Afer the two days we spent at Sam Roi Yot National Park, we rode a bit north and, after passing by Hua Hin city, we arrived at the entrance of Thailand's biggest National Park, Kaeng Krachan, which is located right along the border with newighbor Myanmar. After the previous days when water, limestone formations and caves were all that dominated our views, we changed to a completely different environment. One would think that we had drove hundreds of miles away, but in fact we were barely 100 km away, yet the nature around us told a completely different story, and received us with lush forests and thick canopies, populated by multitude of autoctonous species, such as white handed gibbons or elephants, to name just 2 that we could see, wild in their habitat, the same day we arrived. The dominant element was now, without doubt, the magnificent, beautiful trees of the rainforest.
|The tallest of them all, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Pride and beauty, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|The red intruder, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Watch over, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
Originally our plan was to overnight at the top of the mountain, deep inside the park, in Panoen Thung campsite, but we arrived a bit late and the muddy road was already closed, so we rented a tent and stayed that night at Ban Krang camp instead, the last camp accesible by paved road but already deep inside trhe park perimeter. The camp consists of a small visitor center, a restaurant and a mini store, toilets and a gentle meadow, all surrounded by a transparent stream and the dense, endless rainforest. It was early evening, and the golden light of the setting sun gave everything around us a magical vibe. I walked down to the crystal clear stream and let my legs stroll as my camera stuggled to keep up with so much beauty.
|Layers of reality, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Still waters, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Inversion, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Puddles of light, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
The one thing most people come to Kaeng Krachan for, apart from butterfly and bird-watching, is to see the so-called "sea of fog" that spreads throughout the forest every morning in the cold season (December to March). So we woke up before sunset, excited to see this phenomenon, took a pickup that drove slowly up the winding, tortuous road, until one hour later we reached Panoen Thung, the campsite on top of one of the mountains that surround the park and that offers spectacular views of the valleys, hills and forests that extend all the way to Myanmar. We waited a few minutes until the sun rose in the East, and the dark night soon started to fade away, the newborn light subtlely revealling the shapes and volumes of the world. We were told that that was not a particularly misty morning, yet we were in awe nonetheless, eyes wide open, seeing how the forest awoke.
|Sunrise over Panoen Thung I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sunrise over Panoen Thung II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sunrise over Panoen Thung III, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sunrise over Panoen Thung IV, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sunrise over Panoen Thung V, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sunrise over Panoen Thung VI, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
|Sunrise over Panoen Thung VII, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|
The cold temperatures increased, the trees slowly grew more and more colorful, and as surreptitiously as the clouds of fog dissipated, our short trip came to an end. Another year had passed, but for a fraction of a second, as I stood on the top of the mountain, looking down upon the ocean of drifting mist, I felt like time had frozen, as an old, monochrome photograph, anchored in the past.
|Forest offering, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm|