Eden must have been like this.

The Rainforest

A waterfall deep in the rainforest offers a chance to cool down after a hike.

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This page describes one of the five entirely different regions visited on Honah Lee, a Thailand tour for gay men, lesbians, and friends. Links at the bottom of this page will take you to more information about this trip.

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From Chiangmai we fly south, into the lush rainforests. Our home for two nights is an idyllic setting: bamboo huts set on rafts, floating near the shore of a sprawling lake. Fall asleep to a symphony of birdsong. No showers here: On awakening, just dive into the waters for a refreshing swim.

This is Khao Sok National Park, the largest forest in southern Thailand, home to some 48 species of mammals. We're likely to spot a variety of chattering monkeys here, as well as colorful birds. Elephants, tigers, porcupines, gibbons, and the world's largest cat, the striped phantom, inhabit the forest but are seldom seen in the day. We may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one during an evening foray.

An afternoon hike takes us under an emerald canopy of aromatic hardwood trees and thick vines perfect for a Tarzan swing. A waterfall has carved out a swimming hole where we can cool down. Jungle scents and mist rainbows fill the air. Towering limestone rocks and cliffs inspire climbing, providing an excellent view of the rainforest and its denizens.

Over 200 bird species nest there, including the prehistoric tropical hornbill, looking like a bird of paradise flower taking flight as it glides beside the cliffs.

The next day brings another adventure: We hike to a remote river that disappears into the mountain. For 45 minutes, we follow the cave through the rock. Curtains of white stalactites glisten when we shine our flashlights onto the wall. A family of bats, hanging upside down from the cave ceiling, silently watches our passage. There are sharp bends to negotiate, a narrow crevice ... and at last we see light shining through at the other end.

Khao Sok National Park is also home to the rare Rafflesia, the world's largest flower. It's also the most foul-smelling, according to those who have witnessed its once-a-year blossom, a flower 30 inches across — big enough to dwarf a basketball.

And now, our group moves on to Thailand's biggest island, with more great hiking, sandy beaches, nightlife, and some memorable sea canoeing: The island of Phuket.

Other stops on this tour of Thailand:

Bangkok | Chiangmai | Hill Tribes | Phuket

Trip details

This site is provided by Alyson Adventures, a gay and lesbian tour operator, as a service for individuals traveling with us. We hope it will also be useful to others planning a tour or researching Thailand. We offer other active vacations for gay men and lesbians to Australia, New Zealand, France, Italy, and other destinations.

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