Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Kanchanaburi - The Bridge on the River Kwai

Kanchanaburi, although unknown by us until planing this trip, has lots going for it tourism wise. It's just a few hours from Bangkok (day trippers yeh) and is located on the banks off the scenic River Kwai. Yes, that River Kwai. It is the actual location of the bridge made famous in the Oscar winning (8 awards) movie The Bridge on the River Kwai.

WWII history buffs can visit the original Bridge on the River Kwai, (the movie was filmed in Sri Lanka), plus Hellfire Pass, and various the WWII museums and cemeteries in town.

Backpackers can hang out on Maenamkwai Road which has all the amenities: people watching from sidewalk bars and restaurants (some riverfront), cold beer at a reasonable price, cheap laundries, hostels and hotels with English-speaking staff, excursions to waterfalls, Thai Massage, haggling with moto-taxis, bicycle and motorbike rentals, Thai food, Western breakfasts, a 7-11, and a vegetarian restaurant. It's a scene for sure. We kinda liked it.

Thai also come to visit waterfalls, the famous bridge, temples, eat seafood at floating restaurants, and spend an afternoon or evening partying on a karaoke barge.

We found a hotel with a swimming pool, spent one day seeing the "in town" sites and another day excurting on the "Death Railroad" to Nam Tok - a spiffy narrow gauge train. Not to mention eating at On's Thai Issan Vegetarian Vegan Restaurant where "Mrs On is never off" . Seriously, she's ranked #1 out of 192 restaurants in town.

The famous Bridge on the River Kwai was just 1km from our hotel. This shot is from the tourist viewing area.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

In addition, metal plates are placed on and along the ties on the bridge along with a railing so one can safely walk on and across the bridge which we did.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

View from the other side.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Walking back to town on the far side of the river we spotted these long-eared cattle.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

The WWII cemetery in town center is beautiful, well tended, and contains graves of Dutch and English POWs who died working on the Death Railway.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Also in town center are a Chinese cemetery and several Buddhist Temples.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

We ate at 4 different vegetarian restaurants in Kanchanaburi. This one near the bus station is run by a young couple and closes at noon.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

And this nice lady operated a vegetarian papaya salad som tam food cart.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

And of course On's. Mrs. On seemed to know everyone in town, including tourists. Hers is a one burner, open-air kitchen joint, with indoor or outdoor seating. She also has several seasoned staff who help with prep, serving, etc.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Each evening we ordered a soup, a curry, and a stir fry.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Our 2nd day we rode the 6:10 train, No. 485, from the Kwai River Bridge station to Nam Tok - 3 hrs. On board with us were several friendly, lively groups of high school students from Bangkok.

Ticket booth at dawn.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

The train pulls into the station.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

The students were very excited to cross the Kwai River Bridge. Lots of photos.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Fields at dawn.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

One long section of rail is undergoing improvements.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

From Nam Tok.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

For breakfast, we ate duck eggs bought fresh the day before and hard boiled in our electric kettle. Translucent.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Sugarcane seen from the train.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Plus farming.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Another highlight was crossing the Wampo Viaduct, a well-known landmark on the Thai-Burma Railway.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

The Sai Yok waterfall is just a 1km walk from the Nam Tok Station.
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Buying more duck eggs. ;-)
Kanchanaburi, Thailand

2 comments:

Liz said...

The waterfalls is beautiful!

john said...

Liz - Yes! And this is the dry season.