Tigers and the tourist round

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
Trip End Apr 30, 2011

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kanchanaburi is just a few hours from Bangkok along dual carriageway - built up all the way very flat and pretty uninteresting.

Kanchanaburi is the home of the Burma Railway with the Bridge over the River Kwai.

The first order of the day, after checking into the hostel with a cabin over looking the river - very nice one of the best rooms on the trip, was to rush out to the Tiger Temple to meet the tigers.

An unbelievable experience - although it is pretty pricey you do get a good chance to meet the tigers and the staff make sure there are lots of photographs to record the event.  There were 5 of us so we went for the group upgrade which meant that one of us got to hold the tigers head - me I was happy with just a firm pat on it's back - thank you very much. The pictures are awesome and I enjoyed the tigers very much - they looked very fit and well looked after.

There is so much to do here so we signed up for a full day of events. Everything is well spread out so we were zipped around in a minivan. The day included:

Elephant Ride - Wild Animal Safari
Bamboo Rafting - White Water Rafting
Waterfall Visit - Canyoning ( I did climb to the top!)
Hellfire Pass and Memorial
Burma Railway
Bridge over the River Kwai

The morning events were really just the normal tourist round but enjoyable all the same. The visit to Hellfire Pass was extremely moving as well as informative. The pass is situated north of Kanchanaburi - the pass was carved out of very hard rock by hand.  The labour was supplied by native labouers and Allied prisoners of war. The railway was built in 1942 - 1945 and over 12,000 allied POWs died together with 90,000 Thais. The Hellfire Pass has been reserved as a memorial. It is possible to walk along the original railway gravel bed some of the sleepers and small pieces of track are still in place.

The railway is till in daily use but some of the routing has been changed. We were able to walk along the trestle which was a bit scary - the orginal smaller guage rails have been retained in some areas. 

The wooden supports have been mainly replaced but it is possible to spot the original ones as they a rounded and much paler than the newer ones.. 
We got on the train and travelled down the track and once off the trestle it fairly shifted along. The tain carriages were pretty old with wooden seats and windows that fully opened to the elements. I am not sure how old.

The last stop of the day was at the Bridge over the River Kwai - which I was disappointed to find doesn't cross the Kwai at all!!! The river at that point is something else...

The bridge was bombed - by us- during the war so it is not completely original.

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