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Captain Yeller's Treasure Book.

The nineth episode: Kanchanaburi.

THAILAND | Monday, 16 May 2016 | Views [298]

Waking up early as usual for another special day. I booked a tour who picked me up at my hostel in the morning. Little later a local guide joined me and we drove off to other hostels to pick up people. An older couple who I shared the minibus from Ayutthaya to Kanchanaburi. Very interesting people, they used to live in Switzerland and got retired, sold everything they had and are starting a new life in South East Asia, they don't know where yet so they wander around. Very romantic isn't it. I hope I end up like that when I'm old. The other people are grandmother, mother and daughter, the daughter was living for 10 months in South East Asia and teaching english at a school. Also a nice bunch of people.

Our first stop are the Erawan waterfalls. 7 waterfalls above each other with natural swimming pools under most of them. If you want to visit them you have to show how many bottles you bring and pay 20 baht per bottle until you come back and show them you didn't throw them away. Great system! The first waterfall was already something from out of the movies, very beautiful, a girl posing under the water for a picture. I decided not the swim here since it was the busiest place, for the other ones some natural steps needed to be taken. I walked along to pass 2 other beautiful waterfalls to stop at the next where the pool was empty. Perfect place for me to take a swim. I changed into swimming gear and dived in! Within seconds all fished were on my feet and legs, such a funny feeling! Normally you have to pay for a fish massage, these natural ones are for free, lucky me! The views are stunning and it looks and feels like I'm in paradise. Some big lizard is crawling next to the waterfall. Life can be so wonderful! After an hour of relaxing there I decided to climb to the other 3 waterfalls and reach the top. This was no more following steps its more like climbing in the jungle. The waterfall at the top looked like a fairytail. All small asian girls posing and enjoying. I just enjoyed the show and natures beauty. Since its dry season the water was much less then usual and the waterfalls were pretty small but everywhere I could see the potential and on the bright side, not a single mosquito! Even with less water this place was magical anyway. There were signs for fines if you feed the monkeys but I didn't see a single monkey, I heard some sounds but probably more imagination and hope then reality. I decided to walk my way down and notice the spirit trees where budhists hang gifts for luck. I don't know much about this religion but it looks beautiful. A little futher two little local girls ask me to take their picture and they thanked me in a typical thai way with their hands together and a bow. Super cute! On the way down I see them play and slip and fall in the water, after I pass them they follow me all the way down. Before we leave, at the entrance my guide and the others were waiting for a meal in a local restaurant, very tasty!

The next stop is Hellfire pass. This is a historical world war 2 site where prisoners of war were send to cut out a train railway from Thailand to Myanmar by the Japanese. Many of them were western prisoners and asian workers and 10.000s of them died there. They needed to cut a pass out of massive rocks by hand with hardly any food (no meat at all), a terrible heat. The images almost looked like concentration camps people. First we walked thru the cut out pass, its unbelievable they did this by hand, you can still see the carvings, metal that got stuck and a lot of messages and roses placed by people to remember them. Its a beautiful view with a very sad background. We walked to the end and stayed there a while to observe and think about it. There was a picture from a boy who died there when he was young in 1943 combined with a picture from his sister who died when she was old in 2006 with the message, "brother and sister together again". The piture was from both of them when they were young. Like I said, beautiful but sad.. The museum just after it was also very interesting and sad as well, I could read letters from people there to wives from men who died there. Just imagine getting that in your mail.. This was a very interesting place to visit since it brings WWII information about Asia that I never knew.

Death railway was where we went next. This was also build by prisoners of war, a trainline that hangs on the rocks with only a river under it, while we were waiting on the train there was a cave close to it. We had to walk over the rails to get in, the cave is a temple with a golden Buddha inside and a way deeper in it. Impressive, I don't know the history about this but you could see signs that it was old and probably related to the war. A little bit further under the bridge used to be a prison camp, today its a resort. How times change things! The views of the bridge, the river, the floating houses,.. wonderful! We waited a bit more in the trainstation which I think is only there for tourism, full of shops and bars but nothing else near. The train came in and we all jumped on, tourists on the right side, locals on the left side. Once again I felt like a little kid, hanging out the window, enjoying the wonderful view, look down from the train who seems to be flying above a river. This is a very short trainride but it joins my top 5 of most beautiful and impressive trainrides I experienced. At the end the minibus was waiting to drive to our next destination.

Bridge on the river Kwai. A famous movie with a sad story. To be honest I never saw the movie but I guess its related to all above here, except waterfalls. The bridge looked like a bridge, full of tourists and you can cross it by foot but if the train comes its at your own risk. For me this was nothing special, just a bridge with bombs in front of it but it attrackts mass tourism, probably because of the movie. Shops everywhere and a bit futher a museum with world war stuff, I only looked at the entrance where a massive locomotive was standing with an old mercedes car on it and the message, Japanese used this train to transport bombs.

That was the end of the tour and the end of an interesting wonderful day. I went to bed with a great feeling, put my alarm for the next adventure, EXCITED!


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