We took a train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, the journey was slow on the old train and reminded us of the long journeys we had in Sri Lanka. This was our first time on a train since Sri Lanka, we have been using planes and buses ever since. When we finally arrived in Kanchanaburi we hopped on to a songtao to our hotel, which was located outside of the town. We stayed in Thai Garden Inn, they were a collection of little bungalows, it was a nice setting but lots of kids around so maybe more family orientated.
Our first full day we spent taking a Tuk Tuk to the Death railway bridge which is the main tourist attraction with a lot of history behind it. The name death railway goes back to WWII when the Japanese wanted to build a railway to Burma (now Myanmar) to avoid taking supplies and troops by boat. The Japanese soldiers used locals, people from surrounding countries and captured Allied soldiers. So many people died during the construction of the railway through the harsh conditions and lack of food that were given to the people building. They were forced to work constantly so this led to a high amount of deaths hence the name. Part of the railway is still in use but you can only go up to Nam Tok, the rest of the track to Myanmar is not used anymore, even though they are considering restoring it, nothing has happened yet.
We arrived just as a train was leaving, lots of tourists jumped on the train to make the trip to the end and the rest of us watched as it crossed the bridge. After this everyone quickly made their way across the bridge walking on the tracks and taking in the sights and looking at the detail of the bridge. The bridge is not very pretty, but that isn’t the point it is all about the history behind it. We walked across the bridge and visited a temple on the other side, there were school kids doing a project where they had to ask question about where we are from and what we are doing in Thailand, maybe they were secretly working for the immigration department…
There are many places around the bridge to eat and do some market shopping, this seem to be where most tourists go in this area. After all the walking Sassi needed a massage, so we found a place with friendly masseurs who even helped us track down a tuk tuk, it seems that when you actually need a tuk tuk they are never to be found but when you don’t well they seem to be constantly asking you.
We decided to rent a car instead of bikes as the main places to visit were actually very far away, and motorbiking would of been too tiring. Even though we booked a small car they showed up in the morning with a large saloon, Honda City. After having to set aside a larger deposit than expected we were off on our trip. First stop at the shops, well you can’t do a road trip without snacks.
Hellfire pass memorial
A museum/ memorial and a protected area, which is maintained by the Australian government. It goes into the history of the railway and the Hellfire pass. Due to the sharp incline down to the Hellfire pass we decided we won’t do it.
Sai Yok Noi waterfalls
We made our way to the waterfalls with some stops along the way to admire the landscapes surrounding the roads. We were between two national parks which meant big hills and lovely views. The waterfalls wasn’t as impressive as the Erawan waterfalls (well from what we could see in photos) but it was free to enter and swim in. The waterfalls are nice and cool so made for a refreshing dip, and seemed to be mainly locals, until a tourist bus stopped just as we left. There are many places to grab some food outside on the road.
This lake is huge, and initially we were going to stop at the dam first but missed the turning so carried on driving, Sassi navigated and found a quiet place in the middle of no where with a beautiful view of the lake, with no one else around it seemed to be our little secret spot. If you have transport then make your way to this lake there are many places to view it as it is pretty huge, but it does mean going slightly out into the unknown.
It was a bit daunting driving into security gates when we arrived thinking uh oh what it is?? we ended up having to turn around because google was directing us to a restricted area, but in the end we found our way to the view point which was great. An awesome view of the Dam on one side and then a view of the peaceful lake on the other. The place was pretty empty not a big tourist spot at least not at this time.
Wat Tham Suea
After a long drive (around 1hr 20min) we arrived at this temple which was situated on top of a hill, unlucky for us we arrived just as the cable car that goes up to the peak closed. So this meant a long walk up the stairs, the views were nice, and it gave 360 views around the surround landscapes. Oddly there was no one around which made it feel quite eerie but nice to wander around.
IM-JUNG MOOKATA BBQ
We were looking for a place to eat, and happened to see what looked like night market stalls selling food, after being directed to a parking space we soon realised that this was one big outdoor restaurant. It turned out to be an all you can eat buffet, but the catch was, you had to cook it yourself on the BBQ. This ended up being our favorite place to eat in the whole of our trip. It was pretty fun picking meat and then cooking it in the middle of the table. We had no idea what we were choosing and sometimes it wasn’t very nice but overall it was good. Check it out here if you are ever in the area.
After Kanchanaburi we took a bus back to Bangkok for two nights and then carried on our journey to Pattaya.
Overall it was nice to spend some time here but most of the places to visit were quite far from the actual town. It seemed that lots of people come from the railway or maybe see the main waterfall for a day trip. Everywhere outside of these areas are quiet, the area is very pretty, the landscape surrounding the city is nice and we enjoyed the national park area. However, if you plan to go to any of the tourist places, everything costs loads of money including visiting the main waterfalls, traditional town, caves etc…
So we booked an Airbnb outside of the city centre, which was right next to the Jomiten beach. The host picked us up from the bus station, he was friendly and gave us lots of information about what we can do in the area, and also spoke about what he does for a job. The airbnb apartment was really nice, and finally we had a kitchen again, the views were really good as we were on the 25th floor.
We decided to spend time relaxing and saw this apartment as a chance to just take it easy, we only planned one trip so spent our time catching up on things and making sure we don’t tire ourselves out.
Jomtien beach was fairly tidy and not too busy, there were a lot of 7 elevens along the road so finding snack food was easy, the hard part was finding meat and vegetables, after a long walk I found a market selling lots of cheap food but this was closer to the city centre.
We took a boat from the main pier in Pattaya to the closest island called Ko Lan, the boat trip was very cheap only 30 baht per son one way, that is less than £1, although once we got on to the boat they started to hand out life jackets to wear during the trip… Slightly unsettling to wear it, made me think that they weren’t overly sure about how safe the journey will be. Well unlucky for us it was a rough boat trip due to the storms, this didn’t help as I suffer from motion sickness and even though I took a tablet before I got on board, the sea just wanted me to let loose and empty my stomach…great.
Once we arrived on the island we were both feeling sick, we looked at the map and then decided take a motorbike taxi to the closest beach.
This beach was packed with people, there was a huge queue waiting for buses, and then lots of people in the restaurants. The actual beach wasn’t that amazing it seemed to be full of over priced sun beds, litter and people everywhere. This was the first time in our trip where we felt crowded on a beach, we stayed for 10 minutes and left for another beach.
This beach was quieter, it seemed to be harder to get to so less people were here. There were a few restaurants and bars on the beach and some sun beds, it was a lot cleaner than the other beach so we chilled on the beach and had some lunch.
The journey back to Pattaya was smoother and didn’t seem to cause any issues this time.