First of all Mel and I have just passed the one month mark of being in Thailand. Yay for that. Its been the most ridiculous month with trying to accustom ourselves to everything here.
We have Internet obviously. Both of us have Thai sim cards for our phones and data plans(I have a cooler phone though. Even though she thinks her’s is cuter..psssshhhh).
Mel now has a web presence as I set her up with 2 sites. One for her professional stuff and one for personal stuff.
Check them out at
I really don’t even know what I have or have not posted about what we have been up to since my last post so I’m just going to post about our latest adventure in Kanchanaburi.
Mel and I found out that one of(if not the) biggest holiday’s was over the week of April 11 – April 18. Songkran is the name of the festival and it is basically the Thai New Year. It celebrates the hottest month of the year! That was fun to hear when I was hoping that we had already experienced the hottest, but apparently 102F + 85% humidity was not hot enough.
The festival from what we heard was basically a week long water fight and that it was terrible and everybody Mel talked to(mind you that they were all Americans that said this) said they hated it because you always get wet no matter where or when. We decided that we needed to get out of the city and go exploring, but where to? We thought about going to Chang Mai up north, or Puhket down south. When I first decided to come to Thailand one of the things I wanted to do was see the River Kwai Bridge. We looked at going there and found a nice little retreat that was super cheap and looked very nice and decided to make a trip to Kanchanaburi.
We decided to take an adventure and catch the train from Thon Buri to Kanchanaburi. We really had no idea how the train system works or anything, but decided to wing it. We woke up early so we could catch the early train(there are only 2 that run each day. 7:45am & 2:55pm) in case something went wrong and we missed the train or whatever. We left the apartment early in case as well and caught a taxi. The ride ended up taking only about 5-10 minutes which was very surprising so we ended up arriving about 2 hours early. The tickets were very straight forward. Getting on the train for any distance is 100 baht(~$3). The train came and we pushed our way onto the train(you physically have to push to get anywhere in crowds here, there is no being polite). We managed to get a seat and 2 hours later we arrived. The ride was actually not very hot like people had said it would be. Mel’s knees cramped up but mine felt fine somehow.
Alright, now we are in Kanchanaburi at 11am and don’t have to check in until 4pm. Where to go and what to do? We have found that the best thing to do in these scenarios is just to start walking. Pick a direction and go. So after being harassed by taxi guys and then getting directions from a very nice man pulling a taxi cart we walked on. Its an often occurrence in Thailand for tuk tuk type people to just give you directions even if you don’t want or need them. They want you to take their tuk tuk so they can take you to your destination, but instead stop at a bunch of small shops and try to get you to buy stuff. Anyways, we ended up finding a market area to walk around. We finally found a place to eat. We absolutely love the Thai Pizza from Old Chicago so decided to eat at the Pizza Company. Apparently Thia Pizza in the US is different than actual Thai pizza, good thing I like hot dog stuffed pizza crust While eating there a Canadian(?) guy started to talk to us. He had a different “vibe” to him but we indulged him. He sat down and started talking to Mel for about 20 minutes until we were close to finishing eating and then asked if he could eat what was left. Clearly the guy was poor or something and just needed food. He was defiantly a foreigner, but must be out of money or something, whatever. If he needed the food then go for it. We decided to just try and find the retreat at this point as we had 2 heavy backpacks and it was about 95 degrees(sweaty!) I can’t remember what we did after checking into the apartment. Maybe just crashed?
We decided today was the day to go see the bridge. That must be a big adventure and a full days worth of stuff right? After a 10 minute walk to the bridge we quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be an all day adventure. The bridge has ALOT of history, but the bridge itself is pretty much just a bridge. We walked over it a few times and finally decided to take a speedboat down the river for fun.
The boat had 4 things on it that they would take us too. The ride was pretty awesome. The wind and the views were just relaxing. We went all the way down the river to a Monkey show first. Really all we took from the show was, “Are these monkeys treated well?” Felt pretty bad about paying for it really. Its hard to tell if you are supporting people that treat the animals well or not. Next on the trip was a war cemetery. The cemeteries are all from the prisoners that died building the railroad and are very pretty. I think I’m forgetting what the other thing was that we went to, or maybe we didn’t go to another thing.
Once we were back to the bridge we decided to have lunch at a floating restaurant. It looked pretty cool, but ended up being pretty terrible. Two of the legs of our table were about 3/4″ shorter than the others(of course two legs diagonal from each other) so we had a teeter totter table. Good thing Mel’s sandal fixed that. The coolest thing about the restaurant was that in-between each section there were a bunch of fish just hanging out so you could watch them or throw food in the water and watch them freak out over it.
We headed back to the retreat slightly disappointed by the day and decided to just hang out and play cards at the tables outside. That was my favorite part of the day. We ended up spending about 4 hours just playing cards and eating here and there.
We had signed up for a Thai cooking class the night before so today we did that. Starting at 9am we and 2 other groups of 2 picked out dishes that we were going to make. Then Apple took us down to the fresh market where she showed us all the ingredients that we were going to use and how to get them. We got back and started the class where Apple would cook the meal and tell us how to do each part while we wrote down in the cookbook that she gave us. Then we were given the same ingredients and had to cook it. This was super fun and I’m very excited to cook for people when I get back to Montanamerica.
Once we were finished in the kitchen, we took all the food we made back to the tables and ate.
Again, we didn’t have anything planned for the rest of the day so decided to venture into the ensuing water fight in the city to see if it was as bad as we had heard. Its easy to explain, you just cannot be dry! Well actually as a foreigner they are usually reluctant to splash you, but once we hit the British bar they were more than willing to make sure we were wet. Mel was already pretty soaked as I was walking behind her encouraging everybody to splash her. The kids were afraid so I pointed and shook my head yes at her so they would do it (Love you Mel )
We signed up for a tour for today so we had something to do all day. We had planned on just doing everything ourselves, but soon realized that taking a tour was much easier with transportation. I’m convinced now for sure it is the best way to go and actually not that much more expensive.
On the Agenda for the day was
- Bamboo Rafting
- Erawan Falls
- Train Ride
- Bridge over River Kwai
We left at 8am and our van picked up a French couple on the way out. Apparently it was just us and them for the day. They were super nice. They had only signed up for the Falls, Train and Bridge part. They dropped us off at the Elephant camp where Mel and I were immediately taken and placed in a seat on top of an elephant and taken on a ride. The ride was…interesting. It wasn’t really that exciting, but the guy leading the elephant was super excited to take pictures with my camera.
Once the elephant camp was over we were taken down to the river to do rafting. The rafts were simple. A seat on a bunch of bamboo and then two guys paddle you down the river. Thinking back I think we could have jumped into the river and probably should have because it was so hot. The rafting was just relaxing, but not super exciting.
When we got back from rafting our van(mini-bus as they call it here) was waiting for us and took us to Erawan Falls. The falls had 7 levels. Each level composing of about 5 sub-levels. The hike from the bottom to the top was suppose to be about 1600 meters, but seemed to be a lot longer. It took us an hour to walk up to the 7th level and we were exhausted. I finally jumped into the pool and found an interesting feature of the fish in the water. They like to nibble at your legs and feat. A very odd feeling. We then hiked all the way back down to the Van.
Our driver took us to the train station where we walked around a bit before our train arrived. Then we hopped on the train and were taken on about a 30 minute ride where the van was waiting again.
We visited the bridge again, but since Mel and I had seen it already we just hung out by the van while our French friends went to see the bridge.
Our sleep in and do whatever we want day.
We woke up late and headed down town. The water fight from Thursday was so much fun we decided we wanted to catch it for the full day. We ate breakfast downtown while we waited for a place across the street to open. We had seen on Thursday a place where you put your feet in water and little fish come and eat the dead skin off your feat. Its some sort of Message technique and sounded like a fun experience. Turns out they weren’t open on Saturday, because of the water fight, but should open on Sunday. We spent the day in the midst of the water fight and found a place where we could partake in the water fight.
We took up shop at a place that had some British guys that were having a blast. They had a big barrel full of water and ice. It was very apparent that these were the guys that made sure nobody would get away without being wet. A couple of times a dry foreigner would come by and would be splashed until soaked regardless of how they pleaded. It sounds mean, but seriously don’t leave the house if you don’t wanna be wet today and defiantly don’t walk down this street!
Today was our return home day. We had to catch the train at 2:45pm, but were told that it is usually late and not to be worried if we don’t get there until 2:45 or later. Well apparently it does run late, because the train showed up at 4:45pm. Ugg, sitting in the 100 degree heat was not fun. We made it home though at about 7:15.
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