The first trip we went on from smileys was to the monkey park. I’m a huge fan of monkeys, I think they are incredibly awesome and cute so I was pretty excited to go.
The park was really cool, it was basically a big open area surrounded by trees and they provided us with little bananas to feed the monkeys with. The monkeys were a little shy, but if you moved calmly and had a little patience with them they would walk right up and take the banana from your hands and eat it infront of you.
It was really neat watching the monkeys climb through the trees and interact with each other. You can really get a sense of the personalities monkeys have by watching them for a while. There were also a couple cool wrestling matches between some monkeys who were playing around.
I also watched a little display of social status between the monkeys. I had given a small monkey a banana and while it was eating it a large monkey walked up to it. The little monkey noticed him and dropped the banana and ran away, for the bigger monkey to eat it. A few seconds later however an even bigger monkey walked up causing that monkey to drop it and run away too. Size really does matter in the monkey kingdom.
The next day we went on a 3 hour hike to the world’s largest flower. After all the excessive beer drinking it was nice to do some serious exercise. Most of the Thai people are incredibly fit and very good at moving through the jungle so we had to really move to keep up with the one leading us on the hike. The path was also nearly all up hill, and we even had to climb using the help of ropes to make it up some of the steeper areas. I remember thinking how although I had been on a few hikes in Canada, this was the first real hike I had ever been on. The challenge of it was a lot of fun, and we were all really excited when we were told the largest flower was close… We imaged how beautiful and majestic it must be…
But then we saw it.
Haha as awesome as the hike was we were a little disappointed by how ugly this big flower was! I named it the ashtray of the jungle.
The hike was really worth it though, despite its appearance it really is the world’s largest type of flower and it was really cool to see that.
This story made me think of an old quote I had heard once that I wasn’t sure if I believed in. “It’s the journey in life that matters, not the destination.” After taking this hike I believe that quote more than ever. If you rely on a future accomplishment to make you happy and that’s all you focus on, you miss out on all the awesome parts about the journey along the way. We can never know exactly what the future will bring, and that unknown is a good reason to live in the moment and appreciate every step along the way. Find simple joys and focus on what you learn in every step you take towards a future goal, that way even if the goal doesn’t turn out exactly how you wanted, the journey was still worth it!
By far my favorite of the small daytrips we took around smiley’s was the elephant trek. This was my first hands on experience with elephants and they truly are amazing creatures.
First to give the elephants energy for the trek we fed them some delicious bananas. Feeding elephants is even more fun than feeding monkeys! These elephants were incredibly powerful but incredibly gentle and really gave me a feeling of awe just being in their presence.
Next we rode the elephants on a beautiful hike through some real nice scenery. I was a little surprised to find out how furry the heads of elephants were.
The elephants were a lot more bumpy than I had expected, but luckily each elephant came equipped with a seatbelt (I’m not joking)
The trek through some areas were really peaceful and beautiful, I vividly remember moving through one clearing into an area surrounded by tall trees, and then when the wind picked up for a moment the trees released a shower of slowly falling leaves all around us.
Our hike took us to a small waterfall which was so nice to cool down in. The water was incredibly refreshing and crystal clear. We even got a little adventurous and jumped in from up above!
This trek was one of my favorite parts of the trip and I was sad to see it end. If you ever get a chance to hang out with some elephants don’t pass it up!