February 18, 2011
It was already late, past 1am, and we’re to go on a day trip to Kanchanaburi around 7am. Even though we knew that, we were still chatting nonstop. Then someone turned off the lights, we went to sleep. :)
Luckily for me and my cousin, that day was a holiday. Thailand being a Buddhist country observed Makha Bucha wherein they were celebrating Buddha’s first sermon to his disciples. For us, it meant that our hosts can join us for a day trip since they won’t be working. For other tourists, it meant that entrance to all temples are for free and that selling alcohol is prohibited (it was a full moon that night to boot!). hehe
The guys arranged the Kanchanaburi day trip for us. They booked at one of the many agencies you can find in Khao San. We’re paying 550 Thai Baht (1THB= 1.45PHP) each. It included van transportation to and from Khao San, trips to JEATH musuem, Sai Nok Noi water falls and bridge over River Kwai, an elephant and train ride as well as bamboo rafting, and a buffet Thai lunch. Sulit! :D
We got to Khao San at quarter to 7 and I had my first Thai dish there. Drinks and snacks were bought then we waited… and waited… and waited more! Our guide met us when it was already nearing 8! We could have slept more. Oh well. When we got in the van, there were 4 other tourists inside, all Filipinas. They were on the same flight as me coming here (and turns out, same flight back too).
First stop: Don-Rak War Cemetery a.k.a. Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
My first reaction, “why are we in a cemetery?”
All the while, I can hear the others talk excitedly to each other. “We’re here at the cemetery! It’s……” They definitely did their homework. hehe
The place was the burial ground for many prisoners of war who died building the Burma railway during the 2nd World War (WWII). Most of which were Australians, British and Dutch.
Entrance fee: 40THB each
“The JEATH War Museum is one of two war museums in Thailand about the Death Railway built from 1942 to 1943 by Allied POWs under the direction of the Japanese. The museum was founded in 1977 by the chief abbot of Wat Chaichumpol Venerable Phra Theppanyasuthee. It is located on the grounds of a temple at the junction of the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi rivers in Kanchanaburi. The acronym JEATH stands for the primary nationalities involved in the construction of the railway: Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland.” -wikipedia
Third Stop: The Bridge over the River Kwai a.k.a. Burma Railway a.k.a. Death Railway
Built by the Empire of Japan during WWII using forced labour to support its forces in Burma. More than 100,000 people died during the construction of the said railway earning for it the monicker Death Railway.
Fourth Stop: Train Ride from Tha Kilen to Nam Tok
150THB will get you a “first-class” seat that comes with some snacks (water, soda and bread) and a certification that you rode the Death Railway train ride. Otherwise, just shell out 50THB.
Fifth Stop: Lunch!
Our van was waiting for us at the end of our train ride. We were then brought to a floating restaurant where we had our lunch. Food was served buffet style. Though there wasn’t that much of choice, the foods served were good. Spicy too, a common among Thai foods which is what I prefer. hehe About an hour later, we then rode a bamboo raft that brought us over to our sixth stop.
Sixth Stop: Bamboo Camp
An elephant camp. :)
Also included in the fee we paid for was a trip to an elephant camp. We all got to ride (yes!) an elephant. However, should you want to feed them, 20THB will get you a small basket of fruits for feeding the elephants. They would also take a souvenir picture of you that you can later buy for 100THB if you want.
Seventh Stop: Sai Yok Noi Falls
This was our last destination for this trip. When we got to the falls though, there was hardly any “falls” to look at. Maybe because it was dry season? Anyways, we didn’t spend much time there but we did walk around to look at some stuff and to get some snacks. I was hungry! ;)
We came upon this stall that was selling chips made of taro, potatoes, etc (in plain, salty, sweet flavors). When suddenly, the lady manning it was offering me and my companions fistful of their products to try. Of course, I ate some (I WAS hungry. haha). They were actually pretty good. We got 3 bags for 100THB. Then, she did her sales talk.
Vendor: “Khun suway. Khun suway mak mak!” (while pointing at me)
Me: “Ah… What? English? Please?” (looks toward hosts)
Hosts: “She’s saying that you’re very beautiful” (do they have to laugh while explaining this? Tsk! Tsk!)
Me: (turns to cousin since she’s got our money) “Ate, let’s buy more!” :D (I’m sooo easy to deal with! haha)
Too bad I wasn’t able to take a pic of her nor of her stall. :(
Having satiated my hunger from all that free taste, next on my list of concern was to look for something refreshing to drink. Kcia, a friend of mine, kept on telling me to try Thai iced tea once I’m in Thailand. With that in mind, I made a beeline to the first stall I saw selling it. A few minutes later, I was a very happy person! It was sweet (I have sweet tooth) and cool (it was a hot day), perfect! The rest of the other tourists were already inside the van, waiting for us. It was time to head back to Bangkok. :)