After leaving Bangkok, we took the slow train to the River Kwai. I’ve come to love travel by train and I was really excited to get to see different parts of Thailand from out the train windows, getting to try local foods from vendors that hop on and off as the train passes through. It was meant to be a 4 hour ride and sounded lovely. The reality was it was a 6 hour ride on benches with no cushions in a train that’s not air conditioned…not as pleasant as I’d envisioned.
Boarding the train was interesting. Thai people don’t do lines. Everyone just shoves their way on. So the train approaches and we’re in position. Tensions are rising, you can feel the anxiety. Then the train moves up an inch or two and back another foot. This continues so you don’t know if you’ll end up standing near a door or not when it finally stops to board. The train stops and we think “this is it!” So Michael throws one of our packs in through an open window to reserve a seat. Wrong! The train moves again and off goes our luggage with it. Luckily we ran down the tracks and somehow managed to get a seat and not lose our belongings and we were off.
We had seen the floating Jungle raft hotel on the PBS travel show we love and we were so excited to get to stay there! When we arrived by long boat to the hotel it was just like what we’d seen on TV. Each room has a hammock over the river and the beds are draped in netting. There’s no electricity at the resort so at night everything is lit by oil lamps and battery operated candles.
This was a wonderful place to relax! The resort is far away from anything except the little Mon village on the hill behind the hotel. Every morning the Mon elephant comes down for breakfast at the river and local fisherman can be seen diving for a catch around the resort. The only thing to do is read, float in the river and relax. We got a much needed electronics break and honed our card playing skills. The kids are now addicted to playing hearts…I still beat em every time though.
Three nights on the river and it was time to head off to Phuket. We left first thing in the morning on the long boat to the pier where we caught a taxi to the bus stop. Here we were advised to put our red bags out in the street so the bus would see us and stop instead of just whizzing on by. Then a bus ride to the station in Kanchanaburi where we caught a shared van to Bangkok. After many unexpected pick ups/drop offs and double backs, we hopped out, and caught a taxi to the airport, a plane to Phuket and a taxi to our new home. Phew…life’s interesting in Thailand.