From Ayutthaya to Kanchanaburi are about 150km. Not that much, taking into consideration that I started feel the tuk tuk and got used to the way I should driving it. Or at least that’s what I thought!

That being said, around 3pm I turned on the engine and headed to Kanchanaburi, not before I had a little accident. As I was going out of Ayutthaya, I stopped at a 7/11 to buy water. But when i was about to park the tuk tuk, i heard a weird noise, like I’ve hit something. Nothing seemed wrong, so I said probably it wasn’t me. But behind me a guy in a jeep started horning at me. It seems that with my mirror I hit his. Nothing much, the guy told me I can go, but it just made me realise that I’m not such a good friend with the tuk tuk yet.

Bought water, turned on the engine, carried on more precatious!

When I was researching about this trip first thing I had in mind were the roads. Are they good, are they bad, can i drive the tuk tuk here? I must admit that I was surprised to find out that Thailand has amazing roads. Good shape, good connections between big highways, smooth asphalt and all. Just perfect to drive a three-wheeler around Thailand. And every car, of course.

First 100 km of the day were fine, until my right hand started aching again. And my wrist too. I stopped to a gas station to fuel up the tuk tuk and to buy myself an ice coffee. Even though it’s like you are driving a convertible or a motorcycle, in Thailand at the moment is so hot that I was sweating while driving.

I got to Kanchanaburi at sunset, with a big road ahead driving me to the place I should sleep tonight. The town is not that big, with only approx. 32.000 ppl. It’s not that beautiful either, or at least not after my standards.

But the town has a lot of history behind it, related to the World War II, that’s why I parked the tuk tuk at the hostel and went to sleep, not before I had a cold beer to cool off!

***

The sun is up again, but i’m lazy. It’s a beautiful morning, with a blue sky above. My hand still screams at me to buy gloves, so that should be on my priorities list of today.

I start to wander the streets by foot, just to feel the city. Most of the hotels, hostels, resorts and everything related to tourism is on the west side, along the streets adjacent to Maenamkway road. Funny fact, these little streets are named after countries around the world, so we will have England Rd, American Rd, Lao Rd, and so on. Couldn’t find Romania Rd though.

Kanchanaburi Tuk Tuk

On this main street there are also lots of bars and pubs. As the nights sets in they get crowded with (most of them) old white men having a beer or just watching a good ol european football game. Or maybe rugby, cuz now it’s the season. Though, not so many young tourist around. Just some, scattered around the street, eating or just walking up and down.

Kanchanaburi

I also visited the bridge on the river Khwae Yai, which is considered the start of the Death Railway. In 1942 Kanchanaburi was under Japanese control. Here, the suppressors forced lots of Allied POW (prisoners of war), along with japanese labourers, to build the Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, because over 100.000 people died in the process. That’s because the people working there had almost no food, no medication, and all the tools available were spades and hammers, and many of them often were forced to dig with their bare hands.

The living and working conditions on the Burma Railway were often described as “horrific”, with maltreatment, sickness, and starvation. The estimated total number of civilian labourers and POWs who died during construction varies considerably, but the Australian Government figures suggest that of the 330,000 people who worked on the line (including 250,000 Asian labourers and 61,000 Allied POWs) about 90,000 of the labourers and about 16,000 Allied prisoners died. – wikipedia

Bridge over river Khwae Yai, Death Railway, Kanchanaburi (3) Bridge over river Khwae Yai, Death Railway, Kanchanaburi (4) Bridge over river Khwae Yai, Death Railway, Kanchanaburi (5)

Now there is a train that goes along a part of the Death Railway, all the way to Nam Tok, where now it’s the end of the line, since the rail was dismantled after the war as it was in bad condition, and now is probably to expensive to rebuild it (and a good part of it it’s underwater, since the construction of the Vajiralongkorn Dam).

In the train station near the bridge there are often lots of tourists, both thai and foreigner, who wait to take the train on this route.

With these in mind, i made the plans for tomorrow: take the train to see the Death Railway. And maybe visit the cemeteries in town dedicated to the people who died building the bridge.

***

Since last night i went out with some guys i met in the hostel for a beer, i’m wasn’t  able or in mood to take the first train, at 6 am. Instead, after i enjoyed my breakfast, coffee, and a cigar in the nice courtyard of the hostel, i was heading to the train station to take the 10:40 one.

The wagons are packed. Maybe because it’s Valentines day and, from what i heard, it’s a big thing here. Lots of couples, young ones mostly.

The train is a regular one, even though last night i see one that looked older, and probably the feeling it would have been better. But this one will be just fine.

Along the way you can see the rural Thailand. Sugar cane, banana and other crop fields rest on each side of the railway.

First impressive stop is at Tham Krasae, where the train slowly passes Tham Krasae Bridge, the longest railway bridge in Thailand built during the World War 2, built in only 17 days during the WWII. Tham Krasae Bridge Also, there is also a cave, where the POW lived (some of them), and where is a statue of Buddha. For good luck, people pray here, and then they pick some numbered sticks. Each number represents a prediction for the one who picked it, which can be found on a panel inside the cave. I got number 15.

Kanchanaburi

From here you have a beautiful landscape towards the river.

Tham Krasae View (1) Tham Krasae View (2)

The final stop is at Nam Yok, where i visited the Sai Yok Noi waterfall. Not so impressive as i expected, but maybe it’s because now is the dry season. But i was impressed by the numbers of locals that come here to have a picnic.

timelapse2-18

More interesting it was when i got a ride for 10 minutes to the water source of the waterfall. Here i found some small ponds with lots of fish in them. Free fish spa :D

2 hours later the train heads back towards Kanchanaburi. If everyone was excited and loud on the way here, now everyone sleeps, hit down by the heat and the sun.

I ended the day in a local pub, having some beers with the guys from the hostel.

Kanchanaburi was nice, but the next days i will discover some new amazing parts of Thailand.


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