Lots of people enjoying another beautiful day in Istanbul, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

We saw a lot of interesting stuff!

A busy day yesterday as we did a full day tour into Thailand's Khao Yai National Park. 

We had read that the full day tour can have as many as 15 people on it, but you are separated into groups of 5, so it feels like you're on a small group tour. We had a younger guy from Germany, and a mother and daughter from France with us.

We left the guesthouse at 8:00am, and wouldn't return until 7:00pm. It was a full day!

The park entrance gate was a 20 minute drive, and then we were to drive another 20 minutes or so to the first viewpoint. But we were just past the entrance gate when our guide pulled over to the side of the road.

"Quickly, quickly, get out... get out!" he said to us. 

We're all looking around, wondering what it is we're supposed to be seeing that is so important. But we were about to learn just how good the guides are at spotting the important stuff! He set up his spotting scope on a tripod and fiddled with the dials before inviting us each to have a look. 

(As always, you can click on any photo to make it full screen. Then click again to zoom in.)

What exactly are we looking at??

Zoomed in as much as my phone reasonably could, I thought I saw a bird in that tree. 

But it was much too far for my camera to take a decent photo. However, our guide took my phone and used the camera as well as his spotting scope to get the following photo...

A pied hornbill.

How he even saw it from the road, we have no idea! But as the day went on, we realized that the guides simply know what to look for.

Scenery along the way.
Now this is more our style!

At the first lookout, there was a monkey who was pretty bold.

Ruth and the German guy in the back of our truck.

This is the same monkey.

Scenery from the viewpoint.

It wasn't long after that we pulled over again and were instructed to get out. This time, it was to view a family of white handed gibbons. Gibbons are not monkeys, they are actually apes. More similar to chimpanzees. Apparently they don't see them every day, so this was a pretty special moment.

This photo was taken through the spotting scope, but it didn't turn out very well.

And this shot was just with my phone.

Although I miss my Nikon P900 for zoom situations like this, I'm still glad I made the change to a good quality smartphone camera.

Our guide also spotted this Indo-Chinese Water Dragon.

And this Buffy fish owl.

The owl actually has a nest near the visitors center, and apparently the nest has youngsters so it's hanging around that area regularly.

She flew to another branch for a different shot.

Up here at 760 meters (2,500') altitude it is noticeably cooler, at 25.6C (78F).

Khao Yai has an sister agreement with Great Smoky Mountains is the U.S..

Asian Water Monitor lizard swimming.


A Barking deer crossing the road.

A big Golden orb spider!

Big tree!

Funny trunk and root system.

A guide with another group came across this Giant forest scorpion.

She proceeded to pick it up!

We did a 4 km (2.5 mile) stroll through the jungle.

It sure is green!

A lichen spider.


Us, at the roots of a giant fig tree.

You might notice the funny white things on our legs. Those are leech socks... to prevent the bloodsuckers from getting to your skin! Fortunately, we didn't see any of them anyhow.

Inside the roots.

We are headed to that observation tower.

Observation tower.

Nice views from up there.

There are over 400 wild elephants who call this park home.
They often bath in this pond, but there were none around yesterday.

From there, we hopped in the truck again and went back to the visitors center for a late lunch that was included in the tour price. We had chicken cashew stir fry. It was pretty good.

We spotted this momma Sambar deer with her little one by the river.

After lunch, we drove to the Haew Suwat Waterfall. There, a bunch of photographers with big zoom lenses were focusing on a great hornbill. Again, he was way off in the distance, but using the scope we got one decent photo. Apparently there was more to the attraction. There was also an Asian black bear up in the same tree. They go up there to eat the figs, which the birds like as well. Unfortunately it was well hidden and we couldn't see it very well. Amazing how high they can climb! I mean, it was a good 200' up there!

Great hornbill.

Green Pit Viper.

What a shot!

Someone asked if the green pit viper is venomous. Oh yes, explained our guide. But not enough to kill you. He said that if it bites your hand, you will experience convulsions. Then the skin around the bite will turn black. You will probably have to have your hand amputated. (We're not sure if he was kidding or not!) But no... it won't kill you!

Then it was down to the waterfall.

Quite a few other people around.

It's a pretty spot.

I managed to walk around behind the waterfall.

There was a small cave that provided an interesting view.

By this time, it was getting close to dusk. The elephants tend to come out around this time after hiding in the shade of the forest all day. We were told we had maybe a 50/50 chance of seeing some elephants during the dusk drive.

Well we didn't see "some" elephants.

But we did see one!

He looks awfully tiny in this photo!

He was just a youngster.
Old enough to have left his mother, but not full grown yet.

Sunset in the jungle.

This male Sambar deer was just settled in the ditch on the side of the road.

Our guide getting a selfie with the deer.
The deer didn't seem very bothered!

We saw a Malayan porcupine. And then we saw four more.

We stopped at one of the campgrounds to drop off the German guy.

A deer in the campground. 

You can rent tents and sleeping bags, and there are cafes serving food at the campground. We won't do it here, but might keep it in mind for the future.

Back at the guesthouse at 7:00pm. What a great day! Tours and accommodation are at Greenleaf Guesthouse and Tours. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend them... a great place to stay and explore!

Which we are doing more of today. Relaxing this morning, but then we are doing their half day tour that leaves here mid afternoon!

Record low deal on the top of the line Dyson V12 Cordless Stick Vac.

And in Canada...


  1. Wow, what fantastic wildlife! Love seeing all the photos of birds, monkeys, and other creatures. Your jungle hike and guide reminded me of Belize, though we certainly didn't see elephants there -- or porcupines! ;-)

    1. It was fantastic, we saw so much in the way of wildlife. Teh, our guide was great at spotting the birds, the insects and the wildlife in general. I guess he has done it so many times now that he has a good idea of where to find these creatures. Lol, nope I doubt that you would find elephants in Belize other than at a zoo!


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