Day 5 - dawn
Temperature: 25 Celsius
Weather: Dark sky, full moon
It was 4:00am. The sky was dark and the full moon was high; hardly any sound could be heard. The city of Bangkok was sleeping but we weren't. We’ve been up and running ever since 3:30am this early morning in preparation of our full day excursion ahead of us! Anticipation grew by the minute, I couldn’t wait!
As promised, the representative from the private tour company showed up at the hotel’s lounge exactly at 4:30am. Having booked this tour two months ago on the internet, I didn’t know what to expect but since this company had excellent reviews, I just knew that I couldn’t go wrong…..especially if I really wanted to do this specific once in a lifetime activity!
Tall and slim, she introduced herself as Sally! I was screaming with joy inside of me since I’ve read good reports about her and deep down, had hoped to have her as our tour guide for the day. So far so good, I told Michel as we followed her outside.
An air-conditioned minivan was waiting for us at the front of the hotel. The driver, Mr. Tee was introduced and once everyone settled in, he drove down the street and into the awaiting highway. Cars were piling up but the traffic wasn’t as bad as I’ve expected. After all, it was still very early in the morning and not rush hour.
We had more than a two hour drive ahead of us; we were leaving behind Bangkok, the city of lights and heading west to the Saiyok district of Thailand in Kanchanabury province not far from the border with Myanmar! All unfamiliar places to me if you really want to know but I was soon about to explore them!
After a while, the highway led to a dark road where traffic became scarce and hardly any lights seen. As long as Mr. Tee knew where he was heading in total darkness, I couldn’t care less. I was taking a nap, a much deserved nap in the back seat of the minivan in order to be fully awake for the remainder of the day. By the way, so were Michel and Sally dozing off! :-)
A stop was eventually made along the way after a good hour and a half of driving. The dark veil from the sky had lifted and was replaced by the rose-pink light of dawn. We were now at the famous Railway Bridge over the River Kwai. Interestingly, movies were made here depicting stories of its construction and historical importance.
From what I learned, history has it that during World War II, allied prisoners of war were forced to build the 258-mile long Death Railway by Japanese forces; sadly 16,000 prisoners of war died during the whole construction.
In the horizon, the sun rose rapidly while the sky had this hazy look to it. Fog eventually lifted giving the Railway Bridge a haunted look as we walked across it from above the River Kwai. Interestingly, under another light, the bridge now appeared much darker than at dawn!
No one was around. We were the only souls to view the scenes which were amazing. Birds could be heard singing while the crickets emitted chirping sounds from below the bridge and along the river’s edge.
Peacefulness surrounded us as we continued to walk on the metal bridge while being careful not to stumble or get our feet caught in between the cracks. Part of the bridge has been re-constructed due to the original one being destroyed during WW2. I can tell you one thing.....due to this Railway Bridge historic significance and value, it made it an interesting stop.
Back inside the minivan, Mr. Tee greeted us with breakfast to eat while he continued to drive towards our desired destination! Looking at my watch, it was now 6:45am.Monique :-)