The original meaning of blog is an ellipsis of the words ‘web log’. In the late 1990s the word ‘blog’ came along to refer to someone’s personal website. The word carried connotations of an online diary full of photos, opinions and the quirkiness of a first person point of view. Nowadays, when you type the name of a destination followed by ‘blog’ in a search engine you get results dominated by corporate sites. Algorithm changes are about making more money, not delivering ‘value’, whatever that is.
I have climbed Khao Ra. I did it several years ago. I went with a couple of friends and a guide called ‘Nop’ that our resort organized for us. I remember going off the main road wondering where we were going in the pick up. Just as with the German couple in this blogger post I believe the only reason to get a guide is to get you to the start of the trail up to the top of Khao Ra.
As a slight digression: from a Brit’s point of view Khao Ra is definitely a ‘mountain’ rather than a ‘hill’ because it is well over a 1,000 feet in height. (It is 627 meters in height). Moreover, any 2 hour ascent is worthy of the honor of being designated a ‘mountain’.
When you climb up Khao Ra, one of the things that hit you the most other than the beauty of the jungle and the views that appear as you get higher is the scarcity of other people doing the trek. It is a great thing to do, and it is surprising that more visitors to Koh Phangan don’t take the challenge on. I see plenty of slightly daft folk running up and down the beach to get their middle class exercise fix; I see plenty of youngsters live the dream of being a Muay Thai fighter; but what I rarely see is someone attempting to go off the beaten-track in Koh Phangan.
Now, the path to the top of Khao Ra is well marked and following it is not exactly going off the beaten track, but it is a challenge that few seem to take up. It is a shame because it gives you a unique perspective of the island and makes you realize that the Koh Phangan people experience is actually just 10% of what there is to explore.
What feels me with joy is that this German couple did the trek with 4 liters of water and a snicker bar each. They went with no more information than a few notes they could pull from a forum post. Since I am posting an old skool blog this time, I feel (in my humble opinion) that this is real traveling rather than treating a visit abroad as a consumer item. Massive respect to the pair of them and I hope they keep the blogger up.
I also hope that someone reads my blog post and the blog post I am discussing and feel inspired to take on Khao Ra. If they do, I suspect they will look back on their holiday in Koh Phangan and consider that trek to be more memorable and worth doing than the clichéd night at the Full Moon Party.
Read the blog post here – thentherewasthejourney.blogspot.com/2012/10/trekking-khao-ra.html