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Posts Tagged ‘kanchanaburi’

Old bicycles and ancient temples

December 2, 2004 Leave a comment

BANGKOK, THAILAND – I’m back in the capital after a restful week near the Kwai River. My Irish and German travel mates have gone their separate ways but I’ve since met up with Jen, an amazingly cool Canadian, and we’ve been seeing the sights around Bangkok, sampling some awesome food, and taking some scary tuk-tuk rides. We found some very interesting areas of the city away from the “tourist track” of Khao San Road, great market places and food stalls and temples.

On Tuesday we went to a town 85km north of Bangkok, called Ayuthaya, which long ago was the capitol of the Kingdom of Siam before the Burmese invaded and destroyed most of the city in 1767. There are many Khmer style ruins in the town, so we rented a couple of fairly dodgy pushbikes and cycled about to check them out. It’s been a damn long time since I rode a pushbike, but I survived and even today am kind of surprised that my legs don’t feel like jelly.

As someone from a fairly young country, it was truly awe-inspiring to stand among structures that were 400 years old at the time Australia was being settled by Europeans. At one point I walked into what’s left of an old temple and felt something flow through me that I can’t explain. Nor can I yet describe how it felt, I guess you’ll have to wait for my travel journal to be completed. :)

We then got on the oldest train in the universe (maybe) for the ride back to Bangkok. I’ve heard that the trains in Vietnam are older, and slower. I’d like to see that. :) Might generate a more charitable attitude towards CityRail.

Still haven’t fully decided what my next move will be; the prospect of going to Laos makes me a little nervous now, but I still want to go to Vietnam, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a must I reckon.

Many of the reasons I came here are a little obscure, I guess, but some of the changes I asked for seem to be happening. It’s not easy to explain. This is the most laid-back place I’ve ever been to. Everything runs at it’s own pace. Things just work, despite the chaos on the surface. I just can’t understand how or why the West in general gets hung up on trivial matters to the point where things that should work just don’t. One thing I wanted to learn was patience and gratitude, and these things are definitely forming within me.

I hope everyone is well, take care, will write again soon.

Tiger Temple

November 25, 2004 Leave a comment

k'buri-016

k'buri-018

Thanks to Ricada for the pics.

[UPDATE, December 2006: I’ve since heard some disturbing rumours about this place, that most of the animals there (and the tigers in particular) are allegedly fed a steady stream of tranquilisers and other downers to make them docile. They’re also apparently mistreated. So use your conscience if you’re ever in the area and are considering visiting this place.]

The Spoils Of War

November 24, 2004 Leave a comment

KANCHANABURI, THAILAND – Seems my last e-mail got mangled a bit, the browser crashed as I was trying to send it.

Anyhow…

I’m still in Kanchanaburi, having a great time as you would when the local brew costs AU$1 a bottle and accommodation on the Kwai River is AU$5 a night.. :)

I went to the Bridge today, and to the war museum nearby. Very powerful, to realise all that went on in that area during WW2 affected me quite a bit. I think Cambodia is really gonna hit me hard.

I met up with two other travellers, Caitriona from Ireland and Ricarda from Germany, we’ve been hanging out, climbing waterfalls, petting tigers [pictured], swimming, boozing it up and harrassing the locals with some Godawful snooker/pool playing, pretty ordinary attempts at spoken Thai, and singing so bad I’m sure we’re breaching the Geneva Convention somehow.

I’m planning on heading to Laos sometime in the next 2 weeks but I’ve heard that there’s a big international govt. conference on (ASEAN or something) in the capitol at the moment and they’ve closed the borders as a security measure. If the don’t reopen before my visa expires on Dec. 13th I’ll have to go to Cambodia first. The benefits of no plans. :)

So yeah… I’m still alive, a mite hung over right now, having a complete blast. Love & peace to all baby, yeah! :)