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Central Thailand

 October 20th

Got up and were nearly ready when the truck driver came in and said he was going but would be back for us in a few minutes. Nearly an hour later he finally returned and took us to the border which turned out to be no more than a 5 minute walk away anyway. We got out of Cambodia easily enough (again not even a suggestion of any unofficial payment being required) and entered the civilisation of Thailand. Once we had found the minibuses to Bangkok we discovered that the hour delay meant that all of the other tourists had already left. Since we knew the buses wouldn't go until they were nearly full we were not totally convinced by the driver's claim that he would leave in 30 minutes. Once this time had elapsed we decided that it would be better to head into town and get the public bus. At this point a Thai man got involved in some negotiations where he would pay for most of the bus if we would pay 300 Baht each (normal rate is 240 baht). We all agreed to this and eventually we set off for Bangkok. The roads in Thailand are heaven compared to Cambodia (or Vietnam or Laos) so we soon arrived at the Khao San Road. I found a very small (but cheap room) at the Mango guesthouse. In the evening Richard and I went to see the Thai Boxing out at Lumphini Stadium. This was an interesting experience but not quite as bloody or violent as I had expected.

October 21st

I got up nice and early today to go on a day trip to Ayuthaya (one of ancient capitals of Thailand). The first stop was at Ban Pa-In, the royal summer palace. This has got some nice buildings

Phra Thinang Aisawan Thiphya-Art

Ho Withun Thasana

Bang Pa-In Palace

A herd of elephants

Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian

After a quick boat trip we got back on the bus for the short trip to Ayuthaya. First stop was the Golden Mount Chedi





Golden Mount Chedi, Ayuthaya

After lunch we visited some of the ruins from the ancient city

Bhuddas, Ayuthaya

and on to the Elephant Traal where oe could go for a ride on an elephant (but I didn't). However I did take a photograph

and finally to the Wat Phra Si Sanphet area

and then back to Bangkok

22nd October

Caught the local bus out to the Southern Bus Terminal and then a 1st class bus to Kanchaniburi (79 Baht). On arrival there, hopped in a Songthaew to the Allied War Cemetery

After a while looking around the cemetery I walked down to the river to look for a guesthouse. I selected the VN Guest House (100 Baht per night with bathroom). After sitting around relaxing I decided to walk to the 'Bridge over the River Kwai'. This is much further than it looks on the maps. This is not quite the original bridge but acts as a reminder of the 'death railway'.

I also went to the WWII Museum which is near to the bridge. All of the museums around here seem to have the same photos and stories. I'm told that the Australian museum at Hellfire Pass is the best but I never went there.

Spent in the evening relaxing on the deck over the water

October 23rd

I went into town and then caught the local bus to Erwaren Falls. I had been warned the night before that the entry fee for foreigners to Thai National Parks had gone up to 200 Baht per visit (from 20 Baht, 2 months previously) but still felt it was a bit much. The falls however are very pleasant. They consist of 7 separate falls with plenty of pools to swim in between the falls. Alhtough it was a Thai Public Holiday and very crowded at the bottom there were not that many people at the top. After some tricky scrambling I reached the 7th fall

7th Waterfall, Erwaren Falls

I spent most of the day at the falls and got the last bus back to Kanchaniburi. Another night relaxing not doing much but I did get to meet two ageing hippies which can brighten any one's day.

October 24th

I visited the JEATH War Museum this morning. This is better than the WWII museum but as I said previously has much the same information. Then it was up to the bus station to get the bus back to Bangkok. This was a bit cheaper this time (62 Baht) presumably because the seats were not allocated - but the bus was still air-conditioned. I got a bit confused by the local buses back in Bangkok and got on the wrong bus, but was soon kicked off the bus by the ticket collector. With the help of a friendly local I got on the correct bus and returned to Khao San Road. I met up with Luke outside a bar and had a drink with him and then collected my pack and got the bus to the train station. I took the overnight train to Surat Thani with a second class sleeper (388 Baht + 50 Baht booking fee). Then onto Southern Thailand


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