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Kanchanaburi: The tour

Written on: Thursday April 3rd, 2008

A journal entry from: See you next year!

In Kanchanaburi we decided that our "lazy interlude" should be over and done with and with the weather less hot, we went on a tour. We keep forgetting we don't like tours, and usually say "never again" after we have been on one, but then again it can be useful for seeing several things in one day, without the hassle of finding out how to get there yourself and/or haggling over the price of for example the transport. Also, sometimes (quite rare though), the tour is well arranged and the guide knowledgeable.

Not this one though. We went to the Hellfire Pass, part of the Burma Railway and a place full of history. We had read that you could walk along the railway for a good few kilometers, and since the planning was to stay at the site for two hours, I thought that was what we would be doing..or at least walk part of it. But when we arrived, the young guide said we had no time to pick up audio phones in the museum, we only had half an hour on the site and then some time in the museum, as we had to hurry to pick up another group that had been elephant riding (???). Apparently they had combined two groups, and we should understand the logistic problems they were facing because of that. Cursing the tour agency, but more so ourselves for having fallen for a nice tour brochure (again!), we decided to spend less time in the museum and use that time for a little walk anyway. We would meet them again at the entrance.

Looking jealous at other tourists who seemed to have all the time in the world to soak up all this history (and surroundings), with audio systems on their heads and all, we just satisfied ourselves with some signs that were placed in the area. Until we reached the ultimate sign of signs: "No Tourgroups beyond this point!" Not sure if it was meant for us, we had to go back to the entrance anyway. But: Never again a tour for us! (Of course we will, sometimes you just have to, but I would strongly advice other tourists to not use one for Hellfire Pass and the Death Railway...There is just too much to see and do and learn (even the museum and audio systems are quite good) to fit in 2 hours...or 1 in our case).

 

The afternoon was spent at the amazing seven-tiered Erawan Falls, where we climbed to the seventh layer and had an (almost private) bath. Nice!

 

 

Roy's highlight of the day was still to come though: We went on a tourist train along part of the famous Burma Railway (== Death Railway). Firstly, we arrived far too early at the station, where our guide pointed out that we should "buy souvenirs from the many souvenir shops" (those were her very words, and I think she was making up the time missed at Hellfire Pass in the morning by giving us more time for souvenir shopping. Just what I needed!). When the train arrived, it was packed with camera-holding tourists and we couldn't see a thing out of the window. Roy was sitting two seats behind me, amidst American tourists leaning over to look out the window, and shouting stupid remarks. Looking back at him , I could just tell he was having a great time ("Why did we do this again???").

The final stop was the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, which we walked up and down with many others. Still interesting though.

So, as you can see, you can do a lot in one day if you go on a tour. But we will never do it again...

 

From Riet Meeder on Apr 26th, 2008

What's wrong with an elephant's ride? Hadden jullie ook niet eventjes een tochtje kunnen maken op een olifant? Als je toch zo toeristisch bezig bent....

From Riet.Meeder on Apr 28th, 2008

"What a difference a day makes..." if you are on a touristic tour. Beautiful and interesting fotos made on one single day! Thanks

From Geri on Oct 6th, 2009

Ehm.. ik denk dat ik maar geen tour ga doen.