Last weekend was the beginning of Buddhist Lent, so I had two days off! We took our long weekend and headed to Kanchanburi to visit the Bridge over the river Kwai (pronounced like square with out the S) and Erawan National Park.
Our journey began with a bus ride. We took a 2nd class air conditioned bus to Kanchanburi, it was only supposed to be 2 hours but with all the stops it took longer. Then we got on a local non air conditioned bus that was packed like sardines for another hour to our bus stop. From the bus stop we walked a ways before a hotel van picked us up and took us to the pier where we got on a long tail boat down the river Kwai to our hotel. To say the least we were in a very remote area. The first day we hung out at the hotel and the kids swam in the pool.
Sunday we headed into town to visit the sites. For those of you might not be up on your history, during WWII the Japanese occupied parts of Thailand, including Kanchanburi. They set up prisoner of war camps here and used the prisoners to build a railroad that would connect Thailand and Burma (now Myanmar). We started with a stop at the cemetery then headed over to the Bridge over the River Kwai. We walked part of the way across and then had lunch on the river. The restaurant had fish food, so the kids had fun feeding the fish in the river, Mom and Dad enjoyed eating the yummy fish from the river. Next stop was the JEATH museum. I would definitely skip this one next time. Next up we headed to Hellfire Pass, which was just past our hotel. This was one of the most difficult parts of the railway has they had to cut through a large section of rock. The museum here was excellent and it was very interesting to walk along the trail and see the pass. I would definitely recommend that people take the extra time to come out here when visiting.
Monday was our day to go to Erawan National park. We hired the most cautious songtow driver I have ever come across in Thailand. He drove very slow and slowed down for all the speed bumps! The only frightening thing was the hand gun we noticed half way through our trip in his glove box. Erawan National park consists of a series of 7 waterfalls. You hike along a trail to each of the falls stopping along the way to swim. The kids really enjoyed this. Nell especially liked the one you could slide down. I liked the one that we dangled our feet in and little fish came up to us to nibble on our feet. Watch out for the big fish though they can hurt.
Our trip ended on a very sad note. Our last night there we received word that Rob's Grandmother Gayle had passed away and that our basement in Illinois had flooded. This made the trip back rather somber. We will miss Gayle very much, but know that she led a long and full life.