I decided to book a tour for today, as a lot of Kanchanaburi’s attractions are several kilometres outside the town itself, and difficult to get to independently. So on the agenda today were Hellfire Pass, Erawan National Park, Krasae Cave, Death Railway and a train ride to The Bridge over The River Kwai, in time to watch the sunset.
At Hellfire Pass we had time to look around the museum and walk down the pass itself. Hellfire Pass is the name the prisoners of war gave to the cutting at Konya, the largest of a 1000m series of mountain cuttings accomplished with minimal equipment and by prisoners working 16-18 hour shifts for 12 solid weeks. Hellfire Pass is so named because of the way the flickering bonfire light lit up the emaciated faces of the workers. The scenery around Hellfire Pass is spectacular, in stark contrast to the knowledge of what happened here several decades ago.
Erawan National Park is one of the most visited and most beautiful national parks in Thailand. There are 7 tiered waterfalls, all of which feed into the Mae Nam Khwae Yai. the top pool is over a 2km hike from the base and the last stretch is quite a difficult climb, and almost impossible in the wet season. The uppermost pool is said to resemble Airvata (Erawan in Thai), who is the 3 headed elephant of Hindu mythology.
It’s certainly well worth a climb to the top. You can swim in 5 out of the 7 pools and i chose to take the long walk up first and then take a nice refreshing swim in the top pool. The only aspect i wasn’t too keen on were the little fish in the water that kept nipping at my feet. They didn’t hurt but it did give me a bit of a shock everytime they decided to have a nibble!
There are also wild monkeys living within the park, 2 of which Micki, Dik and I encountered on our way down. I managed to get a couple of photos before they got a little too close for comfort and i made my escape!
Booked with Toi Tours, full day excursion 8am-6pm, 600THB (including an authentic Thai lunch)
We were given just the right amount of time to fully appreciate each attraction
The group was small enough that you could get to know people on a personal level
Good contrast of activities and sights
A little bit of backround information/history on the sites would have been useful. thankfully i had my trusty Lonely Planet guide!
Photo is of the River Kwai Bridge at sunset, Kanchanaburi