Around Kanchanaburi


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June 24th 2006
Published: June 26th 2006
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View from Room S1 at the Blue Star GuesthouseView from Room S1 at the Blue Star GuesthouseView from Room S1 at the Blue Star Guesthouse

This is our view in the early evening. Beyond the hills lies Burma, and in the foreground runs the Khwae River.
Our hotel, the "Blue Star Guesthouse", is located on River Khwae Road, which runs parallel to the river. We pick a beautiful little wooden bungalow on stilts at the back of the hotel. Our balcony looks over to the river. I'm a bit worried we'll be flooded with mozzies but it turns out there aren't any really at all round here...

I'll try not to waffle on in this entry - the photos will speak for themselves. Suffice to say that Kanchanaburi is a town with a fascinating albeit painful history, but one which has an awful lot going for it. It is beautiful here - deeply relaxing, with people even friendlier than usual, many delicious eateries (not to mention a profusion of snack vendors), and a fantastic setting nestled between wooded hilly ranges.

The photos include some from 23rd and some from 24th June. On 23rd we explored the town on foot, took in the small but extraordinarily informative museum at the Thai-Burma Railway Centre and wandered through the immaculately maintained British-Australian-Dutch War Cemetary. Today we went on an arranged tour (not usually our thing but was well worth it you'll see the photos !!) to the Erawan
Hmmm...Hmmm...Hmmm...

I saw these while wandering around the narrow streets near the river. Any idea what this plant is ? Any clues much appreciated.
National Park, famous for its waterfalls. Part of the trip back we did oby train, on a section on line that was part of the real "Death Railway", a line of track that the Japanese had built to link the railway systems of Thailand and Burma, as part of their plans to conquer India and to cut off British supply lines to Southern China, which they were also attempting to get hold of.

Our time here so far has been both humbling and breathtaking. Look at the pictures for yourself !


Additional photos below
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Argh ! There's no escaping it...Argh ! There's no escaping it...
Argh ! There's no escaping it...

Thailand is football-mad. This board is displayed on the main road, outside a popular restaurant and bar. I see we'll be playing Elguador, then.
Hot hot hotHot hot hot
Hot hot hot

You can see bowls of drying chilles like this one everywhere in town. Uner the scorching Sun it can't take long...
ExoticExotic
Exotic

These lurid dragonfruit look like something out of a cartoon ! They are a bit bland but the real hit were the yellowish fruit behind them - can anybody guess what they are ? Answers on a postcard please. First correct entry gets.......a pat on the back !
Museum and CemetaryMuseum and Cemetary
Museum and Cemetary

Many Thai schoolchildren visit this museum and cemetary at some point. The museum is beautiflly maintained by a veteran's assocation.
Petrol a la KanchanaburiPetrol a la Kanchanaburi
Petrol a la Kanchanaburi

I didn't know it was bright red !
Erawan National ParkErawan National Park
Erawan National Park

A huge set of waterfalls in the park provides a beautiful spot for swimming. There are 7 levels - this is the fourth from the bottom.
Not for the ticklish !Not for the ticklish !
Not for the ticklish !

These fish, or "bplaa ploo-un" are to be found in all the pools. They nibble at your legs as soon as you get in the water. It's an acquired feeling!
In the poolIn the pool
In the pool

That's me waving by the way.
In the pool (2)In the pool (2)
In the pool (2)

And that's Alex...
Not quite Waterloo...Not quite Waterloo...
Not quite Waterloo...

This is the tiny Station where we got on the train that runs along the Death Railway. It's a proper passenger line, connecting Bangkok with Nam Dtok, not far from the Burmese border.
Kra Sae StationKra Sae Station
Kra Sae Station

It's a tough life for the stationmaster...
The timetableThe timetable
The timetable

A whopping 6 trains per day, 3 in each direction and only 4 in total either start or end in Bangkok.
Train back towards KanchanaburiTrain back towards Kanchanaburi
Train back towards Kanchanaburi

The train passes over a rickety-looking wooden bridge along a steep cliff. The original bridge was built by British, Asutralian and other PoW hands...
How green...How green...
How green...

"Please don't throw rubbish from the train over bridges". I guess any other time is OK then !
TrainTrain
Train

Nong Pla Duk is where the Japanese ordered the spur line to begin. It went on to link Bangkok with Thanbyuzayat in Burma.
The Actual OneThe Actual One
The Actual One

The Actual Bridge Over The River Kwai. Quite a sight for someone who's seen the film eleventy-eleventeen times...


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