Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

From Bangkok, we headed to the town of Kanchanaburi, most visited for its World War II history, specifically the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, part of the Death Railway constructed by the Japanese during WWII. It’s estimated that over 100, 000 people died in the construction of this railway (90% were forced civilian labourers with the other 10% consisting of Allied POW’s).

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Bridge over the River Kwai. Hard to imagine the blood and sweat that it took to build this.

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Walking on the bridge. Trains still cross this bridge twice a day. 

There are several ways to reach Kanchanaburi from Bangkok. The most expensive and fastest is by taxi (cost=2000 baht). The second is by bus (cost ranges= 100-150 baht per person). The third is by train (cost=100 baht per person). As we love train travel, we opted for this truly authentic Thai experience. It didn’t hurt that tickets for our whole family cost $11 CAD/$8.60 USD. The train departs not from Bangkok’s main train station but from its tiny Thonburi Station. And from there it flies along the tracks, windows down, doors wide open, making many stops at quaint stations along the way during the 2. 5 hour journey to Kanchanaburi.

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Not much to Thonburi Station. Easy enough to show up at the station and buy your tickets just before departure. We arrived an hour prior to buy tickets and grab a quick lunch.

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Delicious and cheap chicken and pork rice can be found at this place directly across from the station. Run by the loveliest family we met in Thailand. 140 baht ($5 CAD or $4 USD) got us 4 plates of chicken rice served with bowls of soup. 

 

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Not the most comfortable seats but at least they were not hard benches and there were plenty of empty seats to spread ourselves out on. And no A/C but who needs that with the windows down and fans blowing from the ceiling (FYI – there’s a switch by the seats to turn these on which we didn’t figure out until the journey was almost at an end).

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Sticking heads out the window as the train speeds along the tracks made for great entertainment (just make sure you have quick reflexes).

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One of the many quaint stations we passed, complete with a portrait of the King and Queen and a man with a green and red flag for signalling the train.

If war history makes your eyes glaze over like mine, there are plenty of other reasons to visit Kanchanaburi. Our main reason for making the trip was to celebrate our girl’s milestone 10th birthday by hanging out with the elephant’s at Elephant’s World, a sanctuary for old, sick, disabled and abused elephants. Check it out in my next post.

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