Waterfalls, death railways, and the bridge over the river kwai.
Up and ready with our 7/11 toastie breakfast we were tired after the last couple of days activities. It was a minibus today with a lovely guide who was very prompt with her timings. Erawan waterfalls are an hours drive from Kanchanaburi so I used the time to update the blog but we were soon there. I find journeys like this go a lot faster than back at home, maybe because we know what a 12 hour journey looks like now.
We arrived and were taken through lovely forest to the first pool, full of huge fish and clear as can be. We detached from the group and headed upwards and onwards to the next couple of pools, finding one with rocks to slide down into the pool. It took a lot of courage for us to dip into the water with loads of fish awaiting our arrival. Once in the smaller ones nibbled at you the whole time unless you frantically thrashed about. It was just like the fish foot spas and although now and again it would feel like a really big one was after you it wasn’t so bad.
It was loads of fun sliding down the rocks and plunging into the cool waters. Once our feet had been well and truly nibbled we left to carry on the hike up through an amazing forest filled with all kinds of trees, bridges and rocks to clamber over.
Each pool and waterfall was lovely and so clear, it was fun seeing how people coped with the fish too.
There were 7 levels and we reached just below level 7, some 1500 metres of journeying up into the forest. Although it was hard work at times it was really good and I loved the adventure, we had to be back by 11:50 for lunch and the tour guide had been very adamant about this. So we turned back after I had seen level 7’s waterfalls were all dried up. Lunch was pad thai noodles and really good, with fresh fruit for dessert.
Once everyone had finished we were on our way to hellfire pass and the death museum.
We entered the museum first and learnt more about the Thai-Burmese railway that the Japanese built, using POWs and labour from their newly conquered Asian countries. The conditions were appalling and many died out of the 260,000 workers that were forced to construct the railway. My own brief history is due to the film ‘The bridge over the river kwai’ and it was sad to read about how poorly they were treated in the reality of it all.
Once we had our fill of history we headed down steps through a bamboo forest and out onto the railway. It’s amazing how they built something like this on a cliff face and cutting through the hellfire pass.
It had an eerie feeling to it as you pass tributes and memorials to the deceased. There’s a single tree that has grown up and out of the pass in the 60-70 years or so the rail line has been out of commision for.
I wouldn’t say it’s a must see but it’s free and interesting, so if it’s part of a tour it’s a good inclusion.
Next stop was a cave the Japanese used as an air raid shelter and a train journey along some dodgy looking tracks built up and around a cliff.
We saw some tourists going rafting, where you are dragged behind a boat on rafts then left to swim back down the river kwai with lifejackets so you float. Like a different take on tubing!
The views were great and it was fun walking along the train tracks. The train arrived and we had left the tracks and made it to the platform.
It’s just a normal passenger train but interesting and a little scary going over the tracks we had just been on! The views were lovely and it was a leisurely 25 minutes or so before we disembarked.
We waved goodbye to the driver and it was time for the last stop on our tour, the bridge over the river kwai. Due to the film I think popularity of the place has been consistently high and it was good waking across it. It’s free and not much to do apart from enjoy the scenery and imagine what it was like to have to build it!
There was a great statue at the end next to a temple, but it was the end of the line for us so we walked back over and were taken to our hotel where the tour finished.
After a long day with lots of hiking around we were ready to relax, we went out for food and I had my first thai green curry. Leia wanted comfort band had french fries with a ham and cheese toastie. We played some more pool, this time it was more respectable but I still lost 11-6!! Definitely need to brush up on my skills. It’s nice to have something to do in the evenings though.
It was soon time for bed so we went back to the hotel to the sound of frogs and cicadas. Avoiding the cockroaches on the street crawling out of drain holes. Ew!