Saddle Sores and Waterfalls

Trip Start Jan 29, 2003
Trip End Feb 01, 2004

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Sunday, March 30, 2003

29th March 2003:
I was gobsmacked to find Steve arrive at mine on time, at quarter to 8 as planned. We both got checked out then got a metered taxi to the Southern bus terminal, which got us there eventually even though our driver did not speak 1 word of English, though my Thai is no better. From here we got a 1st class (bearable) air-con bus to Kanchanaburi. It took only 2 hours which was less than we thought, and from here we got a shared taxi to Sam's place - a recommended guest house, where we got a twin room for 150B/night. At that price I already like this place!
After a bite to eat we booked up a full day tour for tomorrow, which incorporates all the main sights in Kanchanaburi leaving the rest of today to ourselves. We decided to hire a couple of mountain bikes, though these bikes were barely fit for roads, let alone mountains. But they were cheap.
First we went to the Jeath war museum, Jeath standing for Japan, England, Australia, America, Thailand, Holland if you're interested. Though surely that should make it JEAATH museum? Ah well, who am I to argue? This was a bizarre little museum which seemed only half-finished with all kinds of random WW2 exhibits mainly concentrating on the POW camps run by the Japanese, including life-size models of the bamboo huts they used to live in, and the POW's themselves. Then we went to the WW2 museum, which had some good stuff in it as far as museums go. Did you know that when the Bridge over the river Kwai was about to be bombed by all the B-52's, the Japs sent out all the POW's to line the bridge, in a vain attempt to stop them bombing the bridge, which was quite a clever idea, but it didn't stop the American pilot doing the bridge killing hundreds of allied troops, and making the river red with blood for 3 days, and an apparent unbearable stench! Every days a school day.
Then took a stroll across the 'Bridge Over the River Kwai', though I forgot to whistle the tune I'm afraid, but it was quite good anyway. If you're interested, the tune is the same as every school kids favourite - 'Hitler has only got one ball..........'
Went to another war gallery, which was just framed pictures then got back on our bikes & rode to Chung Kai War Cemetery which holds the bodies of about 1300 British soldiers killed in Thailand during the war. Its a very interesting place, and pristeenly kept. Some of the epitaphs are really good, so I'll try and get a picture up.
From here we rode to Khao Poon cave, which is spoiled by the fact that the monks have made this into a religious sacred sight, which you have to respect but the natural beauty of the caves is ruined by the fact that Buddha images and statues seem to appear on every wall and available space here there and everywhere within the cave.
After this we rode back, realising we had been about 15km on our bikes, and I had saddle sore to prove it.
This evening we made a futile attempt to watch 'Bridge over the River Kwai' which is shown every night in this one bar, somewhat bizarrely named Poo Food and Cafe though I was falling asleep after about an hour, and had to go back and get a few hours kip. I will try and watch it one day so as I can say I've been there!
Went to the 'No-Name' bar to watch England put in a very lacklustre performance against a team whose entire population couldn't even fill St. Marys. Still we won I suppose, and Wayne Bridge got a full cap.

30th March 2003:
Got an early morning call at 7am, then had some breakfast, and we were then hurled into some mini-buses and headed for Erawan waterfalls.
If you go to Thailand, go to these! 7 tiers of waterfalls, each completely different yet stunningly beautiful in its own way. My personal favourite was number 4, but only because it had a natural slide which went into the water, so I could act like a kid again.
I also had a swim in number 7, though we were told that crocodiles like this one, but 'don't worry, they are friendly crocs'?!?! This was the best thing, the fact that you could swim in virtually all of the waterfalls, it was only time that restricted me from doing this. Apparently these watefalls look even better in the wet season, though they still make for some stunning photos, even now.
We then had lunch, and headed back on the bus to Hellfire Pass. The museum here was really good describing in detail the conditions suffered, and the workload endured by the POW's under Japanese control. We then walked down to the actual Hellfire pass which is where loads of POW's died making this Thai-Burma railway for the Japs. A good little sight, and a good way of learning more about the POW conditions.
From here we went to the crudely named Death Railway, where we went in the Krasae cave and saw the original wooden bridge built in the war along the Death Railway before taking a train ride from here for 2 hours to Kanchanaburi, and over the Bridge over the River Kwai, again but this time by train.
Got back at 6pm, thoroughly knackered and in need of some food and some rest!
This evening we met Dave, an Aussie in the No-Name bar and had a few beers before heading back, because yet another early start was needed for going back to Bangkok.
This place, Kanchanaburi is definitely well worth a visit though, it has a little bit of everything.

I would love it more of you could e-mail me offering tips or whatever, any feedback is appreciated. It seems Louise is the only one writing to me? Well, back to Bangkok tomorrow, before getting provisions to take on the Asian flu stricken Vietnam as well as Cambodia and Laos, though I'm really looking forward to it.
Ciao for Now
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