If you happen to fancy national parks then I would probably recommend Thailand with great enthusiasm.
This may be because I wasn't expecting it to be so satisfying or it may be that there was just that much craved freedom available to explore exotic and adventurous terrain.
Whatever the reason, it's worth the miles traveled and the money spent.
So grab your bug repellant,
clothes that will be soaked through within an hour from sweat and humidity,
precious tourist camera,
hop on a scooter and get used to the left side of the open road.
God never ceases to give fuel for the imagination in moments of wonder and yet, simultaneously, puts human attempts to shame. The architecture of fairy tale daydreams is pushed to brave heights at the act of being so humbled by the reality of His creation.
I know of only one man who's words could give description to the wonder of caves.
Took me 3 times to read Tolkien's trilogy till I finally began to see the beauty of the earth's depths from Gimli's descriptions and now come to find that his descriptions are the only ones that will suffice in conveying the other-worldly glimpse of it.
"...when the torches are kindled and men walk on the sandy floors under the echoing domes, ah! then, Legolas, gems and crystals and veins of precious ore glint in the polished walls; and the light flows through folded marbles, shell-like, translucent as the living hands of Queen Galadriel. There are columns of white and saffron and dawn-rose, Legolas, fluted and twisted into dreamlike forms; they spring up from many-coloured floors to meet the glistening pendants of the roof: wings, ropes, curtains fine as frozen clouds; spears, banners, pinnacles of suspended palaces! Still lakes mirror them: a glimmering world looks up from dark pools covered with clear glass; cities, such as the mind of Durin could scarce have imagined in his sleep, stretch on through avenues and pillared courts, on into the dark recesses where no light can come. And plink! a silver drop falls, and the round wrinkles in the glass make all the towers bend and waver like weeds and corals in the grotto of the sea. Then evening comes: they fade and twinkle out; the torches pass on into another chamber and another dream. There is chamber after chamber, Legolas; hall opening out of hall, dome after dome, stair beyond stair, and still the winding paths lead on into the mountains' heart."
The thought of going deeper is claustrophobic if you attempt to understand the weight of the mountain on top of you. But beneath the earth you feel the ceiling is immeasurably high, the columned rooms quiet, open, safe and enticing, away from the cares of the world. You FEEL out in the open. You feel like the clutter of your mind has been hushed into a calm and is able to take up new thoughts of wonder as your light reflects, like stardust, against crystalized formations.
The only thing I can compare it to is le Louvre. Quiet, clean marbled statues displayed in endless high ceiling rooms. Every item a masterpiece, every turn a new discovery. And no tour groups, railings or restrictions to make you feel as if someone has been there before you.
"...Caves! The Caverns of Helm's Deep! Happy was the chance that drove me there! It makes me weep to leave them."
The rest of the park is enough to lure you out of a mountain of treasure onto the next discovery.
Second stop: Phraya Nakhon Cave
A mountain of a sink hole that makes you keenly aware of depth, perspective and how incredibly tiny you are.
And then home by way of island weaving.
When did my backyard begin to feel so small...