Kanchanaburi during King’s Birthday Celebrations
Pak Chong to Kanchanaburi / Bangkok to Kanchanaburi:
I asked a few different Thai people in Pak Chong about the best route to Kanchanaburi, and always got the same answer – the safest bet is through Bangkok.
I took the “big bus” as they call it from Pak Chong to Bangkok Morchit (150 Baht per person), then minivan to Kanchanaburi (130 Baht per seat) and a taxi to hotel (100 Baht maximum).
When I arrived in Morchit, I was under the impression that there was a bus at 11:30am, but I was told that 9am was the last one – asking at different counters, we got the same news. The other option was to spend time and money to go to the South Bus Terminal, but it didn’t seem ideal. While negotiating for the minivan, we were quoted 130 x 4 Baht – 2 seats for us, and 2 for the two bags we had. We pushed back, walked away, came back telling our “demands”. I could hear the ticket lady saying “arliaaa” continuously as we walked away. My wife told me that she was saying “Darling”.
As she was trying to talk in English, she was on our turf. This meant that if we confidently negotiated, it could work to our favor. My wife said that we’ll keep one of the bags in our lap, or under our legs. We also said to make tickets for just 1 bag when she resisted. This worked well as the minivan does not have enough space in the legs area, and the bags we has were stacked successfully in one of the seats at the back. This saved 130 baht, and we arrive in Kanchanaburi 3 hours later.
Everyone – even the staff at the station seem to be wearing slippers. The whole environment is laid back.
If you really wanted to go to the toilet here is a tip to hold it longer:
As half of the day had gone by, We visited the Thai-Burma Railway Center where taking photos is not allowed. It tells the story of the 400 km railway that the imperial Japanese had wanted to build through Thailand to defeat the Allied forces in South East Asia. It tells a story of beriberi, disease, and death of thousands of labourers. It’s a modern museum well worth a visit.
Next to it is the Kanchanaburi War Cemetary having a lot of graves of the Indian forces – the sign on the wall seems to have mostly muslim names.
I couldn’t find any of the halal shops to eat that I saw elsewhere on the internet, but saw some others. Here is a list of halal places I found:
- Next to Tesco Lotus A few streets opposite to Kanchanaburi Railway is a road that serves Pakistani / Indian grilled food.
- Inbetween Tesco Lotus and 7-11 is a stall serving chicken as well as sweet Crepes.
- Chicken, hot dogs, rice stall near River Kwai bridge stalls.
- A further 10 minute stroll down the market away from River Kwai is a Shawarma stall.
The places are easily identifiable as they have Allah, Halal, Bismillah or similar written in arabic.
At the end of the day, we had foot massage. Thai people may be skinny, but have a lot of power. The masseuse was more of a butcher that was trying to remove all the meat from the Thai. I wanted to scream a few times but resisted. It took two days to recover, but felt great.
The best tip for anyone wanting privacy during a massage is to ask for a VIP room.