Homer's Travels: Southeast Asia 2023 - Days Six, Seven, And Eight - The River Kwai

Monday, October 23, 2023

Southeast Asia 2023 - Days Six, Seven, And Eight - The River Kwai

UPDATED 12-03-2023: Added photos.

Day Six (Wednesday)

We checked out of our hotel and headed out of Bangkok.  The first stop, southwest of Bangkok, was the Mae Klong Railway Market. This market is famous for being located along the railroad tracks.  Four time a day (twice in the morning and twice in the late afternoon) the train comes through forcing the vendors to move their tables out of the way of the train.  Most of the tables are on wheels and are moved back near the track as soon as the train goes past.  It was a cool thing to see.

A floating market.
Next we drove to a pier and rode a long boat through a floating market.  You could buy things from vendors on shore or on other boats.  We got off our boat and did a little shopping before moving on to our next destination:  Kanchanaburi, Thailand. 

The infamous bridge over the river Kwai.
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant on the Kwae Noi river, more commonly known as the River Kwai.  From our restaurant you had a great view of the bridge and we watched a train cross it as we ate.  After lunch we walked part way across the bridge before walking to the train station where we caught our van.

Next stop was the Death Railroad museum which talked about the construction of the Thai - Burma railroad by the Japanese using POW labor.  The conditions were horrific and you could almost feel the suffering.  Across the street from the museum was a cemetery for some of the POW laborers who died building the railway.

The Float House hotel from our patio.
The day ended on another long boat which took us to our hotel.  The hotel, the Float House, are  floating cabins strung out along the bank of the Kwae Noi river.  Each floating cabin has a floating patio on the river.  It was weird feeling the room bob up and down on the wake of passing boats.  One activity they offer - the Wife did it the first night - is to put on a lifejacket and jump into the swift flowing river that takes you down the length of the hotel until your reach one of two ladders where you climb out and walk back to your cabin.  This is done unsupervised and I'm surprised it is allowed.

Day Seven (Thursday)

Part of Hellfire Pass
carved by POW Labor.
Today we took a boat farther up the river to visit a Mon village.  The Mon were some of the first people in the Thai - Myanmar area to adopt Buddhism.  The Thai government provides them with some assistance but many Mon from the village provide most of the labor for the river hotels.

Next we left the river and went to the Hellfire Pass museum.  The museum discribes the hardships experienced by Australian POWs who opened a pass through solid granite.  Then we walked through the actual pass to a memorial to those who didn't survive.  While we were there a new plaque was unvailed commemorating the six hundred plus American POWs that lost there life there.

We ate lunch at a train station before boarding the train for a short trip through the countryside.  It was relaxing and the views were interesting.  After getting off the train we visited a waterfall on the way back to the Float House hotel. 

On this night all three of us jumped in the river and floated down to the end of the hotel.  I have to say the current made it a bit hard to get over to one of the two ladders.  The Wife had to catch our tour mate before she missed the ladder.  Despite being a tough swim, it was very refreshing. 

Day Eight (Friday)

We got up early and said our goodbyes to the Float House.  We drove three hours to one of the three old capitals of Thailand.  We spent a few hours exploring ruins and temples.  We saw lots of temples in Thailand - there are over forty-two thousand Buddhist temples in Thailand - and they all had some interesting or unique feature.  

Buddhist temple amongst the trees ... and welcoming shade.
We returned to Bangkok and caught our flight to Chiang Rai where our adventure would continue. 

Photos can be found in my 2023 Thailand Google Photos album. 

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