Kanchanaburi - Forgotten Paradise!

9:06 PM Shanky 2 Comments

5th Tier of Erawan Water Fall

It has been three weekends and no travel! I was beginning to get antsy and was bitching about the floods that has got every frickin road out of Ang Thong closed down. But enough is enough, I am going this weekend and noone can stop me - not the floods, not the manager who refused to give the vehicle to the next town, not even the guest house manager who was paranoid about me drowning and dying in a foreign country! My friends and I had chosen Kanchanaburi for the weekend. With so many national parks, the river Kwae and cheap accommodation it is a great place to unwind after a hard working week or even a partying week. Getting to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok is a no-brainer, as is getting to most places in Thailand from Bangkok. But getting to Kanchanaburi from Ang Thong requires extensive research and mastery over google technology. By google technology, I mean your ability to vary your search string based on the output and finally hitting jackpot based on trial and error. Being an MBA and having done this for most of my projects - data research and otherwise, I can safely say I know a little something about Google tech.

After extensive research I found that the route is Ang Thong - Suphanburi - Kanchanaburi. The good thing about Thailand, though rarely documented, is the connectivity between provincial HQs. There are myriads of options at regular intervals. Only downside being they close quite early! Last transport can be as early as 5pm and after that you are stranded at the place searching for cheap shelter or cheaper taxi. Chances of getting a cheaper taxi is as much as sighting moon on a new moon day. I started very early on Saturday morning so that I can have maximum time at Kanchanaburi for the day. Cheap bus option from Ang thong took me to Suphanburi and cost me 27 THB and 60 minutes. Suphanburi has a decent bus station with eating options and a clean restroom. From suphanburi it took me 45 THB and 1.5 hours to reach Kanchanaburi. 

Bridge Over River Kwae
After a futile search, for Sam's guesthouse, on the bike taxi all along the Thamakarm road I gave up and asked the bike guy to drop me at the deathrailway. This is the site of famous bridge over the river kwae; shot into popularity by the hollywood movie of the same name. The place does have a vibe to it, especially after having read so much about it. Clicked some pics, had Thai style grilled chicken, Thai coffe and then off to War cemetry. In true backpacker style, my walk to war cemetry was broken by Sams. I had found it!! I went in, booked a room and the AC was more convincing than the noon sun. So I decided to catch a nap which also meant I will not be able to see the cemetry in this trip. Meanwhile my friends from Bangkok had arrived. After lunch we hired a taxi to take to hell fire pass, Sai Yok National park and a cave. The route to Sai Yok was scenic and had lots and lots of landscape photo op!

River Kwae
We finished the night with some great drinks at the cracker's aussie bar. I am always fascinated by these expats who leave their country and settle down in another country for retirement. The owner of this bar was a jolly fellow from Aussie land and we had some Brits for company as well. Man Utd was playing that night and we witnessed heated discussion about Aussie rules football vs real soccer. I tasted Malibu for the first time and fell in love with it! It was good night time and we had to start early as those guys wanted to sneak a peek at the bridge and then go to Erawan National Park. 

Next day was awesome for more than one reason (reasons in the next post). We took the 8 am bus from Kanchanaburi to Erawan and reached after an hour's ride. The journey was scenic and a little tiring. We had a 3 km trek ahead of us (both ways) to cover the entire park and see all the seven tiers of the Erawan water falls. The falls, the water, the jungle - the setting is just mesmerising and you will not repent the 200THB park entry fee. It has been well maintained as well with clear directions to each level. The hike gets a bit tricky after tier 4 and is not for casual/relaxed sauntering. While coming back I was tired and rejuvenated myself by taking a dip in the second level water fall infested by hungryfishes that will nibble at your dead skin. We were descending from the seventh level around 12pm and could see why it is a good idea to reach this place early. Tourists, Ze Germans in particular, swarm this place in huge numbers from noon. It is like the mongol hordes raiding the wealthy nations. You see hot german blondes to grandmas in their swim suits and bikinis complete with Spanish style flower on the side of their head begin to crowd the pools of the waterfall.

Painting on the wall of restaurant
After the tiring hike we headed to one of the restaurants near the bus station in Erawan. This place served the best Khao Phad Khai (chicken fried rice) that I have had till date. Maybe it is the fatigue and hunger! I also loved the paintings in the walls of this restaurant. It was time to leave and we went separate ways after reaching Kanchanaburi; my friends to Bangkok and I to Ang Thong. So time to head back home and another run of the mill week at work. But the travel bug is back with a vengence!

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  1. It seems like a great trip and compliments for the beautiful pictures.

  2. Thanks for the kind words and compliments, sir.
    It definitely is a great place to unwind away from the city buzz and madness.


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