Khao Sok jungle camping: Journey to the Chon Mining area, part 2

Our Khao Sok jungle camping trip continues…

The trail away from the Dton Sai took us through dense forest as our Khao Sok jungle camping trip moved forward.  As we ascended the mountain, we couldn’t help but notice subtle changes taking place around us.  The types of trees were changing.  The colonies of moss, orchids and lichens were becoming thicker and more diverse.  The smells were different too, with sweeter forest perfumes drifting between the trees.

In addition to the flora, the sounds of the forest were changing.  From insect chirping to bird song, there was a noticeable difference.

Khao Sok jungle camping fern

The best sounds, however, belonged to the groups of hornbills that would fly overhead.  We couldn’t see them, but we could hear them from a long way off.  The Great Hornbills were the loudest, with massive wings beating the air like a helicopter rotor.  Rhinoceros Hornbills flew overhead as well, making gentle creaking noises in addition to the whoosh from their wings.  Finally, every now and then a family of gibbons would start singing, and their song would echo through the forest.  These bursts of gibbon song would almost always prompt a rest and water break!

Khao Sok jungle camping Lantern Flies
Khao Sok jungle camping team
Khao Sok Jungle Camping - old road embankment

As we returned to the river, we made another very interesting find.  It was an old road, disused for decades and completely overgrown, but obviously man made.  This used to be the road to the Meuang Chon mining area, our guides told us.

As we continued our Khao Sok jungle camping trip, we crossed this road often.  Soon, we began to see old stone foundations built alongside.  Sites of homes and small villages, now long gone.

Nam Dtok Pan Met – The 1,000 meter waterfall

Khao Sok national park - Khao Sok jungle camping

Eventually, increasingly difficult terrain forced our party out of the forest.  The only way to continue our Khao Sok jungle camping trip was back along the river.  Like the trail along the river, the trail here was also growing more difficult.  We continued along merrily, however, enjoying the sun and breeze, until we rounded a bend and stopped dead.  In front of us, the mountain was rising in a seemingly never-ending waterfall.  This was Nam Dtok Pan Met, the 1,000 meter waterfall.  After a scouting trip into the forest, we determined that the waterfall was the only way forward.

We enjoyed a swim in the emerald water, a snack of trail mix, and a good stretch, then began climbing. Like the first waterfall we tackled on this Khao Sok jungle camping trip, the rock provided excellent footholds. Unlike that waterfall, though, the rock face was steep, with certain spots verging on impassable. In a couple spots a safety line was needed. It was hot, grueling, and dangerous going. Every meter forward took us a meter higher, and a misplaced foot could send rocks tumbling down on friends below.

Khao Sok Trekking Climb - Khao Sok jungle camping

We made it in the end, hauling ourselves, hot, sweaty and triumphant, over the lip of the falls. Looking out over a sea of forest-clad mountains, we shared a view enjoyed by precious few in recent times. This would have made a picturesque camp site, but we had ground to cover still. So, after hefty swigs of water with Oral Rehydration Salts, we continued.

Khao Sok jungle camping

Onward

According to our GPS, we had ascended close to 800 meters, all on the bare rock of the waterfall.  Now, we headed back into the forest, which was as wild and untamed as ever.  The rest of the day’s walk brought us into sporadic contact with reminders of the area’s past.  We crossed the old road many times, and came across more stone building foundations.  Additionally, we began to find rusted bits of machinery, such as pipes, and gears, as well as ancient disintegrating tires.

We arrived at a picturesque spot at the base of yet another waterfall.  Everyone was relived to learn that this was our home for the second night of our Khao Sok jungle camping trip, and began setting up camp.  The water in the emerald pool was chilly, but refreshing.

Best of all, was the waterfall, which pounded down from on high in a narrow chute. This chute turned out to be the perfect natural massage tool. We took turns sitting under the water, letting it beat the soreness and aches out of our backs and shoulders.

Khao Sok jungle camping

Camp made, baths taken, we enjoyed a delicious dinner of canned curries, rice, and trail mix. Then, with hammocks hung over bare rock, and the sounds of the waterfall in our ears, we slept.

The final push to Meuang Chon

A light breeze and gibbon song ushered in the second morning of our Khao Sok jungle camping trip.  Up and about shortly after first light, we broke camp quickly in high spirits: we would make it to Meuang Chon today!

The river was too dangerous from this point onward, the rock faces too steep. Therefore, we headed into the forest. As thick and wild as ever, the jungle nevertheless revealed relics from a time long gone. We came across more machine parts and rusted piping, even the massive body of some ancient boiler.

Khao Sok jungle camping

At one point, as we followed the course of a small stream, we came across an old dam and sluice gate. Covered in moss, and invaded by creeping vines and tree roots, the dam had been reclaimed by the jungle. With little imagination, we could see people living here long ago.

Khao Sok jungle camping
Khao Sok jungle camping

Their simple huts would have been clustered around this key piece of infrastructure. The water controlled by the dam and sluice would be used to aid their search for tin ore. They would find food from the forest: fishing in the stream, hunting among the trees, and foraging in the leaf litter. A quiet, perilous, and wonderful existence, we all agreed.

We were pushing our way through a particularly dense bit of jungle, when, with no warning whatsoever, the jungle ended. Suddenly we were standing at the edge of a sprawling plain. It was surrounded by impenetrable forest, and dotted with stunted trees and strange, rusted shapes. This was the goal of our Khao Sok jungle camping trip: we had arrived at Meuang Chon.

Khao Sok jungle camping

To be continued…

Not sure how we got here?  Check out part 1!

Are you looking for your own, unique Khao Sok jungle camping adventure?  If so, be sure to check out our other blogs, like our Top 3 Khao Sok hikes, and our Top 6 Activities in Khao Sok National Park!

You can find the full activities list on Riverside Cottages website. Once you’re here, our staff will make sure you make the most from your time!

Find your perfect Khao Sok accommodation and dare to build your Khao Sok jungle adventure!

2018-11-16T18:10:19+00:00November 22nd, 2016|Categories: Everything Else|Comments Off on Khao Sok jungle camping: Journey to the Chon Mining area, part 2
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