Waking at 5.30am is not everyone’s cup of tea, however it was well worth it this morning. We had made an impromptu booking on Wednesday evening to see the sunrise on Thursday morning. It meant driving from Cave Lodge at 6am up a road to an altitude just under a 1,000 metres (3,000 feet).
We were treated to a full moon and stars in the West and a faint orange glow in the East. The glow became brighter to reveal the peaks of caste hills and trees above the sea of mist below. As the sun rose (the picture cannot do it justice) we saw the wonderful vista of hills in both the foreground and background.
All seven of us (3 Brits and 4 Aussies) were wonderfully treated by our Thai guide who thoughtfully brought a flask of hot water with tea and coffee. Although the weather was not cold by UK standards ie no frost, the clear sky meant a hot drink was luxuriously welcome to enhance our pleasure. It was equally enhanced by there only being seven people. Heaven for anti social Noel who is tourist phobic.
Our day of peace and quiet continued as we decided to find the exit of nearby Lod Cave. At sunset the swifts fly in and the bats fly out of the exit as a change over. It is meant to be spectacular and we had failed to find the cave exit on Wednesday evening. So armed with an Aussie style “mud map” and pointed by locals to a sign we crossed a small bamboo bridge over the river and soon had arrived at the mouth of the cave exit. We knew this because of the river coming out of the mouth of a 20 metre high cave and bat dropping which were everywhere. The smell of droppings in the cave was overwhelming and not pleasant. Sadly on the walk we did not encounter a single tourist. Noel was most upset (not).
To cap the day we went to our local restaurant for lunch and unfortunately it was empty. We had to eat alone without the company of other tourists!
Our evening was a similar delight as we watched thousands upon thousands of tiny swifts swoop into the Lod cave exit at dusk. This time we shared with six other people, pretty good, said Noel. This went on for a least 30 minutes with no sign of the swifts numbers dwindling. We decided as it was getting dark not to wait for the bats as it was an unlit path back to Cave Lodge.
On our return there was enough hot water for us both to shower. We had missed the hot water the last 2 days and cold water showers only work in warmer climates. Back to our favourite restaurant for dinner and would you believe it? We had to share with three tourists. Close enough said Noel.