The beauty of an open itinerary

Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
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Trip End Jan 22, 2013


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Flag of Thailand  , Kanchanaburi Province,
Monday, February 25, 2013

Kanchanaburi was not the quiet, rural town I was had envisioned. Sure, it's much quieter than Bangkok but I was imagining something of a village where I can take in a view of the mountains. In reality, it was much more developed with a few seven-elevens and a highway that had 3 lanes in each direction. Double decker tourist buses were zooming by all the time and it was far from a quaint town I hoped to escape to.

So I spontaneously decided to head further north to Sangkhla Buri, which is a town close to the border of Burma. The town is known to be occupied by refugees from Myanmar and has a community of different ethnic groups.
Great. Sounds like a town worth exploring!
I really didn't know what I would do there or how long I'd stay, but hey, my schedule is wide open so who cares.

I arrived at a hostel last night, and booked a dorm with 4 beds. I was hopeful about meeting other travelers. But when I arrived, I was shocked and disappointed to see a man, his wife, their 2 small kids, and their grandma sleeping in 2 of the beds!! They were very polite and nice, but I was just not expecting to share a dorm with a family of 5.
But once I shed my disappointment and decided to make the most of the situation, I actually had very interesting discussions with the man who turned out to be half Thai/Japanese and was fluent in English and Japanese. We spoke in length about Thai/Japanese relationship, the history of Thailand, Thai royalty, travels around Thailand and shared pictures from our trips.

Lesson of the day - do not judge a book by its cover. Special moments and interactions can be had with anyone at any time.
Not only did I enjoy my interaction with the dad, but the kids were so well behaved, they were better company than some of the adults I shared a dorm with!

Today I walked around Sangkhla Buri and its surroundings. Sangkhla Buri didn't disappoint. It is a very quaint little town with a great view of the river and the mountains. Across the river is a Mon Village were Burmese refugees have formed a community after fleeing the regime.
It was hard for me to distinguish them from Thai based strictly on looks. But I noticed a lot of women put some ivoryish paste on their face - some smeared it all over their face, some put if just on their cheeks. Some men/boys were wearing a sarong-looking skirt.
I really wanted to take pictures of the Mon people - but it seemed very awkward pointing a camera at them like some objects. So I refrained.
Even though tourists are few and far between, I never caught anyone here staring at me. It was almost weird, having gotten used to being stared at. When I did catch someone in an eye contact, they smile and shyly look away. Very sweet people.

Tomorrow I have a very long travel heading up north to Chiang Mai.
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Comments

swissphil
swissphil on

Great, this wooden bridge!!!

Oli on

Did you go into that temple?

tak on

indeed. i just read a nice quote this morn also, from mother theresa
"some people come in your life as blessings... some as lessons"

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