Said goodbye to the beach, making our way back to Chiang Mai stopping in Kanchanaburi for the night. This is where the Bridge over the River Kwai is. We went to a museum of the railway that the Japanese built using the British, Australian, Malay, Thai and American POW’s. 100,000 men died on this project as the conditions and treatment were so harsh. It was very sobering to see some of the items that were retrieved from the area after the war, pictures, scraps of notes, a single sock that a soldier who knew how to knit had made from unravelling a sweater. Across from the museum is a very well kept graveyard with thousands of gravestones. The Australian government funded this as a memorial for the soldiers.
At the bridge that crosses the Kwai river we took a little boat tour. The banks of the river are lined with house boats and barges, fish farms and more boats. Here and there you see a beautiful mansion with manicured lawns and of course the ever present temples.
Inland here it’s hazy most of the time because they burn their crop stubble and garbage. It is supposed to be banned but everyone still does it. On the side of the road there are people selling things, they cover their faces completely with only a slit for their eyes to shield from the sun but also from the pollution. They look like terrorists!
They drive on the opposite side of the road here, hard to get used to! Crossing the road is scary, I’m usually looking the wrong way. Traffic has not been that bad, probably because of all the people who drive scooters, piled high with 3, 4 and sometimes 5 people, one lady carrying her baby in a basket over her arm. There are also extensions that they build on the side of the scooters that are used for transporting even more people or to set up any variety of businesses including making and selling food. Everything comes in a plastic bag secured with a elastic band, even soups and drinks.
There is not a lot of police presence, so not a lot of show of machine guns etc. but it feels very safe, not a lot of crime. Everyone seems to have a business, and is working, not very many beggars.
Stayed at a place that has bamboo huts, beds on the floor, beautiful gardens and great wifi 🙂 headed out in the morning back to Chiang Mai. Passing lush green rice fields laid out in nice squares, and sugar cane tall and full. They put sugar on everything and it is even a condiment set out on the table at restaurants. You can feed 5 people well on just $20 and a smoothie is under a dollar.
Here are a few rules they have in Thailand:
You can’t buy alcohol on the queens birthday or on Election Day or between 2pm and 5pm on any day.
You can’t talk against the king – punishable by prison for up to 10 yrs.!
There are pictures of the king (in his 40’s) everywhere. He is in his 80’s now and not in good health. Apparently they renovated the entire top floor of a hospital for him and that is where he has been residing lately.
It’s also rude to show the bottom of your feet, or to whistle at someone or say no or disagree with anyone!
In case anyone comes to Thailand, thought you should know 🙂