Monday, February 1st, 2016 continued…
Our next stop after the stunning White Temple was to Kothai village where Yaka made a pitstop so we could check out the Buddha Cave Temple. There were some nice views of the water which we enjoyed before entering the cave.
A women who was sweeping around the premises said that Buddha and Trevor are the same. We would find out shortly that this Buddha had a beard.
The temple was full of bats and was dimly lit by candles. We waved to the Monk that was inside as we looked at photos of the King. On the steps, we rolled around with a little black cat that had a defective leg that looked like it was put on backwards. Regardless of his condition, he seemed to get around pretty well.
Once Trevor convinced me that stealing the cat from a temple was probably frowned upon, we approached the Maekok village, and Yaka showed us where locals are cremated. He also pointed out various crops and plants as we drove by them, like fields of pineapples and rubber trees.
We stopped to see the elephants. It made me sad to see them chained up as they were waiting to provide rides to tourists. We did not partake in any. Yaka mentioned that in the evening, the elephants get to return to the jungle where they receive a huge feast and get to play in the water afterwards.
We took a lunch break at one of his favorite local restaurants, “Baansuaningdoi,” where we drank jungle tea and ate a very tasty egg, chicken and rice dish.
Next, we ventured into the jungle and cruised through a tea plantation before reaching the trailhead to the waterfall.
A canopy of bamboo and palms blocked the sun above us as we made it to Huay Kaew Waterfall. It was too cold for swimming in my opinion, but Trevor decided to tough it out and waded in it for a minute or two. We laughed at his reaction to the freezing waters, and a family of locals found it hysterical too.
We took a different way back, and Yaka pointed out the different plants along the way. Some were medicinal, some were edible, and others were very “itchy”. He pointed out the lychee trees in the distance and said that his tribe grows a lot of them. I asked about monkeys, and he said that they used to be around the area, but were no longer since they were killed off for bush meat. He did mention that there were still rodents around, and snakes too, such as pythons and cobras. Trevor could have done without this information. What Yaka told us next would also be categorized under “things your can’t unhear”. Yaka’s brother was bit by a baby cobra and had to have part of his finger removed because of it. Trevor was suddenly very alert.
Once we got back to the truck, Yaka told us to hang tight for 5 minutes and grabbed some strips of bamboo. We watched as he braided the threads to create rings as a gift. That was so thoughtful! In hindsight, I wish I had something besides tip money to offer him when we parted ways. He was an awesome guide and great company.
It was time for our last stop on the tour; we were heading to the hot springs. We were directed to our room which had a tub that was hooked up to the spring water. It took a while to fill up and was super hot, but fortunately there was a nozzle for cold water to cool it down to a tolerable level. It was very relaxing, but I suppose it was too hot to handle the recommended 20-30 minutes because we were cooked! After drying off, we took the 45 minute ride back to the hostel.
After relaxing at the hostel a while, we had a couple beers at Chook Dee then walked to the market where Yaka had recommended we grab a bite to eat. We sampled a few skewers, got waffles, corn on the cob, as well as a few meals in plastic bags, one of them had fish in it and Trevor was grossed out by the odor which stuck to his hands as we headed to the Night Bazar. As we wandered around the vendors and watched a drag show, Trevor was having velociraptor hiccups and started having a sneezing fit the whole way back to 7-11 to grab a couple beers to enjoy in our room. It was a long, fun, and eventful day!
Jump Back to Part 6: Boy Bands, The White Temple & Keanu Reeves
Jump Ahead to Part 8: All Aboard the Night Train
Start from the Beginning at Part 1: Mumbai to Chiang Mai