Escape from Bangkok

Trip Start May 05, 2008
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Trip End May 05, 2013


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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kanchanaburi is a good place to spend a few days after the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. We took a river boat to the other side of the river to catch the 11am train from Bangkok Noi. However, there was no 11am train today so we hung around and waited for the 2pm train. It takes about 3 hrs to get there and it is a pleasant journey. We stayed at the Jolly Frog guesthouse on recommendation from other backpackers. A double with your own bathroom and fan costs just 200 baht. The guesthouse is a nice place to chill and is right by the river Kwai. The next day we hired a motorbike and got ourselves to the TAT for a decent map and they were very helpful in planning our time here. Later we travelled 60 km by bike to Erawan National park where there is a seven tiered waterfall.

The next day and following advice from TAT we got up early and caught the 6am train to Nam Tuk. It is a very scenic trip and travels over part of the Death Railway (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_railway) built by Japanese POWs during WWII. The Japanese were trying to extend westwards and needed a railway to transport supplies. The allies had control over the straights of Melaka so it was not possible by sea. Engineers estimated that it would take 5 years to complete. It was completed in 18 months and many thousands of POW's died during its construction. We visited Soiam waterfall, Hellfire pass and got a bus back towards town and stopped off at the Tiger temple. The Tiger temple was disappointing and you feel like such a dumb tourist if you go there. We hitched back to Kanchanaburi that evening.

One thing I noticed here in Kanchanaburi is that there are a lot of settled farang with thai wives. There is a really good bookshop just up from the hostle run by this big american dude who sits there all day sipping beers with his mates. They are interesting characters though and know the place well. It is defintely worth the stop here for a few days especially if you need a break from Bangkok.
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