Thailand Hike, Thailand Snake

Thailand snakes are so diverse – there are over 60 venomous snakes in Thailand if you’re counting the sea snakes, and this is one of those that has venom, but he’s rear-fanged and has to get lucky to catch you good and bite down chewing the venom in to do any harm. If you wanted to test it you’d let him chomp down on your finger for a minute or two – like someone did with this red-necked keelback snake – which the scientific community thought was not venomous, and you’d probably end up in the intensive care unit of the hospital for a few weeks same as he did. They’ve since reclassified the red-necked keelback as venomous and potentially deadly.

These Oriental Whip Snakes (Ahaetulla prasina) are not really strikers. They are very calm snakes from my 4 interactions with them in the wild and there may not be a prettier snake in all of Asia. The body of the oriental whip snake is very thin – thinner than my pinky finger- and about as thin as a regular pencil in some places. When aggravated they turn from fluorescent green to the green-white-black pattern you see in the image just after the title in this first video. They also flare their necks – not like a cobra, but the other way – vertically – to attempt to scare whatever is messing with them. This one was just 2 feet in front of me on the path where I stopped to look in the trees because I thought, this is a snaky place.

 

I slowly maneuvered my video camera (well, Sony CyberShot which doubles as a video camera), out of my backpack and got a quick video off. I was lucky to trap this snake with my stick when he attempted to bolt. I’d have chased him but, there is a sheer cliff about 2 meters from where he is and the ground slopes treacherously downward – and is covered with sand… I like Thailand snakes, but I’m not dying trying to get another couple minutes of video of one. Not this one anyway – I already have some great video of this kind of snake (see 2nd video below).

 

What else? I caught a tree frog for my red-necked keelback snake – I’m keeping for the time being at home. I saw 2 big water monitors – well, they saw me – and went RIPPING through the jungle like Tasmanian devils – they must run 50 meters before they stop. They go like they’re on fire.

Anyway – that was my day hiking in Thailand. Internet is down so I took a day off after writing some articles. Anyone have any Thailand snake video or photos? Send ’em!

Hiking in Thailand

I went hiking in Thailand yesterday. Snake hunting really. It’s a nice mountain climb – about 90 minutes up, 40 down. I saw some footprints ahead of me – fresh. I never did see the hikers though. That was odd. There’s supposed to be one way up the mountain and one way down.

There are some great hikes here in Thailand but you can get lost if you don’t have a guide that’s familiar with the trail. Last night I was up until after midnight with a group of about 50 Thai rescuers trying to locate a visitor and his wife that had become lost on a mountain climb. They’d been gone 13 hours before being found. It should have taken them 3 hours. They were quite happy to be found before having to stay all night there. They were burning pages from a book to keep the insects away.

There are plenty of poisonous snakes and other pitfalls in the Thailand jungle – made worse by nightfall.

Always have a couple things… LOTS of water. Mosquito repellant. Flashlight – even small. 7-11 sells them for 70 baht + AA batteries. Long sleeves and long pants and socks with sport sandals or sports shoes.

Sound does NOT travel far in a jungle I learned yesterday. As I approached some monkeys in the trees I noticed – it sounded like they weren’t that close – they were almost right above me. Sure, 60 feet above me… but, it was weird and I noticed. Then, after I’d passed I realized I’d only gone 50 meters and the sound was very reduced…these were the howling monkees that make that supercool bombs dropping noise.

The idea of sound not traveling well in the jungle was later reinforced as I realized the lost couple couldn’t hear the beeping of my motorbike horn as I went all around the base of the mountain – even within 1km of where the guy and his wife were resting (because it was pitch black even with the full-moon).

Later I really got a shock when the policeman I was with fired two shots from his pistol into the air. I was on the phone with the lost guy – and he said he heard one shot just faintly and the other shot – not at all. He was only about 1km from there!

A whistle would still be a good investment to bring if you’re hiking – it will go further than your voice. Their voices were hoarse after yelling for so many hours.

Be careful in Thailand – it’s fun, but it’s literally wild too. There are Asiatic black bears that could attack you while you’re hiking. They’re supposedly the most aggressive bears on the planet and only about 100lbs.

Watch out!

Thailand Snakes FAQ >

Thailand Adventure: Zip Lines, White Water, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking!

Zip line canopy rides through the trees in Chiang Mai.
Zip line canopy rides through the trees in Chiang Mai.

I was looking around for something online and I stumbled across this site for a company in Chiang Mai, Tree Top Asia that offers:

  • Trekking / Hiking
  • Waterfall trip
  • White Water Rafting
  • Mountain Biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Zip line rides through the tree canopy

I’ve not been to Chiang Mai yet, having missed the entire north between Nong Khai and above Bangkok. I’ve heard that there is some mountain climbing and hikes through some mountains, but I’ve not heard of any company that offers everything this one does.

I think in general the kind of visitors that come to Thailand are those that want to relax, shop, drink, and see the nightlife. I don’t think there are all that many that are adventurous and want to go on all day hikes or adventures like zip line rides or rock climbing.

Even in Railay beach, Krabi, world famous for rock climbing there are seldom more than 20 people climbing the rocks at any one time. Unless they’re so high up they’re invisible.

Mountain biking? Does anyone do this? I see so few tourists on mountain bikes that I don’t think anyone’s really interested. The sports fanatics don’t come to Thailand – and that’s hard for me to believe because it’s such an ideal place for everything. I’ve considered getting a mountain bike about 9 times over the past years and I always put it off thinking that running is just as good. I’ve considered starting a mountain bike rental store with tours. I just don’t see that there’d be many takers. Recently I’ve noticed some online mentions of Krabi Bike Tours – which has some overnight and 1-day Krabi mountain bike tours. Not sure if they’ll pull enough business to make it. I’m pulling for them!

In fact, in Ko Samui they had a mountain bike tour company named Red Bike or something like that. The trails were awesome, but they ended up closing. Why? Not enough people I suspect. Their web site made it seem like the ultimate mountain bike adventure to me – and I was psyched to try it. The hills were steep and the views incredible. By the time I got over there they had closed up. I think the trails were too ambitious for Thailand’s lazy visitors.

So – if you’re up for a lot more adventure than just bungy jumping head up to Chiang Mai and check this company out. Seems like they have quite a cool experience to offer. Oh, they also have homestay opportunities in a village in the mountains. Lots of photos on their site and the prices seem reasonable  – like 2400 baht to 6000 baht for what I think was an all inclusive package. Got a break from teaching this October? Head up there before the rains get too bad! Let me know how it goes, or if you already tried this place.