Jungle Trekking at Night or my least favorite thing to do in the Thailand Rainforest

Updated post in 2023:

As my sneakers squished through the black mud and flooded trail I began to wonder why this adventure had not been designated optional.  The trail through the Thailand jungle was exactly what it said it was. The lead trail guide hired by our GAdventures tour was using his 9 inch machete to swipe fast growing vines from the narrow trail.  Walking between the dense forest was a challenge with a walking stick, however the stick came in handy as we started to climb the side of a limestone mountain.  There was not much mud on the trail at some points and we needed to grab branches and use the walking stick to balance and move forward.

Just when the sweat was dripping heavily into my eyes from the climb, relief was up ahead in the form of a dark cave.  Lucky for us we had flashlights on our heads so we could see where we were going.  We were warned to watch for bats. One did fly very close to my head and I flinched, just a bit.  After we got through the cave we resumed our muddy trek and it started to rain.


Soon we came to a clearing with a small thatched roof cabana. Nit and Nek, our young male guides, removed their backpacks and began gathering wet twigs to start our fire.  This was going to take a while I thought, and it did.  While Nit was working on the fire, Nek began wrapping rinsed rice into green leaves.  He poked holes in the leaves, placed them in a hollow bamboo branch with some water and leaned it over the small fire.  He used a second bamboo branch to cook coconut milk and green curry with chunks of chicken.  Nek built a second small fire and used a frying pan to make an omelet and then stir fry some vegetables.

Finally they skewered some large pieces of chicken on a stick and leaned it over the fire that was slowly going out.  Beam, our travel guide, scurried off into the nearby forest in search of more damp twigs.  The 3 of us awkwardly wandered from the smoke filled cabana area to the cooking area in the light rain.


The cabana area, while it did have seats, was being overtaken by tiny ants, noisy frogs, large grasshoppers and giant spiders. Meanwhile the chicken was not cooking. I wanted to go home. It was dark. I was wet. I was hungry and I really don’t like giant spiders. I’m thinking,  I am a widow and should not be doing this to myself!

Thankfully I didn’t have to go to the bathroom during this 3 1/2 hour trek and dinner adventure because I am sure I would not have walked off into the jungle by myself.  Finally the chicken was finished and I admit the meal was good but we were really hungry.  We ate quickly and politely tried some exotic fruits for dessert.

jungle trekking at night dinner
jungle trekking at night dinner

We packed up our stuff and were almost back on the trail when Nit stopped short and let out a Yelp. He had walked right into a giant spider web, with a local resident giant spider.  Get me out of here!


We scrambled back an easier way toward the Anurak Community Lodge and our bungalows. I couldn’t wait to peel off my stinky, wet, bug sprayed, ripped elephant pants and rain jacket. The shower was a relief and the air conditioned rooms were a delight. The bathrooms and showers were outside under a roof that could easily welcome critters.  We kept the bathroom door closed and secured our selves inside our mosquito netted beds.

As I lay down and looked up I saw a small lizard on the ceiling.  He looked at me and made a loud laughing noise.  I did not think this was funny.

Thinking about the one year anniversary since my husband had died unexpectedly, I imagined what he would be thinking about this crazy adventure I had go myself into.


We woke up early for a drive through the jungle to visit the Rakswarin Hot Springs.  We were the first tourists of the day but taken aback by the dozen or so military soldiers posing for photos by the hot springs.  It turns out the governor of the province was visiting these hot springs as well and drew quite a crowd.  Each of the 4 mineral hot springs was a different temperature, even one that claimed to be able to boil eggs.  I did not try that one.

We stopped to take pictures along the drive and also witnessed a sad elephant standing by the side of the road with a basket on his back waiting to take tourists on rides.  It made us want to call Lova from the elephant rescue center we visited in Chiang Mai and send her here to save this poor guy.

Rakswarin Hot Springs, Thailand
Rakswarin Hot Springs, Thailand


Back at our lodge, which looked like a scene from the movie Jurassic Park, we sat in the main open air lodge and read all afternoon. The electric was off for the day but the kitchen staff still managed to make us some pad Thai and serve wine for lunch.

I thought about Mike and how we liked luxury all inclusive vacations that didn’t require much work.  I am so sad by the loss of my husband but thrive by the experience of travel and adventures here in Thailand.  I know he wanted to travel and I hope he is here with me.

After this experience we will be happy to get WIFI tonight, if the power comes back on. We continue on our tour to the west coast of lower Thailand and more beaches.  Click here to read about adventures in Krabi. 

jungle trekking southern Thailand


At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

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21 Responses

  1. Addie says:

    Yikes, that did not sound like a fun day…safe travels home!

  2. Dianne says:

    I agree with you, giant spiders not my thing, but still what an adventure. Great writing…feel like I was right there! Hope no more spiders or bats on your travels.

  3. Natalia says:

    Jungle trekking at night must be an unusual experience. I wouldn’t like to meet those scary creatures like spiders or bats on my way, but it would certainly be an adventure to remember! 🙂

  4. WOW. This looks and sounds so incredible. What an experience to remember!

  5. Luci Cook says:

    That looks so beautiful. I wouldn’t want to go through that at nighttime but I would trek through the forest during the daytime.

  6. ashleyb21 says:

    Such Gorgeous pictures It looks like an adventure. My husband and boys would love this. Im afraid of the dark so don’t know if I would be brave enough but its so pretty I might be willing to give it a try.

    • runawaywidow says:

      The country was absolutely beautiful it was just a crazy challenge to trek at night. Definitely not in my comfort zone.

  7. Ooh, I think this is something that sounds better on paper than in real life! I don’t like exploring in the dark!

  8. Quite the adventure. The giant spiders and their webs would have finished me off!

    • runawaywidow says:

      So true – I have not done any nighttime cave trekking since that day. Those spiders were huge! Thanks for reading.

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