Thailand pt4: Kwai and Ko Samet

So many beautiful things already, but here is a lot more! This post I will show you our trips to the river Kwai in Kanchanaburi and the island Ko Samet. Let’s start with our journey to Kanchanaburi.

The river Kwai was made famous by the movie ” bridge on the river Kwai”, even though the river wasn’t named Kwai at all! It didn’t even have a name, just ” big river”.

We traveled there partly by train. Notice the sign in the back, “reserved for monks”. Monks always have their own seats in public transport in Thailand!

We were sitting in the staff area since our guide knew the local train staff ;p

The railroad here was built during WWII, when this area was under control by the Japanese and they forced their war prisoners to build a railway all the way to Burma. Almost half of the prisoners died building this railway, which is also named “Death Railway”.

We visited the area called “Hellfire Pass”, a part of the Death Railway that caused the death of a high number of prisoners as they worked day and night to blow away the rock for the railway. They worked during the night, and their silhouettes in the firelight caused a scene reminding of hell, thus the name Hellfire Pass.

You can still see the marks of the dynamite they used to blow up parts of the rock and create this trench.

It was a very impressive sight, with many memorials and it is unbelievable what kind of work these prisoners had to do. We visited the bridge too:

This dark side of Kwai is surrounded by spectacular nature. We traveled to one particularly beautiful part of the river by boat.

Through the canyons…

And a lot of wildlife and birds around:

And then we arrived at our magical destination:

I’ll give you a preview of what these floating huts look like at night:

That’s right! No electricity!

Oil lamps were lighting the way. We had a lantern in our hut, and that was it. Wow!

We did a lot of relaxing there, that’s for sure ;) We also swam in the river!

At night there was a performance of a traditional dance by members of the Mon tribe.

It was great to experience this beautiful place, especially with the lack of electricity. We saw fireflies at night! It was really magical. In the morning we got up at 7 am to feed the local elephant:

That day we traveled back to bangkok but not before visiting another magical place: The Erawan falls.

This amazing nature park follows a 2 hour trail past 7 (!) big waterfalls. All of them are beautiful in color and shapes.

In these waters are little fish, that will start eating the dead skin of your feet once you step in the water! If felt REALLY weird.

Of course there were many birds around!

And ofcourse the monkeys, stealing people’s food again ;)

We made it all the way to the top:

And headed back down again.

It was beautiful!!!

The last 4 days of our trip we actually spent on an island! Near Bangkok, after an about 3 hour drive, we reached the ferry that would bring us to the small island Ko Samet!

Very nice!

Here we spent a couple of days relaxing, getting a Thai massage on the beach (best ever) , drinking cocktails and eating great food near the sea.

There were huge starfish everywhere on the beach! At night they would crawl out of the sand and wiggle their way towards the ocean!

And there were beautiful seashells and sea urchins.

In the evening we would often walk (or take the shuttle) to the Sai Kaew Beach, where all the restaurants and bars were located.

Locals walked around with portable barbecues and made some fresh BBQ shrimp or chicken!

At night it would be very crowded here, but the atmosphere was great!

I really enjoyed this relaxing break.

All in all, we saw so many different sides of Thailand, and that made it such an amazing trip. There is so much to do! If you like cities then Bangkok has many different districts to explore. Nature-wise Khao Yai is a must, but the whole area of Kanchanaburi has beautiful nature all around. There is a dark historical side when you see the impressive Death Railway. And ofcourse there are the white-sanded beaches. I would love to see more of Thailand someday, that’s for sure.

One thing I won’t miss:

I really can’t stand the smell of durians ;p!!!