In the Southern part of Thailand, close to the Malaysian border lies a unique park named Pa Phru To Daeng. The parks general territory is 192 square kilometres.
Part of the reserve is equipped to visit, as well as for training. You can get here Sungai Kolok reaching (Sungai Kolok), by train from Bangkok or Surat Thani Hatyay , and of course the bus. Furthermore, Sungai Kolok is accessed by Malaysia. The easiest way to get to Kota Bharu (Kota Bharu), and then by bus to Rantau Panjang.
Our stay at this forest was part of Thai visa extension . From Hat Yai we went on a minibus ticket cost him 180 baht, and estimated travel time was about 4 hours. In windows, small villages with wooden houses, fields and cows replaced provincial towns with one-story concrete buildings, shops and stores. At some point, there was a feeling that vehicle crossed the border and now we are in another country instead of Buddhist temples – modest mosque;girls and women in long skirts or pants and beautiful scarves – hijab; men in long shirts.Overall, we were in a Muslim world in Thailand. What was unusual was the fact that on the highway, we often come across posts to the military, which was stopped a couple of times our minibus and looked inside. And the matter is that political instability in the region.
The driver at the entrance to the city, asked where we eat. Reply something sensible was not possible, since the location of hotels and their presence in Sungai Kolok was we do not know. It turned out that there is no bus station and the driver stops on demand. We landed on some street, showing the direction to the hotels. Externally liked “Tailiang Hotel”, although unsmiling hostess greeted us with a flat face. Desire to see the room was greeted with the phrase: “The room is good” – and no one thought his show. We did not understand, to laugh or cry, and repeated that want to see the room before you take off. Conferred with a little helper, hostess took photos of two numbers: “Phone pictured left – with air conditioning and costs 400 baht, and pictured right – with fan – 300 baht. Choose “. We finished, taken aback, but remembering view other hotels, agreed and paid for a room easier. Climbing up to the fourth floor, all doubts were dispelled – the room is fully consistent with the photos.
Rested a bit and taking a shower, we went in search of dinner. The streets around the hotel were some empty and lifeless, just out of the center could be heard loud music and shouting. Close to found a great big dining room where local dining. Host we loved – he was constantly smiling and joking with visitors. Here on the sample we ordered tom yam. Portia was just great, and the soup is delicious and extremely sharp. But with the help of rice, cold water and coconut milk – we overcame it.
At dawn we were awakened by the rattling cars and mopeds. Those streets that night seemed empty, now revived, and after the clock was only 6 am. We quickly had breakfast and went to the mysterious forest. The city was wrapped in mist and was somehow even chilly.But despite this there is already full seething life and was an active trade in the markets.
We crossed the railroad and soon found themselves on a deserted road, which would lead to the office of the reserve. On the road met a strange gray building, which turned the farm growing edible birds’ nests. Something like we saw in Surat Thani , but not on such a scale.More people’s homes changed plantations, and then by the forest. Closely surrounded by trees to the road and seemed about to engulf her.
According to some reports, it was possible to visit the forest from 8:00 to 16:00. A sign at the entrance saying the same thing, but a security guard told us that before 9 am will not miss.
Located across from the office training center, which is currently not operational. We quiver around and came back at the appointed time. To go to the office it was necessary to leave your passport at the entrance guard, though only one for two. Reserve Officer issued a small booklet describing the forest and pointed out the location of the entrance gate. Before leaving, he asked how we got here and was very surprised to learn that way from Sungai Kolok has been done on foot. (Residents of Thailand, according to our observations, generally do not walk.)
So we stepped onto the wooden walkway, surrounded by water.
Forest surrounded us and felt his moist breath. Everywhere heard the rustling of leaves, trees with birds chirping could be heard, and underfoot and then slipped lizards. In the water flashed silhouettes of fish and the sound of lapping diving frogs. See themselves inhabitants of this mysterious forest was almost impossible. Trunks and branches of trees so tightly wrapped around the track, leaves closed up so tightly that even the sun could not penetrate here. In vain were all attempts to see birds or small animals. Still, we are strangers here and our presence only scare unknown inhabitants.
So we wandered along the paths, listening to the sounds of the forest and photographing.Somewhere in the middle of the road came across very tall observation tower. Path leading to it pretty dilapidated, but it did not stop us. Slowly, holding the remains of tree trunks and handrails, we got to where the rig had to climb up a narrow metal ladder to the top. flight after flight we climbed the middle of the forest, as if the trees. observation deck was above treetops and our view of the extraordinary expanse of open forest. Only with such a height we could see a family of monkeys deftly jumping from branch to branch.
The sun was at its zenith when the walk around the park came to an end and we went out on the track. Forest began to retreat from the road and no longer exists saving shade. Now the whole force of the southern noonday sun fell on travelers and their bodies melted. But here in front of us there was a pickup and the driver pointed to the body. We were saved – a fresh breeze seemed breathed new life our bodies.
Sungai Kolok In the meantime, the markets have long ceased to operate, and the inhabitants preferred to hide in the shadows of shops and houses. All the streets were in a hurry as the old pickups for new goods and fuel to the border. And we were going back to Hat Yai by rail. However, today the station was closed and no trains in the city came. We had to go by minibus.