December 10, 2012
View Dec 10 2012 in a larger map
We left Ban Pong as the sun was rising and hustled to Kanchanburi. It was a nice flat ride and we covered the miles pretty quickly. We stopped along the way to look at another wat. This one was on top of a hill, so we had to climb a lot of stairs, but it was worth it. There was a large central building with lots of windows. It wasn’t clear who was in there, and we were too scared to explore in case it was some private area for the monks.
We also saw this guy. Not really sure what was going on, but we are getting used to that.
Kanchanaburi is famous for the bridge over the River Kwai. The bridge was built by British and other Allied POWs for the Japanese during WWII. Fun fact, the guy who wrote the book, which was made into a movie, had never actually been to the area and got the name of the river wrong. The actual river Kwai is a tributary to the river upstream of where the bridge crosses. So, the Thais just changed the name of the river to the Kwai river to avoid confusion (or to add to it?) The history of the area is interesting but the place caters to Westerners and tourists in general. Lots of bars and pizza places, tourist trips and traps, not exactly our scene.
I did decide to go for a Thai massage, for only 150 baht or $5 USD for an hour, how could I not. It was like a yoga massage. The woman was bending my legs and twisting me all over the place. She was using her hands, feet and forearms. It was an interesting and relaxing experience though. Chandler stayed in the room and read.
We went for dinner at a vegetarian restaurant, which was awesome.
The bridge was the scene of an expensive “light and sound show” that night, which we skipped. We saw it the next morning as we were rolling out of town, but we were on our fully loaded bikes, so opted not to venture out on it (trains still actively use it). Our plan is to take the “death railway” on the way back from western Thailand, so we’ll ride across it then.