A short Sky-train ride from my hostel to Victory monument allowed me to catch the 3.30 pm mini bus to Kancharaburi at a cost of 100 Baht.
The minibus should take two and a half hours but traffic getting out of Bangkok was as usual a nightmare and the journey took nearer three and a half hours which meant I didn’t get to Kancharaburi until nearly 7 pm.
I had not booked a hotel but had seen a guest house called Tamarind on the web (Agoda) that had been given 9.2 out of 10 score with Trip adviser so got a Tuk Tuk that I shared with two Germans and cost me 100 Baht to there and managed to book a room for 4 days at 350 Baht a night – I should have had a Raft room but a mistake left me with a different room not a raft but comfortable and great value.
The hostel is in an area that has a lot of hotels Guest Houses to choose from and has bars and cafes with good entertainment until the early hours so I can recommend the hotel and the area.
Now Kancharaburi won’t mean anything to most of you reading this, but, if I mentioned the 1957 film by David Lean called “The Bridge on the River Kwai” which detailed the Japanese death Railway built by POW’s from Thailand to Burma during 1942 -1943 and told you the bridge in question is less than 2 km downstream from my hotel you will understand why I came here.
Probably in Hindsight I would have caught the train from Bangkok that actually goes over the bridge for the princely sum of 100 Baht but you can do it from Kancharaburi for the same price.
Today is an American Holiday known as “Thanksgiving” when they give thanks for what they have today thanks to the sacrifices of those gone before them and as you know two weeks ago the world had a remembrance day (11/11) which allowed us to remember the sacrifices made by others so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.
I mention this because today I walked along the 7 km of track cleared by the Australian Government to remember the men who died building the Death Railway, I walked along Hellfire Pass where men died labouring 18 hours a day in blistering heat with only two bowls of rice to keep them going and I was knackered.
60,000 allied prisoners of war and 200,000 Asian conscripts worked on that railway in the two years and 45% of them died from cruelty (execution, exhaustion, malnutrition and disease), knowing that the railway would assist the Japanese there were many acts of sabotage which resulted in execution when discovered and I have to admit as I walked the line it brought tears to my eye knowing as one quote said “These men gave up their tomorrows so you can enjoy your todays”
Never let us forget those that gave so much so that we travellers can wander the world in relative safety and thank them for their sacrifices.
The visit to Kancharaburi is not all doom and gloom from the past and although the immediate vicinity is mostly relating to the film and museums there is a vibrant nightlife with street food and restaurants cheap and drinks ridiculously cheaper there was one stall advertising "Get drunk for 10 baht"?
The train station at Kancharaburi regularly wins awards for its cleanliness and flower displays and it is the place to go for a 100 baht train ride which will take you to the end of the line at Say Yok National Park and Say Yok Waterfall. I was pleasantly surprised when apparently a regular visitor stopped en route and gave me a chance to say I've been on "The Orient Express" even if it was only the steps. The journey on the regular train is fabulous so get a seat next to the window and just click away at everything you will not be disappointed.
When you arrive at Say Yok National Park you will be met by a choice of places to visit before you head back on the train and make sure you have packed your swim wear to take a dip in the Say Yok Waterfall before visiting the caves.
If getting out and about in the countryside and waterfalls ticks your boxes like most of us travellers hire a scooter or a car and take a ride to "Erawan National Park" and you will not be disappointed or I will refund your entrance fee, oh I forgot it's free - go anyway.
The walk upwards through the forest is cool in the shade from the heat of the sun and there are a number of waterfalls for you to chose from to take a welcome dip before continuing as you would not wish to miss any of them. I will say no more and let the pictures talk for themselves.
I hope you enjoy Kancharaburi and all it has to offer.