Adventure to the Land of Smiles- Part 2

You read the first part of Meri’s Thailand adventures on Friday, now you have the highly anticipated part 2! Enjoy…

The minivan that picked us up from Kata Beach was sent by Elephant Hills. We had a scenic journey from Phuket through Khao Sok National Park to our destination – Elephant Hills Camp. The campsite consists of 35 luxury tents surrounded by one of the world’s oldest rainforests. We were surrounded by limestone hills covered with tropical greenery. This stay is perfect for different markets, like couples, families, friends and travel groups.

After our lunch, we had two activities planned for the day – jungle river canoe trip down the Sok River and then heading over to the Elephant Sanctuary. During the canoe journey, our guides were trying to spot jungle creatures; we managed to see a small snake sleeping on a branch and different exotic birds. In the end of our 45-minute journey, there was a bus waiting to take us to meet the world’s largest land animal.

The sanctuary consists of 12 female elephants and each of them has a mahout, the elephant caretaker. It was an amazing experience to interact with this animal, I got to wash and touch their skin which was a lot rougher than I thought it would be. I was given some green leaves, pineapples and sugarcane to chop which I fed to the elephant after. Can you believe each of them eat 200kg a day?! It was a great ending to the day and probably one of the highlights of my trip.

 

 

Next morning, we moved on to the second Elephant Hills property – The Rainforest Camp, situated on the Cheow-Lan-Lake, in the centre of the Khao Sok National Park. I loved the views of the emerald green lake and surrounding mountains on our journey with the long-tail boat. The floating camp uses only solar and wind energy to provide power. Each of the luxury tents had its own kayak which you can use during daylight hours. There is an option to join activities like kayaking, jungle trekking, wildlife spotting and lake exploration. I chose to go for the guided kayaking trip where we spotted monkeys jumping on the trees and found a hidden waterfall. After we got back to the camp, we went for a refreshing dip in the lake and then had a delicious buffet dinner which included the local cuisine. I went to sleep listening to the sounds of the jungle and had a good night’s sleep!

 

view-from-my-tent-at-the-rainforest-camp

 

After we finished breakfast, the boat came to pick us up for our drive back to the Phuket Airport. We were heading back to the capital for our final stop on this trip – Arnoma Grand Bangkok. The location of our hotel couldn’t have been better, in the centre of Bangkok, just next to the Central World shopping centre. We got to the hotel late in the evening and on arrival were greeted by the general manager. The next morning, we had to wake up early to make our way to the Railway Market where locals come to sell fresh fish, fruits etc. This market is situated along a functioning railway where the train goes through 8 times a day. It is quite an exciting sight to see the people rushing to grab everything off the railway, just few minutes before the train comes. Then we headed for the famous Floating Market not far from our previous stop. There were loads of boats going around these canals and the sellers were trying to grab everyone’s attention. 5 of us got into the same boat which took us around to see various goods. Most of the group got their souvenirs from that market. Make sure you negotiate the price in there, as they set it quite high at first.

We headed back to the hotel for some free time before the evening event. Bangkok is famous for its fantastic rooftop views and I was determined to find one. I went to explore the enormous Central World shopping centre and through there I was also able to access the Centara Grand Bangkok Hotel. The view from the rooftop pool area was incredible!

 

centara-grand-bangkok-rooftop

 

Our evening plan was to go to the Calypso Show at Asiatique The Riverfront. The tuk-tuk transfer was waiting for us in front of our hotel for the 40-minute journey.

Our dinner was served while watching the pre-show which consisted of traditional Thai dances. The main show was the Calypso Cabaret which was a Broadway-style show performed by Ladyboys. It was a fun and memorable last night in Thailand. The next morning we checked-out from Arnoma Grand and headed to Bangkok Airport for our direct flight back to London Heathrow. This trip was such a fantastic experience, all the hotels/camps I stayed at were spot on and the various activities made everything even more special. I was able to see very different destinations in 7 days – the beach, jungle and city.

Big thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways! I can’t wait to go back and explore more of The Land of Smiles!

—Meri-Katre Siim

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