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After years of returning over and over again to Thailand, I’m always awed at how much of this fascinating country I have left to discover. I kicked off this week with three crazy stormy days on my island base of Koh Tao. It was a surprise after last week’s beautiful weather in Koh Phangan, and it meant my crew of visitors and I almost got stuck on the islands entirely. Thankfully, our scheduled ferry was the first successful departure off the island. But we did, and a mere twenty hours — and a motorbike ride, a ferry, a minivan, two trains, a long walk and another motorbike ride — later, we arrived at the gateway to our destination, Khao Yai National Park.

WOW. Traveling independently overnight to Khao Yai, traveling by motorbike and sleeping within the National Park, was not super easy to coordinate. But was it ever worth it. Khao Yai was Thailand’s first National Park, and we went with fingers crossed for an encounter with the park’s rowdy herd of wild elephants. While we didn’t end up pal-ing around with any pachyderms, our wildlife spottings were extensive, the park was pristine, and I left on a fresh-air induced high.

I look forward to posting extensive and detailed guides to DIY-ing a trip to this pristine park in the future, as it’s a secret that’s just too good to keep. In the meantime, I’ve put together a special extended Photo of the Week edition. Why? Because it was hard enough to narrow it down to just these shots! I can’t wait to hear which ones stand out:

Photo A

One of the park’s many scenic outlooks

Photo B

The waterfall from the movie The Beach!

Photo C

Deep in nature

Photo D

By our own two wheels

Photo E

Khao Yai!

Photo F

Rich morning hues

Photo G

Looking (in vain) for elephants

Photo H

Millions of bats escaping a cave at dusk

Which photo is your favorite?

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52 Comments...
  • Ashley
    February 2 2016

    Think I have to go with Photo B – it looks so lush! Can’t wait to hear more about Khao Yai – it’s one place I’d love to visit if I ever return to Thailand.
    Ashley recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      I took millions of notes! It was a tough trip to plan, which makes it all the more rewarding to share!

  • Gemma
    February 2 2016

    H – such a dream shot!
    Gemma recently posted..

  • Justine
    February 2 2016

    I was going to say Photo B but then I saw H! I have to go with that one because I imagine that was incredible to experience in person. I can’t wait to read more about the national park. I’ve never been!
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      I’m already hoping to go back again someday and stay longer. It was just stunning.

  • Kacy
    February 2 2016

    So many great options this week! I think I have to go with Photo H because it’s one of those things that I’d prefer to see in a picture than real life (mostly kidding – great shot!).
    Kacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Ha, I think I’m a weirdo in that I really like bats! I’m happy when I see them because I know they eat mosquitoes, which are pretty much my arch enemies.

  • Stef
    February 2 2016

    I’m going with photo H as well 🙂
    Stef recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Definitely the reader favorite this week! Bats, who knew?!

  • lisa
    February 2 2016

    Photo ‘H’…took my breath away 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Thanks Lisa! That’s a huge compliment for any photographer!

  • Melanie Fontaine
    February 3 2016

    I’m going to go with Photo B! Hundreds of bats and a stunning sunset sound like quite the spectacle! Can’t wait to read about this trip eventually! 🙂
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..

  • Julia Nix
    February 3 2016

    photo b. it’s a classic because the beach movie inspired a lot of travellers. 🙂

  • Emily
    February 3 2016

    I have to go with B… But H looks like it was an incredible experience as well!

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      The whole thing was a dream 🙂 Can’t wait to share the rest of my snaps!

  • Cate
    February 3 2016

    I really love that last one!! Its so mysterious and you had perfect timing. Although, all your photos are beautiful, Meihoukai!!!

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Thanks Cate! It was a pretty photogenic destination!

  • lara dunston
    February 3 2016

    Love the framing of Photo G, although shame you didn’t see any elephants; Photo C, D & E really insert me into the narrative; but I also love the magazine-style imagery of the B pics. Nice stuff.

    And lovely to be introduced to some different blogs. I don’t know any of these, although admittedly I’m so busy myself I don’t often get past a few favourite blogs 🙂 But I will definitely check these out.
    lara dunston recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      It is indeed a shame about the elephants! I have really good luck typically with wildlife so I think I was almost a bit surprised, ha. But I’ll be back, and maybe second time will be a charm…

  • janice stringer
    February 3 2016

    Photo C – Because it reminded me of Australia! Is that bad 😉
    janice stringer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      I’ve never been yet I can still see what you mean! It’s what I imagine Australia to look like.

  • Sara
    February 3 2016

    I can’t get over how beautiful A is (such gorgeous light!), but I LOVE the framing of G and the feeling of wonder and mystery from H. I can see why this had to be an extended edition! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Thanks Sara! Yeah, I’m loving life on Koh Tao but I do perhaps get a tad overexcited at having some new subjects to photograph every once in a while 🙂

  • Amanda | The Backpack Lass
    February 3 2016

    I’m absolutely terrified of bats, but Photo H is a sight you don’t see everyday, amazing shot!
    Amanda | The Backpack Lass recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      I’ve only seen something like it twice in my life, both times in Thailand. One was in Lopburi, the other was here!

  • Eva Casey
    February 3 2016

    Photo H for sure!! Such a cool shot!
    Eva Casey recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      I love Photo of the Week because I can never guess which is going to be all y’alls favorite. I love when there’s a clear winner and I’m surprised by it!

  • Miriam
    February 3 2016

    Love, love, love this! I’ve wanted to visit Khao Yai since forever and by the look of it, it’s a stunner. Looking forward to your DYI post.
    Miriam recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Definitely! I wanted to go for a while too but I’m glad I waited as this was the perfect circumstances and I enjoyed it 100X more than I would have had I joined a tour. It was brilliant!

  • Marni
    February 3 2016

    I love every photo in this post (how cool are the bats?!?!) but I have to give it to Photo A. I started at A for a really long time before remembering there were other photos. I’m looking forward to reading a full post about it! 🙂
    Marni recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Love that, Marni 🙂 I’m looking forward to posting it!

  • Ijana
    February 3 2016

    It looks gorgeous! I love National Parks, so I can’t wait for your post on how to do a DYI trip for when I make my way to Thailand.

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Me too and this was an amazing one! So clean and well organized, once you get there! (Not easy to plan ahead of time due to lack of web info and easy booking…)

  • Kevin
    February 3 2016

    All of the photo is amazing. But I like photo G. It’s perfect.. 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Thanks Kevin! I can’t wait to post the rest from that set!

  • Mary B
    February 4 2016

    H is just gorgeous – not a term I usually use in reference to bats!
    Mary B recently posted..

  • Soot
    February 4 2016

    G for sure. The others are nice but something about the colour, angle and ratio of this one stands out

  • Dominique
    February 5 2016

    Gorgeous pics, Meihoukai, and so much to choose from! Photo B is beautiful, not just because of the waterfall but mainly because of the fern picture next to it. The combination just works well together! The sunset and the bats are pretty spectacular too though, that must’ve been quite a sight!
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 9 2016

      I just couldn’t believe how long it lasted. I kept thinking that surely the bats would run out any moment but nope — they kept flyin’!

  • Becky
    February 6 2016

    I like photo H – we went there last year and couldn’t believe how many bats came out of that cave! It was really hard getting a good photo – yours is great! Did you go inside one of the bat caves?
    Becky recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 9 2016

      Thanks Becky — I crawled on top of the van to get that shot. We did go in another cave before this which was filled with bats. I strangely think they’re adorable!

  • Susan
    February 6 2016

    Defiantly picture H. Great colors:)

    • Meihoukai
      February 9 2016

      Thanks Susan! Loved putting together this post.

  • Jenny
    February 8 2016

    I have to chime in for H, I love that trail of bats in the sky!
    Jenny recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 9 2016

      I wish I’d taken some video now as well. It was hypnotizing to watch!

  • Sabine Müller
    February 8 2016

    First I thought I go with A, but the H is definitely my favorite!!

    • Meihoukai
      February 9 2016

      It seems to be the popular choice this week. Thanks for voting!