Khao Sok – The Monkey Temple

Day 27


It rained so hard in the night it woke me up. I sheltered at the lodge restaurant in the morning hoping for the rain to subside, which it eventually did. During my wait I talked to Mr Bao a bit, and we had some monkey visitors, a macaque and her baby plucking bits from a palm tree only meters from the tables. They were sucking the oil from the plant bits, and let me get really close. They didn’t seem bothered by the spiky trunk sticking into their fur. After they left, a stripey little squirrel came to the same tree with a small tail. Mr Bao said that big groups of monkeys sometimes come to his lodge and he has to leave banger traps at his kitchen to scare them off, or they steal the food supplies!

I like to think he’s a really old kung fu master

When the sun appeared I walked about half an hour in the hot and humid weather to the main road and down to the “monkey temple”. Here the Dutch couple I’d met a few days before had met a friendly gibbon you could play with, who was raised by the monks. Unfortunately as I arrived, the rains started again. I found a cave with some shrines and statues inside and sheltered there on a little plastic stool reading, hoping for it to die down. Even the chickens and dogs had scurried for shelter.

My cave refuge

After half an hour of boredom I donned my poncho and went out to get wet. The main temple was shuttered up. The area was filled with trees and smaller buildings, loads of hens had emerged from hiding with chicks, and lots of dogs and puppies roamed around barking randomly at random things, probably getting into practice for the nightly dog war they’re so fond of out here.

At one of the out-buildings I saw a grey monkey chained up on a long leash. It was around a pillar so he could climb up to the rafters. When I got close he scarpered up there and peered down at me in suspicion. I left him to it. I found some cages nearby. In one was a massive black bird which looked like a rook. It had a pitifully tiny cage about twice its size, and it was pecking at the bars, poor thing. The cage next to it had a big red monkey in it, I don’t know the type. He was just sitting grooming himself and after looking up at me returned to his work.

Even when I got right next to him he didn’t pay any attention to me and didn’t respond when I stroked his foot either. His cage was very small for his size and had some scummy food remnants scattered around. I hoped he wasn’t kept here all the time. I wondered if his zombie-like behavior was a result of his captivity, or he was just not interested in me.

Towards the front of the temple was a big temple building under construction. The golden statues around the walls were still in cellophane and the inside filled with scaffolding. It was still raining and there was no sign of the tame gibbon sadly, so I headed home, passing some tourists who’d found some macaques in the trees nearby. I’d seen enough monkeys already today! I had a late lunch at the tasty restaurant from the previous night. The European owner is an old man with a cane and sight problems, who reprimanded me and the other couple there for leaving our shoes at the entrance and making it unsightly, bringing them inside and dumping them at our tables!

The rain didn’t stop all day so I stayed at the lodge, caught up on the internet and planned my next moves. I’d get a mini bus to Krabi tomorrow and then a bus up to Bangkok the following evening. It would be nice to be dry again, now everything I owned was soaked!

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2 thoughts on “Khao Sok – The Monkey Temple

  1. Dear Alan,

    Thanks for your sharing. I am planning a trip to khao sok and interested to stay in the same lodge as yours. do you have mr. bao’s contact?

    I ‘d like to ask him for more information about trip planning… btw, how long you stay in the national park?


    • Hi, I was only in the park for 3 days but that is long enough probably. You can book there via Trip Advisor and I think it also includes an email address you can contact him, let me know.

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