We had always heard that Kanchanaburi was a beautiful place to visit and it is also home to the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’. The bridge was part of the death railway to Burma, built by POW’s working for the Japanese during WWII under the most horrific conditions imaginable. We visited the bridge in the early morning when there were less people on it (it’s a very popular site). We could see evidence of bomb damage on some of the bridge pillars.
Later on we took a walk to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetary, it was so sad to think of what these poor people went through and I was shocked to see that most of them were in their early twenties when they died.
During our walk we saw this long line of ice cream tuk tuk’s and they were all playing the ‘ice cream jingle’ that tells you the ice cream cart is in your area. We didn’t know why there was an ice cream parade but it was cool – ha ha.
Erawan National Park is close to Kanchanaburi so we decided to do a day trip out there and the tour included additional sites for the afternoon. We didn’t know if we would see much ‘water falling’ because it’s the dry season but there was still some water and the falls were pretty. There are 7 waterfalls and we hiked up to waterfall 6, we skipped 7 because our tour guide said it was dry. We could imagine how beautiful they would be in the wet season so we might make a quick trip back here to check it out again. On our hike we noticed a tree that was wrapped in prayer flags and colourful silk garments, it must have some religious significance.
We had lunch at the National Park and then headed to Hellfire Pass. It was the largest rock cutting on the railway and it was chipped away by hand by POW’s under forced labour during WWII. We first visited the museum that is dedicated to those that built the railway and endured tremendous suffering. We listened to the audio tour that had interviews from some of the survivors telling accounts of the brutality, disease, and unimaginable work conditions that they had to suffer through.
After Hellfire Pass, we made our way to Sai Yok where we were SUPPOSED to board the train to cross the wooden viaduct and then be taken back to Kanchanaburi. BUT being the sometimes clumsy person that I am (anyone who knows me, knows that I fall down), I fractured my ankle. We went inside Krasae Cave near the train station that was used as a makeshift medical center for the POW’s (Gordon must have known something wasn’t going to go right because he wanted to stop right near the entrance but silly me I wanted to go farther in). As I was walking along I stepped into a pretty big hole and fractured my ankle just before we were supposed to catch the train.
Instead of catching the train, Gordon carried me out of the cave to the train platform. Some nice girls ordered some ice for me because my ankle was the size of a baseball almost immediately (not a good sign). Our very sweet tour guide quickly made arrangements for the other people on our tour and secured a van to take me to the hospital in Sai Yok (a very small rural community hospital). I was looked at right away and taken in for x-rays which showed a fracture but thankfully it wasn’t displaced. They put a half cast on me, we paid the bill (less than $25) and the driver and tour guide brought me back to our hotel. These people were so helpful and caring, the tour guide’s boss even met us in town with a set of crutches for me.
The rest of my time in Kanchanaburi was spent in the hotel icing my injury and laying around with my foot up. Things could have been worse and I’m thankful they weren’t. On the bright side, it gave me time to catch up on some of my blog posts.
Where we stayed: [email protected]
Good eats: Pizza across the street (I couldn’t go out anywhere for food)