so, the plan was to go see a bunch of caves today and possibly go tubing down the river. unfortunately, we got a *really* late start, didn’t get out of the room till 2pm, and then were done eating and ready to go by 3pm. it gets dark fairly early here so that really didn’t leave us much time. after a ton of confusion about how to get there etc, we rented a scooter and were off.
the whole area around here is surrounded by huge limestone cliffs that tower above the forests below. they looks really impressive and are filled w/ many different caves and passageways. the first cave we saw was called tham jang. it’s the most famous cave in this area and was pretty huge. we wandered around in there for a while checking out all the cool stalagmite and stalactite formations. although the caverns in this place were really huge, it didnt go all that deep and we were able to see everything there was to see in only like 15 minutes.
after that, jamie went back to the room, and i decided to try to see at least one more cave before it got completely dark. across the nam song river, there’s this long road that has small winding paths leading to various caves. i picked one at random and followed these flags that got me to the cave entrance. there was a guide there who led me thru the cave. it ended up being hella cool! unlike the last cave which was mainly just large huge caverns, this one was more like a series of tiny passageways thru the rock. it was fun to scramble thru the cave, crawling under super low overpasses, climbing down rickety bamboo steps, and just exploring everything. it was absolutely pitch black in the cave, so the only illumination came from the flashlights that the guide and i were carrying. the guide was pretty helpful and pointed out some bats hanging from the ceiling and some fish swimming in tiny pools below… stuff i would have never spotted on my own.
i finished the cave tour just as it was getting dark and headed back. the road back was covered w/ garbage on both sides… just like all the other roads everywhere around here. it’s really sad. here (and in thailand and cambodia) they have no concept of not littering. everyone just throws their garbage where ever they feel like it, whether that happens to be on the side of the road, into the jungle, into the river, or any other pristine place. there’s garbage piles everywhere, and when the garbage accumulates, they just light it on fire. i remember reading an article about the full moon parties before i came here and the article said how totally littered the beach is after the party and how you see tons of trash, plastic bottles, and god knows what floating in the water. i remember thinking “damn those bastard tourists for destroying the untainted environment”… but it’s not the tourists. it’s the locals that do most of the damage here and really have no regard. *sigh*. maybe someday that’ll change….