Bangkok has been a difficult place to be this week and last — an attempted coup, violent protests, corruption on both sides; and on a more personal level, poor organization and communication from my school about participating in a general strike one day and then working the next, despite the university’s closure.
Casey and I talked on Tuesday about maybe escaping to Khao Yai, a national park, for a day trip, but we weren’t sure about transportation or what to do once we got there. Lucky for us, Casey’s co-teacher, Kelly, was listening to us discuss possible plans. He told us about an awesome waterfall that’s only about an hour and 45 minutes away from Bangkok and got so excited about his fond memories of it that he offered to take us the next day!
So on Wednesday morning, I threw on my swimsuit, some shorts, a t-shirt, and my runners, and I made my way via two train systems and a taxi during rush hour to Casey’s apartment, where Kelly picked us up in his car. We drove for just under two hours (about 110 kilometers/68 miles northeast of Bangkok) and arrived at the Sarika Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From the parking lot, we could already see the beautiful cascading falls. The weather was perfect — not too hot, quite dry, and not a cloud in the sky.
We visited three levels of the falls:
1. the bottom: lots of cute kids playing and splashing in the flowing stream
2. the middle: the biggest vertical drop flowed into a big, beautiful pool that was great for swimming; we also found rocks to scuttle around on and jump off of!
3. what we called the “top”, but was clearly not the top of the mountain; we had to sneak past a security guard who was really doing a terrible job of guarding the pathway up the mountain. There was a sign written in Thai that we assume was telling us not to go beyond that point, but we decided that we’d quietly scurry up and plead ignorance if caught. Luckily, our friend never noticed us.
This part of the waterfall was super fun. We jumped off the falls into the pretty lagoon and chilled out just above the big drop. Jumping, by the way, is easier said than done. Kelly did it first, no problem, but Casey and I needed a little coaxing. You know the maxim “Do one thing everyday that scares you”? Well, we checked that one off the list for Wednesday. The fish in the water there were the same fish that one would find in those fish spas where the little fish eat all the dead skin off your feet. So we got free fishy pedicures because as soon as we put our feet in the cold water and stood still, a bunch of fish would swim up and start nibbling our toes and heels!
The scenery from Sarika Waterall was so beautiful and exactly what we all needed. (Also, I failed to snap any photos of them, but we saw more varieties of butterfly than I’ve ever seen all in one place!) Once outside Bangkok, we could step back and realize that we do love Thailand and that we’re very lucky to be able to live here. There’s really nothing like being beaten over the head with tons of water spilling from a mountain stream or jumping 10 meters into cold freshwater to feel refreshed! And hanging out all day with amazing people doesn’t hurt either.
For Casey’s blog post about our fun day, click HERE!