I'm heading to Bangkok, and the drive from Phuket to Bangkok needn't be a repetitive slog up the highway. Khlong Phanom national park is on the way, and I'm determined to take the back roads and explore more of this beautiful park.
The plan, head east along the 4240, through the villages, and then north on the 4090. Have lunch next a lake, and use the 401 to rejoin the main pan-asia highway. For once, my plan not only works as expected, I get to see some extras I hadn't planned for.
The scenery here is dreamy, mist covered hills, dense jungle and lots of un-viable rock spires, the kind you so admire in Phangna. If you took sand and piled it into a mound, it would settle at the angle of repose, about 35 degrees. It doesn't matter how much sand you pile on top, it will collapse back to this angle. These rocks are beyond 90 degrees, completely impossible, narrow at the bottom, wide at the top. They must be slowly collapsing back into their pile of rock dust, thankfully so slowly that it's beyond our perceptions and we can enjoy their beauty as if it was static and timeless.
Once you're at the lake, little paddle boats can be taken out if you want to spend time here, but I have a day of driving to get to Bangkok and will only be stopping to eat. Next to the lake, little stalls serve you freshly cooked cheap nutritious street food. You'll never starve in Thailand, even out here in the wilds!
I find a temple covered in Swastikas, not the Nazi variety, the Hindu good luck type. This place has a lot of history, and it's given me new things to explore. See this article.
One final treat before I rejoin the main highway, I spotted a hole in the hill, that must be a cave, so I pulled over and clambered up.
Sure enough it is!
Beautiful green algae cover the stalagmite/tites, a rickety old wooden ladder is the only way up, this cave has been long forgotten, the ladder is broken but that only adds to its charm.
The cave gives me a nice break before heading up the highway and into Bangkok. We fight to preserve democracy in Thailand in a few days and I want to see positive before the negative.