On Saturday, my last day in Phuket, I hired a driver for the day. He took me to Khao Phra Thaew National Park in addition to many temples (next post).
The park was a refreshing change from the beach. I hiked in the shaded jungle to Bangpae Waterfall. The waterfall was definitely unimpressive, and I so wished I had worn my suit so I could have jumped in one of the swimming holes. I only got to wade in the wonderfully cool water. But it was nice all the same…
Also located inside Khao Phra Thaew National Park is the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center. There’s not much to see as the gibbons are kept in cages on the hill to minimize interaction with people since they are trying to reintroduce most of them into the wild. But I enjoyed listening to their calls while eating lunch nearby (unfortunately their loud singing is how poachers locate them easily in the jungle).
At the Gibbon Rehab Center, I read all the information and it impacted me so much that I decided to go online and “adopt” one after I came home. I paid for one year of care for Rumthai because her story was the saddest. She was kept inside a tiny birdcage and her spine and arms grew deformed; therefore, she cannot be released into the wild. Many baby gibbons are caught by poachers. First the poachers shoot the baby’s entire family as this is the only way to capture the baby. And oftentimes the baby gibbon does not survive the fall from the tree after its mother is killed. The statistics state that for every baby gibbon captured, 17 gibbons are murdered! And most babies die within their first year of captivity. I could go on, but I’ll just say that you should never have your photo taken with a gibbon as a tourist attraction!
For more info on visiting the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center, their efforts, or to adopt a gibbon, visit their website.
For a driver to take you around Phuket, contact Mr. Jimmy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 081-271-1820. His rate was 1800 baht ($60) for 8 hours in an 11 person van (per van, not per person).
There is a 200 baht fee to enter the park.