The Kanchanaburi Tales

Kanchanaburi Travel Blog

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PoW Cemetary
From our maps we could tell that our hostel was too far to walk but not really far enough to drive, so we decided to take our first cyclo of our time in Thailand. This is just basically a two-seater (only just) carriage attached to the back of a bike. It was a relaxing way to see some of the sights without whilst getting from A to B.

And it was at B that we would have our first experience of another Thai institution - ladyboys. It was then that Kyle uttered the immortal words, 'Are you sure she's a tranny? He's not very pretty.' My laughs turned to frowns when she asked if 'that is another one,' in reference to another employee, to which I said, 'Don't be ridiculous.' I was wrong, apparently, even though it was just a fat bloke wearing bloke's clothes but with long hair and his hair up.
Erewan NP Waterfall
Lazy.

The next day we started with a trip to the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, a good place to learn a bit about the Death Railway - why it was built, why so many people died - and seemed a natural progression from what we had experienced at the Changi Prison Museum in Singapore. Hard-hitting, it made the short trip over to the Allied War Cemetary even more humbling. It was there that I was able to locate a grave belonging to my great uncle, who had fought in the War with my grandad but ended up working on the Death Railway. It was pleasing to know that the gardens were so well-kept and obviously of interest to a lot of other tourists passing through.

Having done nothing stressful all day, and going for the hat trick, we embraced another Thai tradition: Thai massage.
Hellfire Pass
For those who don't know, it's not the case of a relaxing rub, but the application of pressure with hands, thumbs, elbows, knees and feet to the body's key pressure points. I was a little bit nervous, having seen some of the positions you get put in, but overall enjoyed it. Apart from a few dodgy moments - raking my calves, pulling my toes out like an accordian till they clicked and bending me backwards till I couldn't bend no more. I did feel for the lady masseuse, though, who had to touch and smell my cheesy feet. I'm sure she and the lady giving Kyle a massage were laughing together and talking Thai for that very reason.

An early start was then followed by a trip to Erewan National Park, to the seven-tiered waterfalls stretching into the Mar Nam Khwae Yai River.
Death Railway
With enough water from the last few days, it was a good way to chill out before another history lesson in the afternoon.

Hellfire Pass is a section of the Thai-Burmese Railway, so-called by the PoWs describing the cutting in part of the rock when lit up at night by torch light. The workers were often made to work up to 18 hours a day in horrendous conditions, and thus a large majority of the workforce died at this and other points of the track. After visiting the museum, you are given a headset that gives you a walking commentary of the area, with accounts of some of the surviving PoWs.

Despite most of the track being unoperational, it is possible to ride some of the railway. Although it was in essence just a slow tourist train over the remaining tracks, the noise as the train's wheels hit the track was reminiscent of the clinking of the hammers that the PoWs described in their accounts at the museum.
Crossing The Bridge
Then we headed down the River Kwai to the bridge there, made more famous by the film The Bridge Over The River Kwai. Although not much of it is original - it was bombed several times in 1945 - it was still worth the short walk over it and back, even if it was mobbed with other tourists.

At the restaurant that night we realised that if you are ever asked how spicy you would like your food on a scale of one to seven - seven being what Thais usually have - don't do what we did and choose 3 (or above). We were drinking drinks at twice the rate we were shovelling forkloads and trying desperately not to let our faces melt or, worse still, look too lightweight in front of the Thais.


jannahw says:
Thank you for taking the time to visit the War Cemetery at Kanchanaburi and for finding and photographing Hubert's grave. So poignant! Age 24!
Posted on: May 11, 2007
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PoW Cemetary
PoW Cemetary
Erewan NP Waterfall
Erewan NP Waterfall
Hellfire Pass
Hellfire Pass
Death Railway
Death Railway
Crossing The Bridge
Crossing The Bridge
Hubert Knights grave
Hubert Knight's grave
Erewan NP Waterfall
Erewan NP Waterfall
At the seventh tier
At the seventh tier
Erewan NP Waterfall
Erewan NP Waterfall
Kanchanaburi War Cemetary
Kanchanaburi War Cemetary
Bridge On The River Kwai
Bridge On The River Kwai
Compressed drill bit
Compressed drill bit
Erewan NP Waterfall
Erewan NP Waterfall
Kanchanaburi
photo by: wbboy29