While I enjoyed Bangkok with its noise, dynamism, and nightlife I decided to leave the city for few days and explore Thailand countryside. I went to Kanchanaburi, a town located 200 km northwest of Bangkok. It is a two hours ride with a comfortable bus including AC for only 110 baht, (more info about the bus trip here).
In Kanchanaburi I stayed at the Tamarind, a guesthouse with rooms overlooking the river Kwai. It is exactly what I was looking for when getting away from Bangkok, a chilled out atmosphere along the river with no noise and not so many tourists.
OK, now Kanchanaburi? I bet none of you has ever heard about this town before! I had not, I heard it the first time when a fellow traveller I met in Bangkok mention it to me and says you should come with us and check out the place. I said yes.
The city is located at the confluence of the river Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai (yes the same river as in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai). It goes without saying the main tourist attraction in the city is around the bridge, together with several temples especially the Tiger temple which is nothing more than a park where you can see, take pictures with tigers.
To truly enjoy Kanchanaburi I recommend you rent a scooter, it is very cheap 150-200 baht for 24 hours. I rented one and with my friends went on to sightsee.
Our first stop was at the Bridge of the River Kwai, located three kilometers north of the city.
For a detailed history check Google, but long story short, the bridge is in iron and was built by Japan in 1943, to support its forces in Burma during World War II. Since many prisoners working on the project died from accidents, maltreatment, and also because they were many casualties from the war itself, the bridge is part of what is call the Death Railway.
You can cross the river on foot and/or take a ride on the train.
Right next to the Bridge you can visit two museums: The World War II and JEATH War museum; Both are war museums about the Death Railway.
After these different visits, a lunch break imposed itself, I grabbed something from the street, a simple fried rice with pork.
Simply made but delicious.
Later that night I went out, Kanchanaburi does have a “Khaosan road,” it is not as wild as in Bangkok, but it is noisy enough to enjoy a drink, some food, together with music. There are also many bars and pubs with TV, so it is pretty cool to follow football games for instance.
The next day was a relaxing day, initially, I thought of visiting the Tiger temple but didn’t. After all I have already seen tigers before, so I was not much interested.
I took my scooter and went to further explore the countryside. Literally with no map (except Google map, of course…) I just drove around, often getting lost; in this short journey I’ve met some fishermen, few farmers, and many rural Thai people. A shame none of them spoke English, (or shame on me I did not speak Thai), bottom line is we could not communicate between each other, our dialogues were made of few smiles, hands description, and thumbs up.
I also saw few temples, Buddha, and Budai aka The Laughing Buddha.
Later that day I dine at a veggie restaurant; there you could also make your own dish. The food was OK, I am not a vegetarian, but few of the folks I met there were, thus dining at that place was the only alternative.
Next morning, I was on my way back to Bangkok, and subsequently to Singapore. If you want my personal thoughts on Thailand and Thai people Click Here!