For the first time on this vacation, I needed an alarm to wake me up (meaning I ended up being rather tired most of the day). Today, I left Bangkok to head to Kanchanaburi, a city about 2 hours outside Bangkok where a bunch of other historical stuff is. And I'd be there for two days (today and tomorrow) before heading to the airport. I'm still mildly sick with sinus issues, but it hasn't gone much past that yet, so whatever. I go down and check out of the guest house and then meet Pepsi (my tour guide) in the lobby.
We head out of the city and... it's raining. No rain was on any of the forecasts, but there it was. On the upside, it was cool out. I didn't have to worry about really any heat or humidity issues. After a 2-hour drive, we end up in Kanchanaburi. Our first stop is the War Cemetery, where over 6000 POWs who died during the Burma Railway building in the 40s are buried. It's mostly Australians, British, and Dutch soldiers (no American, as the US demanded to have their soldiers' bodies returned to their home country). It was a very sad and solemn place. Just reading the engravings on the tomb stones, some from family members, was really, really sad.
Then we walked over to the War Museum, which details the history of the Burma Railway. No pictures were allowed inside, but I got one of the outside.
Then Pepsi and I chilled there for a while and drank some tea. Apparently the train we would take later was delayed about an hour, so we had plenty of time to kill. After a while, we went back outside to the van and made our way to the next stop--a long tail motor boat for a trip down the River Kwai. We waited in the rain for about 5 minutes for the boat to show up, and then we hopped in.
The guy pulled the cord to start the engine and... nothing. The engine was dead. So he had to paddle back a bit to the dock and fire up another boat. After a bit of messing around, we got the boats lined up, and Pepsi and I stepped from our boat into the other. By this point, it had pretty much stopped raining. Maybe a couple sprinkles, but that's it. Then we blasted down the river, and I got relatively wet and rather cold. But I got some nice pictures, including a few of the Bridge Over the River Kwai itself.
We made it to our destination, and I walked down the Bridge while Pepsi went to go get our train tickets. I take a few pictures at this time.
Then I go to meet Pepsi. And... the train is delayed even longer. We were originally supposed to be on the train by 10:35 or so. We didn't end up on it until noon. So I walked around some souvenir tents and got me a River Kwai T-Shirt that's probably a little small, but oh well. We did eventually get on the train (which is an actual commuter, diesel-engine train) and grab our seats. It would be about a 2-hour ride to our stopping point (we were going down Burma Railway, aka Death Railway). It was a pretty interesting ride with lots of nice scenery. I even got a laminated train ticket with my picture next to it as another souvenir. And Pepsi buys me these baked banana snacks. It's pretty much the exact same thing as Korean matang, except banana instead of sweet potato. So anyway, here are some more pictures.
So we're nearing the end of the train ride, and Pepsi tells me that the best part with the best scenic shot is coming up, so get my camera ready. I do, and... the train stops. And dies. The engine failed. We have to get off the train. And we're in the middle of a strip surrounded by greenery, leaving only one real exit, so everybody makes this huge line. Some have to walk the rest of the way, which thankfully wasn't too far. Pepsi called our driver to come pick us up, and we took a couple other groups whose tour guide wasn't showing up to get them.
We drop them off and head for our buffet lunch, which was pretty good. Then we go into Krasae Cave--a place where I believe Japanese soldiers used as a home base, but it's not a Buddha Shrine. And right next to the cave was that picture spot we were supposed to see from the train, so we (along with everyone else) were on the tracks taking pictures.
Unfortunately, because of all the delays and whatnot, it was like 3:30 PM now and the other couple things to do today were closed. So we're going to add it to the list tomorrow (which might be a good thing, anyway. The way my luck was going today, visiting "Tiger Temple" on top of everything might not have a happy ending). So they take me to my hotel in Kanchanaburi, which is actually pretty nice. It's the most modern of all the places I've stayed--including a pool! I also got something to eat in the restaurant... some red curry with pineapple and pork (medium hot), and of course rice. It was really good! But anyway, that's about it for today. I will just relax for the rest of the evening and get rested up for my final tour day before a long journey back to Korea.
(Note: The next post won't actually be tomorrow. It's a long day and a lot of stuff going on, and I won't be back to Korea until Sunday afternoon (my time). So don't expect a new post until then.)