After my visit to Khao Lak I felt an immediate urge to return. The various attractions offered a slower paced, yet still fulfilling trip. As exciting as it is to go from one party to the next I found this was a different type of excitement. There was going to one of the beaches and listening to the waves without any interference. Going diving or hiking and having time to really connect with nature, not feeling rushed like I knew I’d visited a popular vacation spot. There’s bound to be a full schedule behind my tour and the thought always takes a little away from the experience.
While there I couldn’t help being taken in immediately by the wildlife. Other nature lovers like me will share the sentiment. If you visit during the first week of March, you may also be lucky enough to witness young turtle hatchlings being released back into the sea at the Thai Muang National Park beach. One of the park’s prime objectives is protection of nesting turtles and to increase the survival rates of hatchlings. This happens throughout the week. And if that hadn’t made me fall in love with the wildlife, I couldn’t resist the elephants. It was impossible not to be in absolute awe of these giants. These elephant treks are the one of the highlights of the tour programs offered by Ton Patiwat. If you’re the adventurous type, there are treks that take place at Khao Sok National Park forty-nine miles from Khao Lak. On these treks elephants travel through streams and follow tracks close to rivers in the midst of the jungle. Know your limits and listen to them, these are considered the leisurely tours. I was frightened, excited and carefree, and nervous all in turn. For me that added to the experience but if that doesn’t sound like fun to you it’s perfectly find to pass on the elephant tours.
If you spend any amount of time in Khao Lak National Park, you’ll hear of bamboo rafting down the Sok River. Similar in many ways to canoeing, I chose the raft because it would be a new experience. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel that way for long. There’s a rower and two or three people on a raft. It felt like being amongst friends I’d known for years; having met friendly people willing to welcome me into their group. I chalk this up to the casual atmosphere from lack of crushing crowds. Even the other tourists appear friendlier. Khao Lak is no less impressive from lack of flashing lights. It’s a life changing event and it affects people through its subtlety. I wouldn’t have traded this chance to go anywhere else. I love to travel and I can’t pick one absolute favorite. Each place has its own unique presence. Yet, there’s something undeniable about the Khao Lak region that will set it apart as soon as you arrive. I left feeling like a person that had grown in leaps and bounds.