Mulu National Park – Sarawak

Mulu National Park
The picturesque Mulu National Park

 

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Some Images of Mulu National Park

 

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Some snippets of our time in Mulu NP.

 

Well Hello Everyone……we have been in isolation for the last 4 days. Mulu is a beautiful spot, not really even a village, only 1 little mini mart type shop with nothing in it. We did buy some chocolates there but couldn’t eat them, I think they had been melted over and over in the tropical heat and were pretty disgusting. Thank god the resort had a little very expensive shop that at least had some picnic and crunchie bars.

The Marriott Resort there is absolutely beautiful, the rooms are really nicely set out and furnished, very upper market fittings and the bed was like falling into some soft white fluffy clouds. We loved how it is all built off the ground with so many timber walkways. The pool wasn’t that nice though, just a rectangle with decking and umbrellas etc but it was always full of kiddies, I wish these big resorts could splash out and have a pool for kids and one for adults. We didn’t go in it but felt sorry for some of the adults trying to relax there. Of course everything there is expensive, drinks food even bottled water, which we were sneaky and bought it at the National Park for half price.
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
A Prize find for us – Scarlet-rumped Trogon
slim pickings for Bird pics at Mulu
Every morning we would jump on the shuttle bus and go to the park, only about 10 minutes drive, and when you finish at the park the security there rings the Marriott and they send the bus to pick you up again.
The park is beautiful too and really well set out with quite some kms of timber walkways, very easy to walk around. They had a huge bird tower where you had to get the key to open it which we did everyday. But if you wanted to go to the caves it was all tours, and expensive tours, and very regimented, we really didn’t care for that side of things. We could walk to one cave, the deer cave where more than 3 million bats fly out every evening, just beautiful watching them spiralling into the sky. We even saw an eagle take one out.
Tree Hugger Dragonfly - Tyriobapta torrida
Tree Hugger Dragonfly
Dragon & Damselflies galore at Mulu
We were a bit disappointed though as we really didn’t see a lot of birdlife, the jungle here is full of Tarzan vines we call them so it’s really hard to see through them, but we didn’t hear too many birds either and sat up in the bird tower for quite sometime looking too. We did see heaps of different dragonflies butterflies and some really amazing bugs and gorgeous squirrels so it really wasn’t too bad. The heat got to us though and we had to go back to the resort and sit out the hottest part of the day and then head back in to the park around 3 pm but then it was very quiet.
Butterflies of Mulu
There were a few Butterflies 
We didn’t think the people here were very friendly, we did meet some nice barmaids but generally most of them are very sullen and it seems they really can’t be bothered with us. Apparently the resort is only allowed to hire local people and if one gets upset over something they all do, and it seems they have no competition for their jobs so they don’t try to hard.
Bornean Pit Viper
Saw this Bornean Pit Viper on the way out of the Park on the last day.
Always nice to come across the odd Reptile or two

A Common Squirrel feasting
Squirrels are always fun to watch

Red Millipede (Trachelomegalus modestior)
Red Millipede of Mulu
No shortage of odd looking bugs
4 days there was well and truly enough and today we flew to Kuching. It seems very clean and a good road system getting out to our new digs, a big step down from the Marriott I’m afraid,no luxuries here but it’s clean and very close to the parks here. It was great to pick up a hire car again as we didn’t have one in Mulu. So now we are super busy as we have so many photos, a video and emails etc to catch up on. We didn’t have phone or wifi at the Marriott for 4 days, they say they have wifi but it doesn’t work. It looks quite scenic around here so hope to get into at least one of the parks tomorrow and also get some scenery photos.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Mount Kinabalu – Revisited

Mt Kinabalu, from our Hotel
The ever changing view of Mount Kinabalu

 

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Our Digs at Kundasang

 

Well we had a great start to the day, got to the park around 8 am and soon as we paid at the gate we wound our windows down and started listening for birds. After only about ten minutes we pulled over as we could hear some birds quite loud, we got out of the car and looked and looked but they were just behind a wall of trees so we couldn’t quite see them. I was looking through my binoculars and all of a sudden I realised I could see some talons on a tree branch and after manoeuvring a bit I could see it was an owl sitting there asleep and the birds were literally flying around his head and he wasn’t one bit bothered. Maybe he had one of them for breakfast and they obviously weren’t happy. We just couldn’t believe it, what a find, if I hadn’t been looking through binoculars we wouldn’t have seen him. Anthony had to put his extender on the camera to get a good photo as it was quite dark in amongst the trees and the owl was quite a distance away. He is a Barred eagle owl, just fantastic to see.

 

Barred Eagle-Owl

 

We then had breakfast at the restaurant in the park but when we came out all we could hear was noise. They are doing a lot of maintenance rebuilding some chalets, I know it’s necessary but when you are looking for birds the last thing you want to hear is a band saw going. Then we thought we would have a quick tour around the botanical gardens as we have seen a few birds there. But guess what…..they were using those very loud petrol blowers,  Grrrrrrr 😡😡😡 just our luck.
We went on a little hike along one of the tracks and eventually got away from the noise but I was thinking ……since I’ve been taking videos I have realised how noisy we are as humans. As you’ve probably noticed we don’t have many photos or videos with people in them or peoples noises, but it takes a lot of effort, pretty much if there are people around I don’t bother taking videos and for photos we always get up early or get somewhere early if we want photos of things besides wildlife.
I do wonder though what sort of HUM planet earth must be emitting and I’m sure if there’s alien life out there they must hear us loud and clear.
Little Pied Flycatcher
A gorgeous Little Pied Flycatcher
A few more birds of Kinabalu
Yellow breasted Warbler
A very pretty Yellow-breasted Warbler
Bornean Jezebel - Delias eumolpe eumolpe
A great find – the uncommon Bornean Jezabel
Anthony developed a really bad headache so after lunch we came back to the hotel. This Perkasa hotel was built in 1981 and sadly looks like it…..but it’s on a perk spot up on a hill and we only noticed today that they have a fantastic landing with a great view of the mountain here. This Kinabalu mountain is just amazing, every time you look at it the clouds have either totally covered it or there’s some type of picturesque cloud hovering around it, it really is a very majestic brooding mountain.
We are hoping to get some nice morning photos from the landing before we check out and  head back to Kota Kinabalu for our flight around lunch time to Mulu, which is another place in Borneo but in the Sarawak region.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Poring Hot Springs – Sabah

Poring Hot Springs
The individual Hot Spring Baths

 

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Accommodation at Poring

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Poring Hot Springs 

Well we had a nice morning in Poring Hot Springs, we walked back through the butterfly sanctuary and saw a few more different butterflies. We did walk up to the tropical gardens but apparently there’s not much flowering so we gave it a miss but did see this enormous Orb weaver spider had just caught himself a bug so we took some photos and a video of him, it’s always fantastic to see such a big spider at work. We really love seeing all types of critters in the wild, although once I did walk into a big web like that and had eye to eye contact with one of those big golden orb spiders, oh my god I was screaming like a girl, since then I always make sure I’m never walking through the bush first. Absolutely Terrifying.

 

Giant Orb-Weaver Feasting
Juvenile White-crowned Sharma
Juvenile White-crowned Sharma

 

Some Butterflies of Poring

 

Pink Skimmer - Orthetrum pruinosum
Pink Skimmer dragonfly

 

More Odonata of Poring 
walkway to the Hot Springs and Restaurant
Walkway to Hot Springs and Restaurant
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We did the big 45 minute drive to Kundasang, we are staying at the Perkasa Hotel which is ok, big room great bathroom and shower, ticks all the boxes though it has this old worldly smell, I guess it is a really old hotel with old carpet. We had lunch back at the Mount Kinabalu Park restaurant and managed to get a couple of hours of driving around listening out for birds. We did get great photos of 6 new birds in that time which was just fantastic to see. Sadly some of them have little bands on their legs, research so we are told. Some birds have 3 bands……must be 3 types of research?…You have to wonder if it helps the birds in any way, not much use having all this data if it doesn’t help them. Apparently they rig up big nets across the ridges somehow to catch them, I wonder how many times they have to go through that sort of stress.
Well anyway we love seeing them and they all look healthy, and we love seeing new birds.
We will put our new photos of them on tomorrow’s blog as we will have the whole day in the park so hopefully get more photos.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Orangutans of Sepilok

 

Bornean Orangutan - Wild and Free
Bornean Orangutan – Wild and Free

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Check out our Orangutan and friends footage here

 

Day 2 in Paradise certainly didn’t disappoint. We finally got to see Orangutans in the wild, it’s been something that was very high on our bucket list and we spotted them 4 times today. A huge highlight in our lives to see these amazing creatures just going about their daily business of swinging through the trees and eating jack fruit. We just hope they can hang on to these last remaining pockets of forest because as you all know…. in the end it’s all about money and when the big knobs want more land for palm oil I guess they will get it.

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Another fantastic day at Sepilok Rainforest and Gardens

We try really hard not to buy anything with Palm oil in it but I tell you what, it’s in everything, and half the time it’s not even listed as palm oil, very very sneaky horrible people.
Anthony had some problems with his camera today, it was over exposing all the photos so we had a few hours sitting in the airconditioned chalet and with the help of Dr  Camera Google managed to fix it, thank God.

 

Well we only have tomorrow morning left here so we will again go to the discovery centre, there’s a Pita walk, it’s a track goes for about 2 hours, we are hoping to see at least one Pita there. Surely it’s not much to ask for, hopefully the Pig tailed Macaques aren’t there as we had to quickly do a u turn today as the big male took a dislike to us and came rushing down a tree and cut us off on the path, we retreated and found another path to get back on, he is well known for being quite aggressive. We met another couple there who also had a run in with them where the macaques surrounded them and some were growling at them, they ran for it, scared the living daylights out of them as you can imagine.
Anyway enjoy the pics and video.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok

Happy to be in Paradise, Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre

 

Well you are probably thinking after that blog yesterday that we have packed our bags and are hightailing it out of Borneo and heading home but this morning we woke up fresh as daisies, the skies had cleared, the instant coffees are keeping our headaches at bay and we knew today we were going back to nature.

We only had around a 20 minute drive to our new digs, a chalet in the rainforest…,,yes you did hear that right, hasn’t it got a beautiful ring to it. It’s called the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. We knew we couldn’t check in till 2 pm but we rocked up around 10 am and left our luggage at the reception and they said they would take it to our chalet when it was ready…..we had passed a cafe sign just up the road so we headed there first for some brunch, great omelette and toast.
There was this huge decking with all the tables and chairs and it overlooked a man made lake with a little island in the middle and the most picturesque setting, so many flowering plants and of course birds everywhere. We had left our stuff in the car so Anthony went and got his camera and quickly got some photos of the little green lizard and the Hornbill sitting quietly in a tree. What a beautiful spot, it really lifted our spirits.
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We then drove to the Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre  only 2 kms down the road.
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Well wow what can I say the nature gods are smiling upon us and dropped us right in the middle of paradise. We spent the rest of the day here, it’s very tropical after all that rain I guess, but we didn’t care, just so many birds and other critters here.

 


 


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check out today’s video at the Rainforest Discovery Centre 
We came back to our chalet, all good, the restaurant is fantastic so will try to get some photos around here and the banana cafe with the lake. We have a lake here too but didn’t have time to explore today, we will be pretty keen get back it the discover centre in the morning., we might cancel some other things we had planned so we can come back here, absolutely fantastic.Enjoy the pics and video, we are here for two nights.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Kinabalu Park – Sabah

Bornean Green Magpie (Eye lashes courtesy of ‘Maybelline’)

Well the last few days have been interesting…..we are battling headaches most days as we can’t find espresso coffee anywhere and their semi percolated watered down glimpse of coffee with UHT milk is literally killing us. All of a sudden Thailand seems like heaven on earth and Borneo is losing flavour real fast.

 

Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu, Highest Peak in SE Asia (4095m)

 

Mount Kinabalu Park was amazing, we loved it there, after we arrived at our new digs (Hovel Central ) as I called it and when you see the video you will see why, and no the bed was very hard and the shower just warm and we had to wear flip flops to go to the loo after we had showers…… I won’t go on about it because I’m probably exaggerating, being so crabby without my usual caffeine fixes.
Anyway we hightailed it to park as we got there quite early about 1pm, drove around a bit, saw a few birds, visited the restaurant for lunch there , the weather was great and we were really excited about visiting the next day.
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After a horrible sleep at Hovel Central we got back to the park, blue sky just beautiful, all the birds were chirping and so many sounds we couldn’t recognise, but we decided to have breakfast first before we started on one of the many hikes there, and as we were having our omelettes the wind really picked up and then shock horror we saw very low clouds scooting in at speed and within minutes it was just bucketing down. We just sat there stunned , we sat there for quite some time praying for it to clear and really didn’t like our only option of going back to the hovel which by the way didn’t have power and water when we woke up that morning. But we couldn’t stay there and sadly drove back, at least the power and water was back on and it wasn’t raining there at all as it was down and away from the mountain. We sat there for a while and decided to give the park another go as it hadn’t rained and the sky was overcast but looked a bit lighter. We are so glad we did, it didn’t rain after that and we just drove around on the bitumen with our windows down and stopped when we heard birds and Anthony got some fantastic photos, check out the eyelashes on the green magpie….what a beautiful bird and  so noisy, you certainly know when they are around. You may also notice the bands on all the birds little legs?????? We have no idea what that is about, and how on earth did they manage to capture and band nearly every bird we saw….. very disturbing🙁🙁
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We had lunch again and spent all afternoon driving and looking and spotting, it really turned into a fantastic day.
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A short Video of our Kinabalu experience 
So now we come to TODAY
It was our last day there and we were pretty much going to do the same thing as yesterday except we woke up to rain…….Decided to go into the park anyway and wait for it to clear and we do like the omelettes at the restaurant . So there we sat…..rain rain and more rain and not much wind so guess it wasn’t going to clear real soon, we had to make an executive decision to forgo our last nights stay at the hovel and
just hit the road as it was going to be about a 4 hour drive across Borneo to the Sandakan / Sepilok area. Anthony tried to book a day earlier into the accomodation we had booked there but it was full, so we decided to just get to a hotel close to there for the night.
Anthony couldn’t believe how quickly I packed, usually he’s waiting for me doing all the bathroom stuff but I was pretty keen to leave Hovel Central as a bad memory and move onto better experiences.
Soon as we got away from the mountain and down in altitude it stopped raining which was nice. The road conditions are dangerous to put it nicely, they have these red signs just everywhere with ‘AWAS’ written on them, I guess it must mean Beware or Danger. Also Borneans must be up there with the most dangerous and risk taking drivers in the world, really hairy driving here. We stopped about halfway at a KFC, because we really felt like chips……Oh my god the smells coming out of the drains in that town were horrendous, all the towns so far have been very dirty, rubbish just everywhere, it’s quite depressing really.
A little while later it started raining again and got torrential, I don’t know how our little Honda hire car managed to get here unscathed and no busted tyres as you really couldn’t see the road at all for water and we hit so many potholes and craters it certainly was a drive to remember. Anthony really had to concentrate, and also a lot of very slow trucks to overtake it certainly was a challenge.
We have to actually go back that way in a couple of weeks but trying not to think about that just yet.
So we are now relaxing in our nice hotel…nice clean shower, soft bed….we walked into the town just here  in downtown Labuk, people were just staring at us, I guess they don’t get tourists here. We asked at a cafe with a big logo of a coffee cup on the front if they have espresso but oh no you can’t get it anywhere here.😢😢😢😢
So we went to the local supermarket, bought instant coffees and uht milk and will just have to suffer. Looks like the rain is easing so please cross your fingers so we can get out and about back to nature tomorrow.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

The Crocker Ranges – Kota Kinabalu

Crocker Nature Centre, a sub-station of the Crocker Ranges NP

Well we made it to Borneo ok, though we really don’t like the transition days, that extra dry air in the airports and planes really irritates my eyes and you can’t seem to get real food anywhere, even the more restaurant type eateries proclaim to have nice meals on their glossy boards out the front but they are all lying, we get really sick of eating plastic food but sometimes you just don’t have a choice. We had a horror flight for the last leg from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu with screaming babies and annoying hyped up children, maybe it’s all the plastic food they are eating but so many children now seem like they are just uncontainable 🤔🤔

We picked up the hire car at the airport, a new SIM card for Malaysia and some local money of course. Thank God our hotel was only 7 minutes from the airport which was great to be able to relax again. The hotel C’haya is ok, a bit run down but clean, the towels are extremely thin…..but it has a fantastic seafood restaurant next door so we have eaten there the last two nights. We walked around the little township here, I don’t think it has a name but it’s between the city and the airport, but not much here, also a bit run down and the standard rubbish that is littered along the sides of roads and waterways etc. After walking around and seeing some other shabby hotels we realised our hotel is probably the flashiest digs in town, so we better stop whining.

Some very relaxed Water Buffalo on our trip up the Range

Today we had a choice of two amazing places in nature to visit, quite a drive away and in two different directions. The place that had the most birdlife,  The Rafflesia Centre was the first choice, we were worried maybe it wasn’t open being a Sunday…..Anthony read on the internet that it had been closed in March so we thought it was worth the risk to go out there and Bingo….it was closed, and looks like it has been closed for quite some time.
So then we drove to our second choice which was around 1 and a half hours drive away, so we stopped in the main town on the way Keningau actually went to the Pizza Hut….yes very strange for us I know but it was hot and all the other run down cafes were out door seating and we knew the Pizza Hut would be air conditioned.
Driving in the mountains here though is beautiful, the roads are fantastic, a lot of places with two lanes, lots of crazy drivers too of course all out for a Sunday race I think, it gets a bit hairy sometimes. But Anthony loves driving like that too.😬😬
The Crocker Range Nature Centre was open, hooray, and we had it to ourselves, no one in sight, unbelievable. We did a 3 km hike through the jungle, yes with a few leeches but made sure we saturated our socks with repellent this time so no probs. Saw a few birds, the broadbill was amazing and sitting right out in the open. We couldn’t dilly dally too long though as we had a 2 hour drive to get back too so if we had of known the other place was closed we would have just gone to this place and spent more time there.
The 3km Jungle trek was simply breathtaking 
You can never rush birdwatching, it really takes time and you have to be scanning the trees all the time. The drive back down the mountain was amazing, so steep in places but like I said… a great road, some stretches were 16 % and even a couple of 19%  very steep descents that went on for ever but finally we hit the coast with its bumper to bumper traffic, both ways just crazy, put a bit of a damper on the day having to battle traffic after being in such beautiful nature has got knobs on it.
So tomorrow we are off to the big mountain… Mount Kinabalu, we can see it from here in the distance, it’s around 4,000 mtrs high, massive, we aren’t climbing it as you have to book it way in advance and that would just be way too iffy with the weather. It’s also a huge national park with heaps of trails so hopefully we will get to see amazing birds there.
A few of the birds and butterflies spotted on the Trek
By the way, the big Atlas moth I picked up outside some shops in the mountains, he wasn’t in the best condition, I think he must of been hit by a car so I put him in some bushes and hope he recovered, he just seemed a bit dazed, what a beautiful creature.
Atlas Moth
The giant Atlas moth
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Khao Yai National Park

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Wow, what a day, we got up early and got out to the Khao Yai National Park  nice and early around 7am. It was such a great feeling revisiting this park as we had spent 4 days here last year.

 

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We already had a heads up as to the best places to see birds and where some of the fruiting trees are, though we are a month early this year and those particular trees aren’t fruiting just yet. But it didn’t matter as the best way to see birds is to just drive around slowly with your windows down and if you hear anything different or lots of bird chatter you just pull over a bit and put your hazard lights on and people here are very obliging and they go around you. Everyone does it here and it’s a great way to see birds as it’s more open on the roads than trying to spot them in the dense rainforest.

 


 


 


 


You get these bird storms here where all of a sudden a whole bunch of birds will just arrive and there would be maybe 6 or 8 different species of birds all hanging out together. It’s crazy and hard for Anthony to know where to point the camera because I’m so excited too and telling him what I am seeing through my binoculars so it gets a bit confusing. Of course males are the best colours so we try to focus on them( sorry girls). But this didn’t happen today but we probably weren’t in the right spot.

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The Sights and sounds of Khao Yai

It’s a fantastic park with so much variety, there’s waterfalls, rivers,  lakes, open grasslands too. Their wildlife list is incredible. Anyway the photos and video speak for themselves, we are really tired now and want to get up there just a little bit earlier as the sun was already pesky at 7 am, Enjoy.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

A visitor just outside our Digs tonight


Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Benjakiti Park, our saviour in Bangkok
Our saviour in Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Press or click here for more info about Benjakiti Park

Well it’s our last day in Bangers, it all turned out not too badly after all. We thought we had some major catastrophe happening with the bone grafting in my implant not taking, but more grafting was done today, actually injected in which I had never heard off, but we have got a whiz bang dentist that also teaches at the University in Bangkok. He has a practice in Koh Samui and one here in Bangkok.

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 Benjakiti Park

We have been able to easily walk to the Benjakiti Park and what a surprise it was, as you can see by the photos we saw many birds , dragonflies, butterflies, lizards and that beautiful snake. It was quite busy there this morning being Saturday so we caused a little bit of interest from people probably curious as to what were taking photos of, being the only people with a huge camera. Of course we didn’t point the snake out, he was so well camouflaged and anyway ( Most people are so terrified of snakes they miss the sheer beauty of their movement). We didn’t want to cause a panic or worst case the snake gets hurt, better off to be hidden,  he was just gorgeous.
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The Golden Tree Snake or AKA Flying Snake and a couple of Lizards

 


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A collection of Dragonflies from the Park

 


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And we got some Birds
We are so glad the park is there, it kept us occupied in this sprawling concrete jungle, though we have adapted quite well, have found great eateries and good cuppachino’s, but still will be very exited to head out to our favourite national park -Khao Yai tomorrow.
We will get a taxi to the airport and pick up a hire car from there again, we probably won’t get out to the park till late afternoon but have got 5 nights there.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

 

 

 

 

Kaeng Krachan – Rivercreek Estate and Surrounds

Impressive National Park Entrance

We had a nice relaxing day today, had a nice breakfast down here on the landing, walked up and down the road looking for birds but it was already hot at 7.30 am and not much shade on the road also it is a public road with other farms and houses and it seems everyone has a dog or 5. Most are ok with us walking past but others go to town so we try not to disturb them too much. There is a lot of birds we see but then again hard for photos as we don’t want to follow the birds into people’s private gardens and farms though really everyone is so friendly here they probably wouldn’t mind. They really stare at us as they drive past as if we had just dropped down from Mars, I don’t think they get any western tourists walking around with cameras and binoculars. We certainly must be a sight.

 

A couple of Pics waking around Rivercreek

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A short Video of Rivercreek Estate

We took the kayak for a paddle in the little river here but we should have gone early not at midday, honestly we are such Wally’s sometimes, it was nice but ridiculously hot and really uncomfortable with the life jackets on camera , hats etc so we only went for an hour, still got some nice photos.
A couple of pics paddling around Rivercreek
We then went for a drive to the big dam, Kaeng  Kra Chan which is part of the National Park, just beautiful there, finally got there a bit earlier to get some photos and walk around a bit.Theres this huge suspension bridge going over to an island, we just got there and all these macaques were sauntering along coming our way quite funny to see.
A couple of pics from around Lake Kaeng Kra Chan
Some other tourists had small bags of food and started walking on the bridge and these macaques  are so clever …..the people never suspected that they had only one thing on their mind and they reached up and grabbed the food bags so quick I wish I had my video camera going. One lady had the food tucked in her handbag and had turned to have her photo taken by hubby and this macaque  just snuck up and grabbed her bag and wrenched out the food and took off along the bridge. Would have been a great video.😁😁
You can’t walk over, it’s all wired up, I think maybe the macaques  on the other end got too aggressive and were attacking the tourists. I guess this is a classic case of what happens when you feed wildlife.
These macaques are quite amazing, they swim and dive to catch crabs in the lake, and wouldn’t we love to capture that.
We found a great little restaurant that makes amazing fish cakes absolutely yum.
We love Thai food just not too spicy.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.