Kanchanaburi Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
May 10th, 2006 – by: sheena_marie
woke up bright and early for my excursion to Erawan National Falls (a seven tiered waterfall) followed by Hellfire Pass, Krasae Cave, the Death Railway and the Bridge over the River Kwai. I stumbled my way down to the dining balcony for some breakfast. The place I was staying offered free american breakfasts (tea, bacon, eggs, toast etc.) but I'd been warned beforehand to keep away from everything but the tea and toast. So, breakfast was tea (with instant milk. Bleah) and toast with some sort of jam on it.
After breakfast I went and waited out the front for the mini van to pick me up. There were already a few people in the van when I got in (two of them the french couple that'd been in the massage palour the evening before). There wasn't much talking going on though and, true to form, I fell asleep on the way there (was kicking myself on the way back 'cause the scenery was AMAZING!).
Now, as I mentioned, there are seven levels to this waterfall and you have to hike up in and sometimes the trail dissapears altogether. You can swim in it as well (to quote my guide "You can swim, there are fish there but no worry, they not pirrhana" ROTFL!!!) and the water is soooo clean! There were also fish. Big fish. Which I bet tasted quite good if you could catch some of them.
Anyway, Erawan has this policy. When you reach the second tier you have to surrender your bag to them so they can see how many plastic bottles you have on you. For every bottle you have to pay 10Baht. After you've forked out the baht they write your name on the bottle and you can take it with you. You get your money back on the way down after showing them the exact same number of bottles as you took up.It's to stop you from littering and just throwing your bottles anywhere. It was working too 'cause the place was sooo clean!
So, we began our hike up the waterfall. The guide left us at the second tier with a "meet at 12 at the #6 restaurant". I latched onto the same french couple that I'd seen in the massage parlour the other night. Only the guy spoke english well enough to be understood. The lady was really sweet though. I'd stop for a breather and she'd give me this massive grin and go "Up, up. Go!" With a shooing motion.
It was a long hard slog up that mountain/waterfall. We stopped at the 5th tier and went for a swim... well if you can classify what I did as going for a swim. I was wandering around looking for a good place to get in the water (I'd been sitting down with my feet dangling in the water for a while letting the fish kiss my feet, but I was still ridiculously hot! I was dripping I was sweating that much) when the next thing I know I'm letting out this shriek and there's this almighty SPLASH!!
Bum, meet slippery rocks and curious fish.
I fell in the water. Thankfully I was only in my togs and bordies so my bag, camera and everything else didn't get absolutely soaked. I decided to just sit where I'd fallen for a while. I'd been feeling a little woozy from the heat and the water was just cold enough to shock me back into feeling awake again. I didn't get out of the water until some of the bigger fish decided that my rear end might actually be food. The small fish tickled when they nibbled... the bigger fish kinda hurt a little.
The french couple were long gone. I was just happy to sit in the water for a while. I'm glad I did. By the time I got out of the water a large family of wild monkey's had turned up. So, I had a tough decision (not really), slog my way up the rest of the waterfall and sweat like crazy again, or stay and watch the monkey's play.
I stayed. There were some tiny little monkey's there. They were so CUTE!!! I even managed to catch a picture of the smallest monkey playing Hear no Evil, See no Evil LOL.
I only decided to leave when one of the males started going a little bit psycho. He attacked one of the Thai guys (thank god he was wearing pants) and attacked some of the foreigners that were there as well. One guy actually got bitten. Thankfully he got bitten through the strap of his backpack so he didn't actually get BITTEN bitten. I got charged by him once. He was trying to get into people's bags (probably looking for food) and it was starting to get just a little bit scary. I didn't want to get stuck there or bitten (I haven't had my rabies shots, thank you VERY much).
I slowly trudged my way back down to the carpark and towards lunch. I was getting REALLY hungry by this time. I still had to wait 20minutes when I got back down 'cause I was the first one back, but when we did have lunch it was sooooo good. I had pad thai. Fried noodles with peanuts. YUM!!!
They split us up after lunch. Some of the group were going to go elephant riding and bamboo rafting (I'd done the whole elephant thing the night before) and the rest of us were going ot go and check out Hellfire pass. Turns out that there were only three of us who chose that option.
First, we wandered around the museum that htey have set up there. It outlines what went on there and has some of the few things they've managed ot find at the sight.It was kind of... disturbing to say the least.
After that we were sent down to the pass itself. This part was really jarring for me. I'd read and heard about all of these bad things that had gone on at this place and how many people had died, so I don't know what I was expecting. What I found there was not it though. The place is beautiful and the pass is haunting. It was hard to reconcile what happened there in the past to what it looks like today.
Next stop on our tour was the Krasae cave. It's now a temple (that smells like urine up the back), but back in world war II it was a POW hospital. As you're coming up to the cave there's this massive hole in the ground with a sign in the middle of it saying "BOMB". There were probably more like it around, but that was the most noticible.
The cave itself was dark, dank, and everything you'd expect a cave to be... except for the large, kind of gaudy, gold buddha statue in the middle of it. It was a cave, that's about all I can report about it.
The real interesting thing about the place was the big market that had sprung up around all of this. I bought myself a t-shirt (white) with two elephants on it and two pretty wooden hair sticks. There was also this platform (you could barely call it that) where you catch a train on the Death Railway.
We all sort of milled about waiting for the train. The thing about catching the Death Railway is that it's still part of a regularly used passenger line. So, we weren't getting on a special tourist train, this was a train that the Thai's catch to get from a to b.So, here's us tourists leaning out of the train tacking pictures while the locals are just looking at us and shaking their heads in bemusement at the wacky 'farang'. We didn't ride it for very long, though the scenery was amazing. Doubly so 'cause there was a storm rolling in.
Our next stop, and we almost didn't end up there 'cause it was staring to storm, was the Bridge over the Rive Kwai. We went anyway 'cause there were one or two of us in the bus that hadn't seen it. We didn't stay for very long, but we got to see the bridge.
After that they drove us back to our guesthouses. That was the end of the tour. I pottered down to the 7-11 to buy toilet paper, tissues (my alergies had fired up during the trip due to smokers. One lady commented that they wouldn't loose me. All they had ot do was listen for the sneezes), and a big bottle of water.
After that I showered and made my way out in search of dinner. I ended up at a little shop called Kong's. The owner came out to talk to me. He was an aussie from Cairns. I ended up staying there for quite a while chatting to him and just enjoying the company. Once I'd eaten and everything else I decided to go home shower again ('cause it was hot, I need to wash my hair, and I was sweating like crazy), finish writing my postcards, and go to bed. I was leaving for Bangkok the next day.
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