This is part 2 of our month long trip to Thailand (have yet to finish the other parts!). Sorry it’s rather long but I found this area the hardest to research and actually get a feel for how to get around and where to stay so thought it might be helpful to others. It’s such a large area with so much to see and do. We hope to return one day and might hire a car as maybe an easier way to see more. I still have a list of things we wanted to see or places we wanted to eat at!
Caught the afternoon train from Nonthanburi station in BKK (I think our taxi driver thought we were insane catching the train...maybe because we aren’t spring chickens any more?) arrived at the station, bought our 100 baht each tickets. We must have looked odd (we had a suitcases plus hand luggage) and lost as an employee came up to us and between his minimal English and my non existent Thai he pointed us to a carriage on the train with padded vinyl seats and encouraged us to get on (I later realized other carriages were the wooden ones I had been expecting and was very grateful). Another employee came along and opened all the windows as it was very hot despite the ceiling fans. So there we sat for 30 mins then we were off. The trip took over 4 hours as we stopped for quite some time at one point ( I discovered this was to let the train going the other way pass).A friendly vendor kept walking up and down selling drinks in a bucket of ice and we bought lots (he even took our empties away!) there were food vendors too. We passed through rural Thailand, lots of fields and small towns, absolutely beautiful.
Finally arrived and a songthaew driver grabbed us, 20baht each, then we were at the guest house I had booked. We went for a walk, lots of guest houses, cafes, bars, massage shops etc, grabbed some drinks and nibbles at a 7/11 (only downside to our accommodation was no fridge but we figured all the walks to get cold drinks kept us fitter!) Dinner at Ali Bongo's across the road. Brilliant Indian food. Unfortunately it then started to rain and rain non stop.
Next day was still raining so alternated between relaxing in our tree house room (good after a hectic week in BKK) and going out for walks. For one walk my other half went in search of a shave and haircut (electric razor had broken) I found him with 3 Thai girls giggling hilariously whilst he very nervously sat there as they wielded a cut throat razor around his face!
Another was to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, couldn’t go in due to soggy grass but had fascinating talk with a lady from Adelaide whose father was buried there (she was allowed in as she was a relative). Had dinner at the guest house (would have been drowned walking anywhere) nice fresh cheap Thai food. Decided that despite the weather we had better organise something for the next day. Booked a tour that covered some of what we had hoped to see with KTC tours.
For about 800 baht we were picked up at 8am (still raining!) and we were off to Erawan falls. Half way there it stopped raining, phew! Our guide Dow was great. Arrived at the falls where we started to hopefully climb to level 7 (we had 2 hours) scenery and falls so beautiful! The walk was hard going due to very slippery muddy paths so at level 5 turned around, wore my camera out taking photos! My other half went for a swim once we were back at level 1 with the foot nibbling fish was rather tricky getting in and out of the water but he said it was worth it Off to lunch, choice of pad thai or a rice dish, could hear lunch being thrown around huge woks...one of the best pad thais I had in Thailand, also fresh fruit and water...perfect for long hot day. Off to Hellfire Pass where I learnt so much at the Museum about a war I thought I knew all about then the walk down the pass...lots of timber stairs down then along the old railway track thru the pass, I am not usually the type of person who "feels" that others were once there but words fail me to describe what we felt there. To build that railway in those conditions...
Next stop was Kra Sae Cave then onto the train for a short trip. Scenery awesome, though the train was packed full. Back into the van then we were at the "The Bridge Over the River Kwai". Walked over, realised our guide was rather white...she had never walked the bridge before and there are lots of gaps and it’s a long way down so we walked with her chatting. Arrived on the other side, where Dow took photos for us. Back in the van, where we were all delivered back to our accommodation. A long, hot exhausting day but one of the best. Too tired to walk anywhere so dinner at guest house then collapsed into bed.
The next day we checked out and were assured if we stood out in the street would get transport to the bus depot. Nothing was in sight so I started to walk to a sign that said taxi when my other half called out saying come back he had transport...hilarious...he had a motor bike songthaew! How we fitted on with our luggage and how that old bike kept going was amazing! I couldn’t stop laughing.
We then caught the bus (more comfortable than the train but the scenery was one town after another) back to BKK for part 3 of our holiday, the night train to Chiang Mai.