This past Monday we decided to head out and do something a bit different. We didn’t feel like treading to the beach, we definitely didn’t feel like going to the mall (blech!), we felt like being outdoors and partaking in some physical activity.
If you know me, you already know that I hate most physical activity in nature. In fact even though I love to take long walks (3 or 4 miles a day if I could), I usually prefer to walk city streets with nice wide sidewalks. I know it isn’t rugged or anything, but, hey, its still exercise, am I right?
We felt the need to be outdoorsy that day so we took the trek (okay drove) over to Pranburi Forest Park. It is about a 10 minute drive from our house in Khao Tao, and only about a half hour drive from Hua Hin city center.
Pranburi Forest Park reminded us of the beach/forest national parks back in Northern California. Sandwiched between the mangrove forest and the beach are tall evergreens which shade the flat landscape split into campsites. There are proper park ranger offices, community gathering areas, picnic areas, cabins for rent, and clean looking bathrooms and showers. The whole park has clear signage telling about the types of plants and tree’s (albeit most of them were in Thai, with just the names of in English). There is ample and easy parking throughout the park if you drive yourself. If you do not have your own transportation, most taxis or song-taews can easily drive you.
The Mangrove Nature Trail is a raised wooden walkway through the heart of the mangrove forest. I have never seen a more gorgeous part of nature in my whole life, I was truly made speechless by the quiet, shady trees that grow in salt water pools. I will let the pictures show you as I really cannot describe it except to say that it made me thankful to be alive and incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such beauty.
Along the walkway, there is signage describing the wildlife, plant life, and landscape surrounding you. There are also blue little crabs that run along the tree roots. Make sure to keep your eyes open for them, they move fast.
The walkway is normally a full circle (about 1 km long), but half of it is currently blocked off. The trail now ends at a little dock where the river meets the mangroves. You can grab a taxi boat for 500 baht here. We decided to try it out, so we loaded up the stroller (which by the way, we were able to use the stroller easily the whole way through the trail), and hopped in ready for an adventure.
The taxi boat was covered and had 6 seats. Our taxi boat driver was a lovely woman who spoke no english but made sure that we saw all the sights along the way. We made our way down the shallow river, through the nearby fishing town, down to the ocean inlet. There were numerous large fishing boats manned with both men and women hanging their nets, selling their wares, and cleaning their boats. It is a wonderful place to take pictures and see how Thai fishermen (fisherpeople?) go about their daily work. Our driver also stopped along the way a couple of times to show us Water Monitors in the trees and water. She got really close to them and I may have squealed in fright a couple of times. EEK!
At the end of our boat ride, she gave us the choice (using hand gestures mostly) to either go back to the mangrove forest trail or venture out into the ocean a bit and be dropped off at the beach. We chose the beach as it was closer to our car and Z was close to a nap. The ocean was calm and the view from the boat was just amazing, you can see all the way to Hua Hin along the coast.
As we jumped into the surf and made our way to the beach at the end of our trip, Chad and I both felt elated and thankful.
Our outing at Pranburi Forest Park reminded us why we are traveling. We are traveling to see all of God’s lovely creation, different cultures, yes, even Water Monitors in the wild up close and personal. I would highly recommend you check out Pranburi Forest Park if you are in the area.
Have you ever been in a mangrove forest? What did you think?