After a few days together in Bangkok we hired a car and drove to Khao Yai national park; a journey of about two and a half hours. We spent a fairly wet day walking in the forest, where we came across leeches, giant spiders, massive trees and weird noises, all of which I am used to but scared my young sister witless! This is a fairly common reaction for first-time visitors to a rain forest, which is a highly biodiverse habitat full of insect life. She very quickly joined the club of “leech dancers” which is a term I use to describe visitors who have a low tolerance for leeches. The dance occurs when the first leeches crawl on to the dancer and suddenly they realize that they have a passenger or two. Then, they lean down and flap at the leeches on their legs, using their hands, whilst hopping from one foot to the other. Some people accompany this with a rather shocking “leech song”, the lyrics to which are something like, “whao, wha, wha, ay, ay, ay, getoff”.
Having discovered that forest walking was not my sister’s favourite event, I decided to take her to Haew Narok waterfall, which in the wet season is quite a spectacle. As we drove along the forest road, chatting away, a car heading towards us flashed its lights at us. No police were likely to be in the forest so I couldn’t really think what the issue was, perhaps it was just a mistake.
The mistake was not taking heed at this signal, for as we rounded a bend there was an elephant in the road! The elephant was a young male, not fully grown but still big enough to cause a lot of damage and he was casually feeding on roadside vegetation. As we were quite close I backed up a little and we took photographs of it. As lighting was not great and the car vibrating from the engine running, our photos were a little blurred, so I turned off the engine to get better pictures (see below) a very silly mistake!