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Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:56 am

This report follows on from The Etihad Airways Y Class Experience (with Pics) (by BMIFlyer Feb 17 2011 in Trip Reports)

After a few days in Thailand, I made my way to the Southern Bus Station in Bangkok, ready for a 2 hour journey by bus to Kanchanaburi - or for those who need a better explanation, the location of the bridge over the river Kwai.

The latest adventure for my trip was going to be a self made history lesson on the allied campaign in World War 2, namely the effort made in bombing the bridge over the river Kwai and the allied rebellion against the Japanese. I was to visit the allied troops war cemetery and also the bridge itself. If I had time I would also pay a visit to hellfire pass - a former railway cutting in the jungle which was once described as "hell on earth" by the allies.

After reading so much about this area in my lonely planet guide, I really wanted to visit. Today I would be travelling by bus, a journey which would take between 2 and 3 hours and would cost 75baht - extremely cheap for the time and distance travelled.

We departed Bangkok's southern bus terminal at 4pm with about 8 people on board but the bus soon filled up as it picked up on route from main towns we passed through. Needless to say I ended up being surrounded by students heading home from what I think from the uniforms must have been high school or college.

Our arrival into Kanchanaburi a few hours later was on time and I ended my journey about 10 minutes after this when I took a taxi bus to the guest house I was spending the night at.

During the evening I visited the River Kwai bridge to see what it looked like in the dark. It was in fact lit up, and changed colour every couple of minutes.

After this I found a bar that I'd read about in my lonely planet book.....

I then sat down to enjoy a thai green curry with a beer.

After this I crossed to road to the backpackers haunt "Sugar Cane" for a full bucket (yes you read that right) containing a sour tasting Thai cocktail mix, but it was nice too!

The next day I was awake early, for an easy breakfast - Thai Muesli - after which I visited the bridge yet again. This time I joined the masses of tourists and took a walk across.

I returned to the station side of the bridge and waited for the train to the end of the line at Nam Tok. It eventually arrived about 15 minutes late, and was formed of 11 carriages plus what looked like a really old diesel locomotive. It turns out that it was a very old 'General Electric' design.

The scenery on route was the best I've seen in a heck of a long time on a rail journey - there wasn't much else that compared! It was a slow trip, but we arrived at Nam Tok eventually.

3rd Class seats!


End of the line

Following a brief turn around, the train was made ready to head to Bangkok. We departed 1 hour late, and about 2 hours into the journey, the train was split and my carriage became the rearmost one of the train, so I took a few unique shots out of the back of the train.

New Ticket for my next journey

This time I sat in 2nd class

During the journey, I purchased food and drink from the on board vendors - I landed myself a chicken curry with rice and a fried egg (weird topping I know) for 30Baht / 68p / 1 dollar!

After what seemed like a never ending trip, we arrived into Bangkok about 1 hour and 10 minutes behind schedule.

I produced a Video from the train for you all to see

I then endured a long taxi trip (1 hour!) to the Ekamai (Eastern) bus station for a 2 hour bus ride to my next destination!

By the time I got to the hotel I had been 'on the road for' 15 hours that day, but I have to say that it was worth it in the end, even if just for the scenery alone!

That is the end of my write up for this particular adventure and I do hope you all enjoyed the pictures too.

Thanks for reading.....

[Edited 2011-02-17 16:57:29]
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:45 am

Wow..great non-av trip report BMIFlyer. I'd love to visit that place someday!
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:41 am

Extremely interesting trip. I've read a lot about it too and seeing your trip reports and all those lovely photos there is a mix of feelings in me. On one hand, boy, it is a stunning place and scenery is amazing, but then...looking at the bridge it came to my mind how many POWs lost their lives there. It must have been an awesome experience to see it all. You certainly had a memorable trip.
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:59 am

Just fantastic,

Such an unusual trip to make.It must have been a moving experience to be there.
Loved the pics of the trains etc, even the on board food didn't look to bad at all.

Thanks for posting
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:30 pm

Thanks; I have read lots of plane trip reports but I have very few trip reports on train and bus journeys in Thailand, thanks for the write up.
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:25 pm

Excellent report BMIFlyer. It was nice to read something very different from the usual. Your aviation report was good too, it all looked to be a very enjoyable trip.

One question. What was the purpose of the wicker shade that appears to be on stilts in your photo?
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:46 pm

Great pics, I noticed all the signs were in English and Thai, is English speaken by most Thai's or is that to help the tourist industry. Thanks for sharing.
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:45 pm

Awesome report, and cool photos! Not that I can understand it, but written Thai is beautiful.

Did you meet up with Superfly in Bangkok?
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RE: Non Av Trip Report: River Kwai Visit, Etc

Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:14 pm

Really interesting stuff, you've captured what seems like a really fascinating place.   Staff travel doesn't work out on that railway does it?  

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