Erawan National Park, Thailand Week 3 9th - 10th May 2011
There must be all sorts of rock formations hidden in the jungle.

Some of them have appeared in roadside "rock shops". Presumably for garden ornaments.

We missed the photograph of the rocks that had been further sculpted and polished.

Obviously getting into the wup wups as evidenced by the "beware of elephants" signs..

North West of Kanchanaburi on the way to Erewan National Park.

Just before the park we crossed the River Kwai.

The camp site is downstream about 1km on the right.

Erewan waterfall is a series of 7 sets of cascades.

The colours were magic.

An overcast day, hot and sticky, the cool water was inviting.

Just another cascade.
And another.
But this time some fish (we think carp).

They weren't disturbed by people swimming.

We were camped near the falls and went back for an evening swim when the crowds had disappeared. Its quite a popular spot for both Thais and tourists (bus from Bangkok and Phuket).

Further up. Fewer people walked this far.
This butterfly entertained us for quite a while.

An odd shape we thought, but we aren't biologists.

Before carrying on up the steps to another cascade.

Getting nearer the top, about 1km of steep track, the formations were brighter.

The cascades are formed by salts depositing out of the water. Fairly typical of limestone country.

And brighter.
And the very top, with Ali improving the scenery.
And just another cascade on the way down.
At the campsite we watched this bird, chased by young boy.

Beautiful iridescent blue on the tail and under the wings.

He was very gentle, very shy, and walked off with it on his shoulder.

He later returned with younger boy. We guessed he'd been sent to get him for tea .....

Haven't a clue what the crop is. It had been chopped back so that only about 100mm of about 10mm diameter stump remained. Either that or the stumps had been planted!

Edit:- it took us until the North of Cambodia to realise that it is possibly tapioca (casava). The beginning of the next crop.

Some of the endless steps to Pratat Cave.

Haven't a clue what to expect but we hoped it was worth it as there were gazillions of steps in the 600m from the car park.

And yes it was worth it.

Through a very small entrance the cavern is as large as we've ever seen.

And the formations are also on a grand scale.

This reminded us of a jelly fish.
The detail in the formations was truly amazing.

How on earth to describe how big this is. Dwarfed by the size of the cavern.

And the underside of another jellyfish.
The rock looks more like gneiss than limestone. Lots of veins running through it. Also evidence of the sedimentary layers as it was laid down. It looks to have been tilted to about 60 degrees.

And the formations look like there is a considerable draught through the cave.

This is a vein of "we know not what" through the rock. It hasn't eroded as much as the surrounding rock.

Our guide made much of this, but unfortunately we couldn't understand.

A formation we haven't really encountered previously.

The flowers seem to grow upwards.

Its about 20m tall.

Plus the first time we've really seen extensive cave coral (we think).

We believe an indication of air movement.

Simply massive curtains. The railings give a clue as to height.

The cavern is probably a couple of hundred feet high. We walked a couple of hundred meters inside the same cavern.

How can we begin to describe it.

The entrance had been small. It seemed obvious to us that there must be quite a strong breeze through the cave to create the formations.

At the exit our guide (with very limited English) managed to confirm the breeze by showing us a couple more small ways in and waving arms to indicate the circular direction of air flow.

Maniolo (Spanish) who we met in the campsite at Erawan. Exiting the cave. The three of us had our own guided tour.

The previous evening we had a pleasant chat about life the universe and everything. He'd spent a month in Laos and now 2 months in Thailand. Hired a motorbike to get here and was tenting. We'll probably visit him in Northern Spain.

Like lots of people with protestations of their limited English (our Spanish is about zilch) he improved with time and patience.

He went to eat while we cooked some soup. We seem to eat out during the day then something simple, and liquid, at night.

A pleasant surprise when he returned with two ice creams.

From the cave entrance looking towards the gazillion steps for the way down.

It was bamboo all the way. Apparently at some time in the past (possibly as long ago as 17th century with Burmese invasions) parts of the forest had been cleared and bamboo had taken over for quite large tracts.

Next to the car park was our first sight of solar panels in Thailand or Malaysia.

This was a 4Mw array with battery storage as a trial. Ironic that it was a stones throw from a substantial hydro dam.

Maybe there is hope of finding a new solar regulator in Thailand to replace our broken one after all. But we'll leave the plan to send one from Aus to our Chinese Agency for Susanna, our guide, to bring to the border.

Thanks to friend Dave in Brisbane for taking over organising that. It would have been fairly difficult with limited intermittent internet connection.

No prizes but we haven't a clue what it is, or even if its edible.

It just sort of hung there, outsize and incongruous, but firmly attached to the tree.

Edit:- thanks to friend Lawrie in Aus who reckons its Jack Fruit. As grown in North Queensland. We've later seen them for sale on roadside stalls in Cambodia.

The road to the cave was dirt, and it rained.

The fallen bamboo was a bonus. We passed a car coming the other way shortly before so I guess we were lucky it didn't fall on us.

It was easily pulled out of the way.

We used 4wd for most of the track, it got narrower nearer the cave and we explored a bit beyond. The really steep bits had concrete laid.

It was bumpy to say the least. Very little mud and few corrugations. Just lots of potholes. Not as slippery as it looked.

Thung Salaeng National Park and Si Thep Historical Park, Thailand Week 3 11th - 12th May 2011