Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water

Bangkok Travel Blog

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The bridge over the River Kwai
I've done quite a lot of things with my cousins since arriving in Thailand so I decided it was about time I got out there and did some sightseeing on my own. I took the boat along the river for 14 bhat (about 25p) and my word does that river stink! It is really dirty too so as we were speeding along the water kept coming over the side and spraying in my face. I made sure I kept my mouth shut!

I started off on the Khao San Road, which is very popular with back packers. It's often the first stop for people who need somewhere cheap to stay and so there are lots of hostels, bars and street market shops along the road. I managed to book myself a trip to see the River Kwai for the next day and it was one third of the price that I'd found in other travel agents! Yay! From there I wandered down past the grand palace, but I couldn't go in as there are a few problems out here at the moment with people who are against the government.
Some Buddhist monks I found at the station
In the past couple of months there have been riots and people killed in clashes with police so tourists are being very careful. I was told not to wear anything yellow or red as those are the two colours worn by the two sides. Fortunately those colours aren't big in my wardrobe right now so I was OK there.

There are lots and lots of temples (known as Wats) in Bangkok so you can't go for 100 metres without seeing one. I took a few snaps of some of the nicer looking ones and then headed home for my cousin Bluebell's football training.

Yesterday I headed out off on a tour of the River Kwai and it's surrounding area. The river is near the border of Thailand and Burma (formerly Myanmar) and was a key route during the second world war.
This train wasn't exactly the Orient Express!
British, Australian, American and Dutch prisoners of war were forced by the Japanese to construct two parallel bridges spanning the river as part of the Burma Railway, also called the Railway of Death due to the many people that died during its construction. More than 40% of the 280,000 people who worked on the railway died.

I took a walk over the bridge, which is pretty precarious as there are large holes that are easy to fall down if you lose your balance, and then took at ride on the train down into the jungle area. Whilst at the station I bumped into a few Buddhist monks and managed to get a picture of them. Thailand's national religion is Buddhism and is one of the most Buddhist countries in the world. They also refer to people by their title and first name, so I would be Mr Mark, which is amusing.
My elephant, Kun
After that we went on a raft down the river and our feet were in the horrible dirty water. I managed to get bitten by a massive red ant and it really stung. Fortunately I had some Tiger Balm with me so that took away the pain. Before we got in the minibus to come back to Bangkok we went elephant riding. I've never done that before and was looking forward to it. My elephant was called Kun and seemed more interested in eating the trees than carrying me. I fed him some bananas to say thank you and he seemed to like that.

One of the nice things about traveling on your own is that you meet lots of people who are also travelling. I met a German man called Eric as well as two girls from Brisbane, one from Germany and one from Holland. Maybe I'll meet up with the ones from Brisbane when I am out there next month and they can show me around - that would be handy wouldn't it.

My elephant count is up to 11 and I expect to see a few more before I move on to Penang on Friday.

Mr Mark
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The bridge over the River Kwai
The bridge over the River Kwai
Some Buddhist monks I found at the…
Some Buddhist monks I found at th…
This train wasnt exactly the Orie…
This train wasn't exactly the Ori…
My elephant, Kun
My elephant, Kun
You can see the large holes on eit…
You can see the large holes on ei…
A view down the River Kwai
A view down the River Kwai
People bathing in the waterfall at…
People bathing in the waterfall a…
photo by: rintjez