Piled high with tropical fruits and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice, and local food cooked from floating kitchens, Thailand’s floating market boats are all the craze for tourists. And the best known floating market is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Totally chaotic, small canals are filled with tiny boats, expertly paddled and maneuvered around cramped spaces, ready to stop and bargain at a moment’s notice. It’s colorful, noisy, and TOTALLY touristy but great fun!!
Kanchanaburi, in Myanmar border, is home to the famous Bridge over River Kwai. During WWII, Japan constructed the meter-gauge railway line from Ban Pong, Thailand to Thanbyuzayat, Burma. The line passing through the scenic Three Pagodas runs for 250 miles. This is now known as the Death Railway.
The railway was meant to transport cargo daily to India, to back up their planned attack on India. The construction was done using POW’s and Asian slave laborers in unfavorable conditions. The work started in October 1942 was completed in a year. Due to the difficult terrain thousands of laborers lost their lives. It is believed that one life was lost for each sleeper laid in the track.
At the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, around 7,000 POW’s, who sacrificed their lives in the railway construction, are buried. Another 2,000 are laid to rest at the Chungkai Cemetery. Allied forces bombed the iron bridge in 1944. Three sections of Bridge River Kwai were destroyed. The present bridge has two of its central spans rebuilt. The original parts of the bridge are now displayed in the War Museum.
The Bridge River Kwai became famous all over the world since being featured in movies and books. Now a tourist destination, the track is developed into a walkway with side platforms, allowing crossing of the railway bridge by foot. These platforms are also useful as viewpoints to absorb the beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Riding the “Death Railway”
Starting at Tham Kra Train Station, we hopped onto a tourist train that runs along just one section of the notorious “Death Railway” over the River Kwai.
But first, while waiting for the train (because in Thailand trains don’t come on time- they come when they come), we took a walk along the wooden trestle railway span from the station into a nearby cave. Amphoe Sai Yok Cave houses a large Buddha inside placed there by the villagers. It is said that the Japanese stole valuables and hid them in this area alongside the tracks, and since WWII, artifacts have been dug up and the locals still occasionally find one of the valuables.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!