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April 11th 2008
Published: April 15th 2008
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I arrived in Kanchanaburi in the late afternoon after a very long local bus ride where I relied on a nice old lady who could not speak English to tell me where my stop was (don't ask me how I managed that). Kanchanaburi is a beautiful little town built as a kind of strip along the major highway to Burma. I decided to walk across town to find a hostel instead of taking a tuk tuk. This turned out to be not such a great idea since it was boiling hot and I managed to get lost on one of the two streets that make up Kanchanaburi. Eventually I found my way to the Jolly Frog, a quaint little hostel for only 70 baht/night (about $2.25). I treated myself to a western dinner of a grilled cheese sandwich and then hit the town to find a tour for the following day. Kanchanaburi has quite a few notable attractions for such a small town. I decided not to go to the tiger temple as I've heard that for such a large expense it's kind of a disappointment since the tigers are overly docile and everything you do is at an extra cost. Instead I booked myself a trip to the death museum, the national park hotsprings and waterfall, a ride on the death railway and a look at the bridge over the river kwai. We had a new tour guide in training, a cute little Asian girl who couldn't have been more than 20 who liked saying my name because she thought it sounded cool. The hotsprings and waterfall were wonderful. They operated kind of like an onsen where you have to wash in cold water (in this case a cold stream) before going into the hotsprings. We left just in time as a huge Russian tour group arrived. The death museum was very interesting. it was nice to see a side of Thai history that had nothing to do with temples. After walking through the story of POW's and poorly paid asian workers who built the Burma-Thailand line, we had a short journey on the railway that caused the death of over 100 000 people. It had beautiful scenery of the Thai countryside, but just like in Koh Phi Phi I had the odd feeling of vacationing at a graveyard. Next we ventured to the river Kwai bridge. Not surprisingly it's just a bridge over a river, not a big deal, made for some lovely pictures though.
I arrived back in Bangkok around 9pm where I had to argue with the taxi line for half an hour before I could find a taxi that was willing to drive me back to the New Road Guesthouse using a meter. I was quoted up to 500 baht without a meter and with a meter it only cost me 111 baht. Kieran and I spent the next few days contemplating life and solving the worlds problems (we did absolutely nothing and it was fabulous). One day was spent at the huge MBK shopping mall simply because the air conditioned DVD room at our hostel was booked out and the MBK was a sweet 20 degrees or so compared to the sweltering 35-39 of the streets of Bangkok. I played an embarrassing game of bowling and lounged in the top-of-the-line movie theater all for less than the cost of a hot meal in Canada; after the stress of S.E.A. this was one of the best days of my trip. Sadly, after a long week in Bangkok it was time to move on and I bought into a false-advertised "government" tour package to hike the hilltribes of Northern Thailand, so I was off to Chiang Mai on a night bus with a squeaky chair and a delightfully chatty British girl who had also had the wool pulled over her eyes by the same agency.

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