Published: February 14th 2008January 28th 2008
Sunset at river Kwai bridge
We took a minivan and arrived at Kanchanaburi at around 12pm, proceed to check in our guest house. There we met our new friend called Bew, a Thai student who was doing his training on hospitality subject in the guest house. He was kind and very helpful and was quite a shy guy I must say! We rented a rafthouse which was actually floating on the river Kwai! Which offering very pleasant and charming atmosphere. A stunning view and fantastic nature sound, the river was so still and clean and I started to love it. The sunset was ace but we were quite dizzy in the first day as the room was waving up and down everytime the boats passing by, it’s funny and we were getting used to it on the following days.
After filled up our stomachs (chicken and pork fried rice from a local old coffee shop which was so delicious!) we booked our Tiger Temple trip from our guest house and we eventually headed off to the long waiting tiger temple! I was so keen to pat all the mighty tigers!! The tuk-tuk took approximately 1 hour to reach the destination. Upon entering the forest, we
need to sign a waiver and pay 30B for the ticket. And we began with the 5 months old tiger baby who was very playful, I pat him peacefully while he was biting an empty can, he was always submitted to the monks and helpers. But then he fall down to the ground and refused to get up. It was hilarious! Somehow the monk had successfully got him up again. We then further up to the canyon for the older tigers, the tigers were all basking in the sunshine and we were a bit late to the canyon so the visiting hours were in full swing. There were some important tips for the visitors: don’t make loud noises, don’t wear bright colours or perfume and most importantly, never turn your back on a tiger, tiger hates it and may get you trouble! I was quite nervous for the first time as they were all very big!! But sooner I started to love them! I was even delighted to walk them home to their cages, and one of the tiger was shitting on a man’s leg while walking him home!!! Oh what an unlucky boy! After that, there’s another feeding session
This is only small part of Muang Boran
for the other animals such as oxes, hogs, ponies, chickens, deer, wild boar and peacock etc. it was such a great experience to be surrounded by wildlife! Thoroughly memorable experience!
And then of course another famous place is the River Kwai Bridge. It was made famous internationally by the academic winning film called “Bridge on the River Kwai”. It was built by POWs and Asian laborers during World War two to travel Japanese supplies between Burma and Thailand. This Japanese railway was horribly cost the lives of approximately 15,000 POW's and 100,000 civilians as a result of sickness, disease, malnutrition, exhaustion or mistreatment during the construction! That’s why sometimes it’s called “Death railway”. The bridge was bombed several times but it was rebuilt again after WW2. We spent some time walked across the bridge with extra cautions as we might fall into the river once we were careless, and for those who haven’t been there, you need to watch out for the train! The bridge was still in use today. The sunset was really great!
There’re few very interesting museums over Kanchanaburi and we managed to visit 3 of them, and I think Thailand-Burma railway museum was
He's only 5 months old!
the most informative one. It was just next to Allied Prisoners cemetery in Kanchanaburi and built to tell the story of the Thailand-Burma railway. The railway ran from Nong Pladuck in Thailand to Thanbuyuzayat in Burma and was built by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. This Center is fully air-conditioned and offers the visitor an educational and moving experience. While another museum - JEATH museum had been constructed in the form of an Allied prisoner of war camp and contains belongings, photos, and pictures dating from the WWII, donated by the survived prisoners. From photos, I saw most of the men looked like skeletons, and they were only given a bowl of plain rice and little water to go on. It was really sad to look into such a daily life. (Or should I call it a life?) .
The sadness goes on when we visited to Allied Prisoners war cemetery which is about 7000 soldiers buried there, who perished during the construction of the Death Railway. It was very impressed to see the cemetery has been very well cared by Thailand. You could see more than 6000 graves of which 3,000 something are British, 1000
Bigger tiger at canyon
What's his name again?
more are Australian and 2,000 something are Dutch. This cemetery is among one of the other two cemeteries which was located on the site of the former POWs’ base camp. Most of them were just young men and barely in their twenties. If you read on their headstone, you might shed a few tears as it was very very moving.
Well, and one day we visited a temple which was located opposite the river and I was told by my guidebook that there’s a “floating nun show” in the temple but what I actually expected earlier was to climb up into this temple and get inside the cave from a dragon mouth. I knew it from elsewhere on internet long ago. So I was quite excited when knowing that there’s another show called “floating nun show”, a miracle that a nun could float on the water! I thought it would be something like Chinese’s WuXia fiction! But I turned up quite disappointed when I found out the nun was not completely “sitting/floating” on the water, but perhaps I was over expected after knowing so many WuXia fictions thingy. It was a very silly expectation! Ha! But the MOST disappointed
Walking the tigers home!
thing was I didn’t find any dragon’s mouth, body or tail!! We did see the stairs up into the cave, but wasn’t any mouth like I’d seen on internet before. We then left out wondering what’s been happened to this temple before!
Hmm, kanchanaburi night times was simple, there’re loads of markets around, and of course bars too! We have been enjoying the bars which were ok, except the killing mosquitoes! But every night, I ended up Changover (their local beer - Chang) in my balcony listening to the decent natural sound. And another night, we were pleasant to chat with Bew and Kurt at our comfort guest house. Kurt was a Swiss, who was being alone without any family member now. He had been to Southeast Asia a couple times before, and he came to Penang once before and was ready for his second visit and headed to Langkawi after that. He told us lots about his traveling experiences while treated us some Swiss chocolates that he has been carrying along the road. Sadly I couldn’t mark the different!
After the hangover night, we were almost missed out our train and thanks to Bew who promised to
make us breakfast and he really made it at 6am! After wolfing our breakfast, Bew asked for a picture together, and then after a quick goodbye to Kurt and Bew, we quickly hopped on the train and set off to Thonburi, headed to Khaso San Road!
Khao San road is definitely one of the backpackers’ choices to stop at while in Bangkok, it was full of foreigners and local Thais. Here we found everything people might possibly need: cheap accommodation, great street food, travel agencies, souvenirs & jewellery shops, tailors, massage parlor, yoga studios….and the list goes on. Lots of bars open on the street where tourists can buckets full of Thai whiskey, coke and whatever. It was fairly easy to communicate with the locals here, as they could speak quite good English. There’re mass of budget accommodation here and we couldn’t find the one we’d planed earlier. And to ease our heavy loads after the long walks, we simply choose one and took a short nap after days of hangover. At night we were supposed to meet Kurt here but somehow we lost our contact and we didn’t get his call as well. And so we strolling around
every stalls and eventually bought some t shirts and sit back for some beers again while watching the crowd passing by. Well, it looks like a foreign community of Thailand here. Quiet an excellent night spot!
We headed to Muang Boran (Ancient city) the other day which was about 40km from Bangkok, but was a long way from Khao San Road. It was not that touristy here which was good but the whether was soooo hot! We rented a bicycle to cycle around as it’s very huge compound. It is the largest outdoor museum in the world with 116 scaled-down replicas of Thailand's most historically significant structures built on 320 acres of land. It has the shape of Thailand inside its huge park. In there, we discovered the greatest architectural treasures of Thailand including 3 pagoda pass, the grand palace, floating market, Ayuthaya’s ruins, Lopburi ruins, multi-headed snakes, footprint of Buddha…… Etc. the architecture was so grand! It’s so great to have the overview of Thailand just within one day! A masterpiece that not to be missed! At last, we’ve to leave this memorable place and back down to Bangkok after the 5 hours cycling tiredly.
market is one of the largest markets in the world, and we went there with no hope of seeing it all, it’s yet another indescribable huge market and I believe anyone could easily get lost inside the market. We saw many things that we’ve never seen before here, some odd and hilarious thingy, even animals! We spent our time get lost and wandering around and I’d bought myself another tshirt. After all, we didn’t have much time for shopping as we got to ready for our flight.
So it was a farewell to Thailand, thanks for the Thai people which are always kind and friendly, and also their great culture and religions! We’ve seen lots of interesting things here like motorcycle taxis, elephants in the city, buckets of alcohol, waterborne living style, tigers, many images of king, Thai smile, Thai food, Thai Wats and loads more………..etc. Fang and I were really impressed of Thai people and their culture, it was brilliant and indescribable experiences and we promised to be there again in the future for the other parts of Thailand and then further up north to other countries as well.
There are more photos below