On Tuesday we got back to Bangkok from Pattaya pretty late (after 11) only to wake up really early (4am) on Wednesday and head west out of a predawn Bangkok.
By 7am we were at the infamous bridge over the river Kwai, the end of the “death railway.”
Note the sleepy looks on our faces in the photo below.
We had a market breakfast in a nearby town, probably The Makham.
We then drove along the jungle roads deep into the forest. It had started to rain and we stopped briefly at a rest stop with an observation point, but the ground was too wet to reach the observation point.
Around lunchtime we reached the sprawling Nature Club Resort in Kanchanaburi.
The resort is an “adventure” resort with lots of areas for “nature” activities like off road ATVing and ziplining. We didn’t do any of that though, after checking in we had some lunch and then left to go to the new temple Wat Wang Wi Weh Karam.
We passed by these guys on the way:
Next stop was the New temple (I’ll explain why it’s new in a moment)
As we left the temple is started to drizzle. The photo below was taken from the bridge on Song Ka Lia on the 323 road. This was our first glimpse of the famous old wooden bridge (supposedly the oldest in Thailand).
We stopped by an overlook for the wooden bridge that crosses the Songaria River.
We left the lookout and drove down closer to the bridge until we were in a little town nestled right at the base of the bridge.
We parked on a street in the tiny little town nearby and walked down to the river’s edge.
Then we walked out onto a long tail boat. The rain started to pour harder and harder but we kept going.
Eventually, far down the river we came to the old location of the Temple Wang Vivagaram before the watchiragum dam built downstream at the intersection of the three rivers caused the temple to be almost completely submerged underwater.
This was one of the more unforgettable images of Thailand. On a tiny boat. In the pouring rain. Circling a submerged Buddhist temple. It was perfectly mysterious and exotic, like a Beksinski painting come to life.
Halfway to/from the old temple you can look to the right/left and see the gold tower at the new temple.
On the way back to the Nature Club we stopped at the border point with Burma to see the three stupas.
Then we stopped in a small town to eat at a local restaurant. On the wall was a painting illustrating the new and old temples, bridge and so on.
They had asked for a medium spicy venison entree, but it was so hot I was coughing and hacking for a while.
This was exasperated by the fact that they didn’t have a single milk-based product in the establishment. Whatever chilies they put on the meat were different than the normal ones as these burnt my tongue and kept it hot long after I’d gulped down the dish. It was about ten minutes of sipping water and eating plain white rice before I could actually taste anything but “hot” when I tried to eat any of the other food.
The restaurant had nice plants hanging down growing from seashells around the exterior. I’d like to duplicate something like that in our back patio some day.
At a gas station I spotted this gigantic gold monkey. No big deal to the locals…
Our resort was certainly something a nature lover would appreciate. We each had our own room built inside little houses on the side of a lagoon. Looking out the window there were no signs of human life anywhere around the lagoon, save the occasional fishing boat drifting across. We would see (and hear) more ducks and dogs than people that night.