And now for something completely different. How about taking a far-out trip to the Thung Khai Botanical Gardens just outside the city of Trang? Well, it is not really that far, about 2 hours by minibus to Trang and another 30 minutes by Tuk Tuk. If you decide to travel this way you would be better to spend the night in Trang. As most of my adventures on and about Lanta are as part of a group of parents, students, and friends from The International School of Asia we hired a 19-seater minibus for 7000 baht. The first image is of our minibus on the ferry from Lanta to the mainland. I believe you can hire a 10-seater minivan for 5000 baht and if you have a car then a day trip is doable.

Here is a link to the school for those who are thinking of moving here.

The next image is of bald-headed yours truly with my long-haired son Jo and his friend Joey on the ferry.

The botanical garden covers an area of evergreen rainforest and swampy jungle. It contains many rare species of plants, a herb garden, a museum and even a camping area for those who want to spend a few nights going wild, wild, wild in the jungle – the snakes in the grass are absolutely free.

There is a 3-kilometre nature trail, the highlight is the 175-metre-long canopy walk which has three heights from 10 to 18 metres.

I was concerned because the rainy season had just started and thunderstorms were forecast for this morning. I kept my beady eyes to the sky with everything crossed that the rain held off because walking high up on a canopy in a torrential downpour with ear-shattering thunder and forks of lightning wouldn’t be a walk in the park, would it? In fact, it would be downright dangerous and foolhardy and we would have to save this adventure for a non-rainy day.

Fortunately when we arrived at about 11 am and the rain had held off. Another bit of surprising good news was that there was no entrance fee- This adventure was free. Yippee.

We followed the trail past many gorgeous plants and amazing tall trees. Suddenly, the kids ran to me screaming, “A snake, a snake.” They weren’t afraid, they were gleefully jumping up and down with excitement. I walked over and took a short video and at first, identified it as a monocled cobra but then second-guessed at a harmless Indochinese rat snake which was later confirmed by a snake expert.

So the snakes in the grass were absolutely free after all. ha-ha.

We continued walking along the trail snapping shots of the amazing plant life as well as keeping our eyes open for snakes in the grass. I was half-expecting to see my ex-wife! Hahaha.

She never appeared and we didn’t see any other slimy serpents either.

We eventually arrived at the canopy which was great fun for most of us. However, an English bloke and a Thai woman followed the path underneath because they suffered from a fear of heights. We snapped shed loads of photos and the kids loved it. After the canopy, the path took us through a thick swampy jungle which was an adventure all in itself. There were a few drops of rain but they stopped after a few minutes. Luckily the rain held off.

We finished the trail and it was back on the minibus. it was time to visit Robinson’s department store for lunch and a spot of shopping before heading back to the island. Alas, my vegan mate and I couldn’t find any vegan options at any restaurant in this huge shopping mall. I finally opted for a vegan chocolate bar and my friend got a vegan bag of crisps. It was like returning to my youth 50 years ago when finding plant-based food was almost impossible.

WARNING – A Justified Psycho Syd Rant

Even worse was the pet shop selling fluffy puppies, a man with a collection of snakes people could hold for free and a couple of iguana lizards that uncaring knuckledraggers could pet, photograph and laugh at. A friend even told me that there was even a poor emu that was subjected to this cruel abuse. As an empathic animal lover, I could see the fear and feel the sadness of these poor innocent beings. I could write a whole book on this subject but for now, here is a photograph I took in Robinson’s with a message to all the heartless people involved in this sickening behaviour.

Ok, my outburst is over and I highly recommend visiting the jungles at Thung Kai. A fully enjoyable experience that is worth going out of your way for xx

There are a number of vegan restaurants in the city of Trang so if I visit again I will get my food in one of those places.

Find out more about this fabulous place by clicking here.

I’ll leave you with a few images of our amazing day out at Thung Kai Botanical Gardens.

Written by : Syd

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