easy route to the top. Just lots of climbing through what seems like an ad-hoc track.
At the base of the water fall 2 entrance, you can see the sign post pointing which way to go.
A few little huts sell some refreshments which in hindsight I should have taken advantage of.
The environment here is simply serene. Vegetation everywhere, and I can already see some mini pools of water trickling down from the shallow hill ahead.
These footbridges are made with just a few planks of wood, they're not designed for more than 1 person to cross at a time. It's actually a little unnerving walking across these mini foot bridges. On the one hand, they seem sturdy, but then they don't seem to be reinforced with any steel. Best to be cautious and follow their protocol.
All along this early part of the climb, it seems like the route to the top would be quite an enjoyable experience.
A few more huts along the way give me a sense of security that there's people around who can help me in the event that I have an accident.
There's even a cute dog that lives here.
As you can see, I was dressed completely wrong for this activity. I actually didn't think that I'd have to hike my way up, especially on these very uneven climbing tracks.
Can you believe that I'm wearing sandal wedges!?
Just a few minutes into the climb, we arrive at the first pool, and this is my first proper look at the gushing water coming down from the waterfall and flowing into a natural pool.
There are people already having a swim in the pool. The scenery is magnificent, perhaps one of the most idyllic places away from the beach to have a relaxing swim and in the shade from the brilliant sun.
By this point, I had been hiking for nearly two hours. Fighting my way through ever steep tracks, and arduous terrain.
It was a real challenge not only because it was exhausting, but because the terrain became more and more perilous.
I also seemed to be the prime target for every kind of insect and bug that lived in this jungle.
My body itching, exhausted, and mentally on the cusp of defeat, I make one last push through this increasingly difficult hike.
Few people have made it thus far. In retrospect, I'm incredibly proud I held it together because just a few minutes later, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel!
I was quite lucky to have avoided the Dengue Fever. There were a few outbreaks in Thailand at the time, and with so many bugs biting me, I was quite afraid of falling ill. I guess I was very lucky!
Time to enjoy the magnificent oasis!
The first thing I wanted to do was get in the water!
The views here are breath taking. All around is sprawling with beautiful natural landscape.
I lie down on the rocks, and just relax.
I could feel the gushing water droplets touch my skin.
I could stay in this perfectly serene spot all day.
From up here, I could even see the edge of the island and the sea just beyond it.
Below, the jungle extending all the way to the grass plains and a mountain in the distance.
I stayed here until it was nearly sunset, leaving in good time to avoid coming back down in darkness.
Despite facing an arduous descent, I was content that I had overcome one of my greatest physical and mental challenges climbing to the top. Especially wearing the wrong kind of clothes!
This experience will be deeply ingrained in my memory for the rest of my life.
Suffice to say, I slept extremely well that night.
I hope you enjoyed my adventure at the Numuang Safari Park and the breathtaking climb to the top of the waterfall.
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