One of the goals for our Thailand tour was to get out of the city of Bangkok. Though it was a unique and interesting city with its own culture and experiences, we really wanted to see more of Thailand than just the pavement and skyscrapers. So, we scheduled a full-day tour for our last day in Thailand. The tour took us about two hours outside the city of Bangkok to a rural town called Kanchanaburi. We had an exquisite time on the private tour, and this was by far my favorite day of our travels. I particularly enjoyed our tour guide, Nan, who was a fountain of knowledge; I learned more about Thailand’s culture, religion, history, and nature in that one day than in the rest of the trip combined. Here’s our little tour group with Nan (in the pink hat):
Hiking at the Erawan Waterfall
We began our day at the Erawan Waterfall–a beautiful national park area with a seven-tiered waterfall–where we hiked for about three hours. Here are some snapshots of the scenery on the hike:
When we arrived at the top of the waterfall (at the seventh tier) we went for a little dip in the clear blue water. It was the first time I ever went swimming in a waterfall, and it was lovely.
Religion on the Way
We saw several trees that were covered with clothing and scarves and surrounded by various amenities likes combs and makeup or necessities like water or food. Nan explained to us that the Thai people leave these items as offerings to or supplies for the people who have died in the national park. She said these things also serve to protect the trees from people cutting them down.
Along the way, we saw some wild monkeys that hopped through the tree-tops and then came down for a snack. The video is not zoomed in at all; in other words, that monkey was RIGHT in front of me.
I loved the colors on this bug; God sure did create some amazing creatures in this world.
Ride an Elephant
After hiking at the waterfall, we had a superb lunch of Thai food, and then we headed to an elephant training center for some fun with elephants. Elephants are a very important symbol in the Thai culture, partially because of the Hindu god Ganesha (with the head of an elephant) and the influence of Hinduism on Buddhism and also because the Asian elephants are native to Thailand. Our travel guide said there are about 300 wild elephants in the Kanchanaburi area.
First, we rode in seats on the back of the elephants for about thirty minutes. The scariest part was going downhill!
The best part of the day came right after the elephant ride when we got to BATHE AN ELEPHANT. Basically, this entailed climbing up on the back of the elephant and scrubbing its head with a brush and shampoo. The catch was that the elephant was also bathing us by spraying us with powerful jets of water from its trunk. Here are a few picture that capture the essence of our fun, but the video is the best.
The last stop on our tour was a visit to Death Railway, a railroad that was built during WWII when the Japanese invaded Thailand and Burma and forced the locals to work under terrible conditions causing many people to die during the construction work. We visited a cave that was used as a bomb shelter and hospital and now houses a buddha statue. Then we took a ride on the train and saw a lot of beautiful countryside. We ended our journey at the bridge over the River Kwai, a famous spot along the railroad route.
Of course, we had to have a little fun on the railroad tracks too. =D
As you can hopefully see, my friends and I had a blast on this trip to Thailand. I would love to go back someday to see more of the country, but for now, this was a fabulous introduction. ขอบคุณค่ะ, Thailand! Thank you!