Bridge over River Kwai & Ayuttya

Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
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Trip End Nov 2008


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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First stop today was the Jearth Museum which described conditions in the prisoner of war camp at Kanchanaburi. The suffering of the WWII POWs at this camp was beyond belief. There were lots of photos; mainly of Dutch, English and Australian men who were under the control of the Japanese.

We made an emotional stop at the POW cemetary where we read many of the testimonials on the gravestones.

Before lunch we spent a few hours at the Bridge over the river Kwai (or Kwae in Thai). Made so famous by the film by the same name, it did not disappoint. Amazing feelings as we crossed it by foot. The railway is still in use buy does not go all the way to Laos anymore.

The following day we called to Hellfire pass. This was so much better than the visit to the Jearth Museum. We got headphones and literally hiked up the mountain and walked through the pass that the POW's carved out of the mountain without any machinery. My God...what they went through. The Japanese were brutal; made them work even if they were critically ill. The visit was made all the more moving as the soundtrack we listened to had recorded interviews from many of the POW's who survived to tell their story. Listening to one story about how the view of the area kept the prisioners going while we sat at the very same viewpoint looking out over the pass is something we will always remember.

3 Hours later we arrived to the temple town of Ayuttya which has more than 400 temples. We met our wonderful guide (who looked like Mr Miagi from Karate Kid!) who taught us about Buddism. Depending on the day you were born you have a different lucky colour and Buddha position (Saluds is Orange & Meditation, I'm Yellow and Protection). We grabbed our bikes and followed him around the various temples including one where a buddha head had been lifted off the ground by the branches of a Banyan Tree!

We grabbed a songthaew to the river where we boarded a traditional boat and had a dinner cruise and saw more catfish.

Tired we boarded our overnight train to Chiang Mai.
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