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Fortunately, the minivan from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya ran and was surprisingly efficient, collecting us and delivering us door to door at our guesthouses. We stayed in the same place as 2012 and worryingly the lady recognized us. We only stayed the night as we had planned to have the parents with us, so just wandered the streets rather than doing and Wats and visiting the excellent local night market for random edible things for tea.
The following day we took the local train to Pak Chong, about 2.5hrs away for around 50p each. And from there collection to Greenleaves guesthouse which runs some well renowned tours in the national park. The guesthouse itself was, well, pretty poor and in an unexpectedly naff location on a main road so exploring DIY is impossible giving us a wasted day. The room was poor, bedding clean but poor and overall disappointing. We expected rustic but in a nice location but this was more of a dump. Doh. That said, food was fine and it is very busy with interesting and nice people. But, probably 1/10…..
However, the reason to stay there is for the people and the tours, and the first half day tour did exceed expectation. The Greenleaf guide was superb, nothing too much trouble and took more effort than all other guides. They found genuine native animals and gave interesting accounts of all, and watching 2 million bats leaving a cave was spectacular.
The full day tour in the jungle aimed to find wild elephants, which they did the previous day, but on our day all group were unlucky. That said, we saw wild monkeys and even wild gibbons swinging from the trees, a crocodile, huge lizard and huge tortoise and overall an interesting day just enjoying the jungle and beautiful scenery.
We did meet some lovely people on both days with similar interests and outlooks which was really good giving us some ideas for future adventures. As ever, always one know-it-all, best mates with the guide, been-there-done-it (or made it up) with a voice so loud it drowns out unsilenced engines. All travelers will name the nationality in one! Every time!
So overall the people and social atmosphere and the tours made up for the poor accommodation and we would recommend it, but suggest 2 nights only arriving early first day and do half day tour same day.
After, we got the train back to Ayutthaya and crossed the river on a 10p ferry, but then had about 8 hours to kill before our night train to Chiang Mai. We can totally blame the parents for this as we’d planned to use their hotel to store bags and spend the day with them. But with nowhere to go with our bags we just loitered and found a good bar awaiting the night train to Chiang Mai.