01 Dec Kraeng Krabang; meet Toy, Annika and Katrina
Since it was almost dark when we made it to Kaeng Kraban, we decided to stay right at the park’s headquarter campground. It is located at the park entrance by a lake. The plan is to get a good night sleep and then hopefully move to the second campground which is located about 20 some miles deeper in the jungle. Unfortunately, one of the rangers tells us that it is impossible to take bikes to that campground. Supposedly, we’d have to hire a very expensive truck to give us a ride up there. Not sure whether there was just a misunderstanding, due to the language barrier, we decide to wait till the morning to ask another ranger when everybody comes back to work again.
As we leave the ranger, we overhear two German girls asking about the second campground as well. It sounds like they get the same story. But they are also told about some “tour” they can take which takes them into the jungle where they can go for a hike and then return back to the current campground for the night.
We end up talking to the girls back at the tents to see what their plans are…maybe we’ll be able to share a ride….that is until we find out we’d have to get up before 5:00 in the morning and we’d have to let the ranger know by 20:00 tonight what our plans might be. Too tired and hungry to make up our minds, we decide to not go with the girls, but wait till the morning to talk to another ranger.
In the morning, we still get the same story, no matter who we ask. “No bikes in the park!”
Since we plan on seeing another national park once we meet up with a Randy anyway, we decide to just take a down day instead of paying to get deeper into the jungle. So we hang out and watch birds and butterflies. We take a short walk around the camp to a swinging bridge, which is missing a few slats and ends up being closed half way through.
In the evening we hang out with Annika and Katrina, the two German girls and Toy, the Thai cyclist. Toy joins us for dinner and afterwards he gives us a big bag of Thai plums to try, which we end up sharing with everybody. The plums are quite different from what we are used to: unpeeled they look like potatoes, instead of one big pit they have several small ones, and they are super sweet.
The two girls tell us about their tiring hike through the jungle up on the mountain, and that we really did not miss much by not going on the tour. Apparently, they only saw a lot of elephant dung but no elephants, some monkeys, and lots of birds and butterflies, which we saw at the campsite as well. While checking out some pictures of their trip and their stay in Phetchaburi, Toy is trying to teach us a few more Thai words…pretty much anything on the pictures from monkeys to flowers. We are trying our best to say them all, but are having a really tough time getting it right. Instead Toy is getting a few good laughs from us trying to say the tongue twisters. At least we are all having a great time!
In the morning, we have a quick bite to eat and tear down camp, when Toy comes by in his truck to say good bye. “Hello my friends!” He says and asks us where we are heading to now. After a short chat he grabs a book out of his truck and hands it to us. It is written in Thai so we are unable to read the title. However, Toy tells us that it is his book. He quickly pulls out a pen, tells us to write our names on the first page and then signs his name with a ” good luck from Toy” for us.
We just never know who we are going to meet on a bicycle, and that is just what makes bike touring so great.