We arrived in Kanchanaburi at about 6am after a VERY long overnight bus journey. We were taken to our accommodation by Rickshaw, yes both of us and our luggage squeezed onto the tiny seat. It was a great introduction to the town as we were taken through back streets to our destination.
We were staying at a Guest House right on the famous river kwai, a wooden hut on stilts, great to look at and a great balcony with fabulous views but very basic inside.
There is lots to see and do in the area and so (against our better judgement) we decided to hire a moped to get around town, just for one day! Steve was like a child with a toy, Lucy was a nervous wreck.. Our first trip was to the war cemetry and museum, where we read about the building of the Burma-Thailand railway and walked around the graves of the POW's. An emotional experience. We later went to see the bridge over the River Kwai and took a train journey for about an hour along a section of the track and across the bridge.
During our time in Kanchanaburi we also visited the Tiger Sanctuary, where the local monks had taken in orphaned tigers. We had read about how the monks seemed to have a calming effect on the tigers and tourists could go and see the tigers up close, out of their enclosures during their daily exercise. We both had our photos taken with numerous tigers, it was great to see them up close and even be able to stroke them, but also quite scarry!
We also did a Thai cookery course while in Kanchanaburi. It was a great day which started off with a visit to the local market with our cook Noi. It was quite an eye opener, we saw live frogs ready for the chop, tiny dead birds with heads on, bags and bags of dried chillis, fruits, vegetables etc etc. Noi answered our questions and got us to try some things (mostly sticky and gooey desserts). After that we went back to our kitchen and started cooking, we cooked five courses which included soup, curry, salad and a noodle dish. Lucy will be looking for some guinea pigs on her return to try out her new found skills, Steve on the other hand is quite happy never to see another Thai noodle ever again!!!
After a packed few days in Kanchanaburi we were heading for Bangkok. We stayed in the travellers area around the Khao San road area. It was crazy, loads of hustle and bustle and it seemed as though you could buy anything on the street from fake ID's to dread lock hair (which they attached to your head like hair extensions..hilarious). There was also lots and lots of traffic which included thousands of 'Tuk Tuk's' (see photo) like a motor bike with a seat on the back so named because of the noise they make. While in Bangkok of course we went shopping to check out the stores we had heard about. We also took a ferry along the river where you could see many tamples along the way.
One of the must see tourist destinations in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, whilst walking to it we were approached by a friendly guy who told us it was closed (oldest trick in the book apparently!) but instead arranged a really cheap tour of the city by Tuk Tuk. What we didn't realise was that the Palace wasn't actually closed and this was just an excuse to get us to as many tailors/jewellery shops along the way. Our tour even included a 'plant'..a guy who told us that the tailors we were about to visit actually made suits for Armani. We were completly taken in, until afterwards when we looked back, luckily we didn't buy anything!!!! We felt totally juped but at least we got to see the magnificent Grand Palace in the end!!!!
Another memorable trip was to the Anti Venom Snale Farm in Bangkok, unfortunatley we didn't see them extract the venum (because it was the weekend) but we did get to see the snakes up close, a massive King Cobra and other poisonous snakes shown to us by their handlers..amazing experience. Lucy also got to hold a snake, another first!
One of our last nights was spent at a Thai boxing stadium. We got to see 6 bouts and even had our photo taken with one of the winners, crazy!
We have loved Thailand but were both happy to be moving on, there are only so many day you can stand the madness of Bangkok. So onwards to Hong Kong and into China.