After a crazy 3 hour mini-van ride we arrived in the beautiful sleepy town of Kanchanaburi located in the west of Thailand and known for the Bridge over the River Kwai and the Death Railway.
We had completed some research so knew the names of some hostels to check out so we jumped in a tuk tuk from the bus station and got dropped in the area where all the hostels were located. First stop was The Jolly Frog. They had no double rooms with a toilet but said they had a ‘Raft Room’ with shared bathroom. It was the cheapest room they have in the whole place and sounded a little dodgy but we decided to check it out anyway, 5 minutes later ‘the raft room’ became our home for the following 3 nights.
The first evening we headed straight for the Famous Bridge over the River Kwai. We arrived at the bridge on sunset and it was a beautiful sight considering the sadness attached to such a location. The next afternoon we visited the War Museum and learnt the history of the bridge which was built by the Japanese army during World War II with construction commencing in 1942 to October 1943. The Bridge was to link Burma and Thailand to allow the Japanese a safer route as bringing their forces via the Strait of Malacca and the Andaman Sea was leaving them vulnerable to attack. So, a railway was considered the safest option and this Railway was to be built with forced laborers and prisoners of war. We learnt how 2815 Australian Prisoners of War died whilst the bridge was being constructed. It was a very moving experience and gave us our first taste of War history in Asia and the impact of the wars that have happened here have had on so many.
The next morning we were up before the birds to make sure we caught the first local bus out to Erawan Falls. As we arrived we were pleased to find that we were one of the first and the surroundings were so peaceful and beautiful. Erawan falls consist of seven tiers of waterfalls that span over a 2km radius. Duane was unable to swim due to his recent body art however Kim was in the aqua blue water before you could say jump! These waterfalls do however have an extra surprise, not only are they arguably the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand and kept extremely clean they also have little fish that live in them and whilst you swim they nibble on the dead skin on your feet and legs! Yes, we had previously experienced these fish in Phuket however experiencing it in the wild was definitely a very unnerving experience.
We spent the evening relaxing and reading whilst we watched the sun set from our raft room. As speed boats zipped passed up and down the river, our room would sway. We fed the fish and watched others swim in the river as the sun set. It was such a perfect spot and was our favourite room in Thailand (and the cheapest!) so far as it was full of character and so peaceful.
The three days here went by so fast and the final morning we completed the usual routine of a cheap breakfast and packing the backpacks and then it was back on a bus headed for Ayutthaya. Our next destination is a town with a huge amount of history and was once the Capital of Thailand so we were excited about spending some time in such an influential location knowing the following days we would see temple, after temple after temple.