Train to Kanchanburi

Day 5

Mark had recommended some towns in the west, so I hopped on a morning local train to Kanchanburi. Fortunately getting on was painless as the staff spoke basic English. There was only one other Western couple on the whole train so I felt immersed in the experience. The carriages were 3rd class, quite rickety with fans on the ceiling. An old chap befriended me, he seemed to be a tranny without makeup or maybe he just had a weird fashion sense. He spoke a few words of English but we managed to communicate through signs.

A drinks hawker patrols the train

The 3 hour journey took us past rice fields, temples and towns, towards the end large forest hills dominated the landscape. On arrival I lugged my stuff to a recommended guesthouse, annoyingly realising afterwards I was next to a building site! Many of the guesthouses have rooms over the river on stilts. The tourist part of Kanachanburi is a characterless concrete strip filled with touristy bars and shops, so I went wandering into the main town. I found one of the big war cemeteries for the prisoners of war who died building the Burma/Thailand railway. Kanchanburi is the location of the Bridge of the River Kwai. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners and labourers were enlisted to build the railway and something like 90 thousand died due to the terrible conditions.

I found a traditional Thai cemeterary next door and explored it. Some graves have photos of the inhabitants which is quite touching.


Further into town I saw a big school music show going on, some of the kids were excited to see a farang around. I came across a fresh food market and put my photography to the test in dark conditions. There were lots of fish (some huge), eels, and even frogs.

I headed down to the river past some impressive temples and discovered loads of floating restaurants. As it wasn’t the weekend or evening, they were all moored up in rows. They are quite big and some are two storey. Apparently at the weekend there are floating discos which cruise along the river, sounds great. I found a road bridge which gave a good vantage point of the nice river scenery and rafthouses.

You can see a floating building being tugged there on the right.

A long walk back to the tourist area and I managed to get to another bridge to catch the end of sunset, the image at the start of this post. The blue lit up bridge in the distance is the Bridge on the River Kwai.


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