“Are you thinking of going to Angthong National Park?”
“Yes I’m thinking of it.”
“Are you thinking of going tomorrow?”
“Yes I was thinking of it. Why?”
“Can I tag along?”
I could see her mentally rolling her eyes. “Yeah sure I suppose why not.”
Great the Hobo was of to the Angthong National Park and with an Essex girl no less. She does not know what she is in for….. Bwaaaa ha ha haaa….
Now you have got to picture the two of us. She is a tall (over 6ft), pretty, amazon of a girl with bright red hair and I’m a short chubby little balding middle aged Yorkshire man. We look like the number 10 walking down the street in different font sizes.
So off to Angthong National Park we went. This involved getting picked up and taken to the pier where our ferry was waiting to take us across the water from Koh Samui in Thailand to Angthong National Park a series of 42 islands with abundant marine life and limited facilities. The trip involved several activities, a mountain climb to view points, kayaking, a climb to see a saltwater lagoon and finally snorkeling. Lunch was also included.
First thing we noticed was half the boat were Chinese the other half European. The second was just how uncomfortable the seats were for our 1.5 hour journey. First stop a lovely beach with arrows pointing up towards a footpath leading up the mountain for the viewpoints that were dotted up the trail leading to the top. So off we set with a bottle of water between us and my camera hanging off my back. At the first view point looking over the beach Clare (did I mention that was the Essex girls name) declared she would wait there for me and I should take photos for her too. Being the gentlemen I left her the water in case she got thirsty and headed up the trail determined to reach the top. Big mistake.
I passed the next viewpoint with ease and after a few pictures continued on. The trail got steeper and steeper and eventually you was pulling yourself up on ropes to get there. Parched and deeply regretting leaving the water I reached the final stretch a near vertical climb with nothing to stand on but these miniature jagged peaks. One slip and you was guaranteed to slice your leg. The view was worth it and luckily a guide at the top had been wise enough to bring water for those of us daft enough not to bring water. I glugged from the bottle while the guide took my camera off me and took pictures for me. My legs and back was screaming in pain as I laid on the top deck trying to get shade from the small railings and regain my strength. After ten minutes I felt much better and got the guide to stop kicking me in the back to move me on so others didn’t have to keep stepping over me to see the view.
My legs were killing and going downhill was actually worse then going up. At the bottom there was Clare looking cool and relaxed with our bottle of water in her hands. Not wanting her to know how much the climb had taken out of me I calmly snatched the bottle of water out of her hands and nearly drank the full lot in one go while trying to answer her questions about the climb with my rolling eyeballs and movements of my eyebrows.
The next part was the Kayaking. I was so pleased to hear that Clare had passed courses in just this stuff and I had no need to worry. I had canoed only once about 25 years ago and then I had sunk it trying to get it off a beach on a tiny desert island and ended up sat in the canoe which was on the bottom with the water around my waist. “I’ll go in the back and steer you just do what I say” she told me.
So we set off with our guide leading at the front and ten more kayaks following behind. Pretty soon I noticed everyone had passed us. Young and old, fit and fat they were all vanishing into the distance. Even two young girls who I swear at one point had actually sat in the kayak back to back. I had been putting everything into it trying to keep up. I craftily looked back and there was the Essex girl calmly sat with the oars across her knees. “What? I was taking pictures.” the camera at this point was still in her bag. Finally we got a spurt on and were practically skimming across the waves catching up with the end of the others. Then it was a struggle to keep up again. “What I’m taking pictures?”, “What I’m steering?” came the shouts from the back. At this point let me state that steering involved jamming her oar deep in one side of the kayak which basically just stopped any further forward movement and slew us nearly 90 degrees off course.
We finally reached the beach. Now my arms back and shoulders where screeching in pain and because I had been sat down so long my legs had decided to go to sleep. I wobbled out the boat on my knees I am sure for part of it and made my way up onto the beach. Clare casually swept her long legs out of the boat and strode ashore sweeping her hair into a pony tail and looking as though she has just stepped off a first class cruiser. “Whats next?” she said.
Next was a climb but up stairs, I kid you not, to see a lovely lagoon. She complained all the way up and all the way down and hugged the banister all the way as though she was climbing Everest. I would of found it funny, but not only did I feel as though I had gone 10 rounds at Muay Thai boxing but I had no shoes on and as the stairs were all metal and concrete and the temperature over 30 degrees I was in trouble of losing all the skin off my feet to the steps.
Finally it was time for the snorkeling and the cool water on my feet felt wonderful. I am sure the water hissed slightly as my feet plunged into the cool crisp clear water. My battered body splashed about the surface like a fish with swim bladder disease as I search for real fish amongst the coral, Clare on the other hand seemed to slip across the surface like some sort of ginger dolphin, casually going up and down the coral as though she was born to it (the bitch).
Finally it was time to go back on the boat and head home. We knew it was time as all the others had left the beach and our guide was wandering up and down said beach shouting at us.
I collapsed on the bench on the boat and spent the rest of the trip in a sort of semi coma. Clare did come and check on me once bless her but only to take a picture of me while I was unconscious and is now threatening to post the pic on Facebook.
Would I go to the Angthong National Park again? Definitely. There is so much to see and do there it is just asking for another visit. Would I go again with an Essex girl? Well I have to sit on the fence for that one until I get the picture back.
Thanks for reading.