Photo Gallery & Impressions 11a


We had planned for a weekend trip south on the west coast of the Gulf of Siam.  We were to go farther south than Hua Hin for a special snorkeling adventure at a small private island.  However, Thailand's weather changed our plans.  A typhoon was approaching, and we were advised that a weekend on the sea would not be the best idea.  We put our heads together to come up with a "plan B."  Ted and Susan had a friend who had spent time as a monk at a wat near Kanchanaburi that is famous for caring for tigers and other animals. Keith and Ted had both read about a relatively new museum in Kanchanaburi devoted to telling the true and unbiased story of the "Death Railway" from Thailand to Burma.  ...  So Kanchanaburi would be our destination.

Late morning Friday we wait in the rain in Ban Pong for a bus to take us to the northwest. The comfortable ride takes just about an hour.

Peg stands in front of the River Kwai Hotel in downtown Kanchanaburi where we stayed.

This is one  view of one main street of Kanchanaburi as taken from a pedestrian bridge.

Later in the day we are driven out of town by the folks of Good Times Travel Service where we visit the grounds of the "Tiger Temple," noted for its "Wildlife Rescue Project."

These docile gentle giant cats are under the watchful control of the monks.  They are tame & patient enough to let us pet them & scratch their itches.

Peg gets this happy big fellow to look straight at the camera.  It  was an awesome privilege to be so close to this large kitty.

This baby was quite vocal about NOT wanting to be picked up, even for a picture.

Keith knows where this little guy needs a chin scratch.

Lunch time was most welcome and Keith got the honors.

A few of the other residents of the preserve.  Or are they the big tiger's lunch?  (not really)

Later that evening at an outdoor cafe where we had a poor dinner but great guitar  music. 

On Saturday morning Peg & Keith walk past this Chinese cemetery on the way to the museum. 

Just north of the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, we spot the new museum, the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, which just opened a few months ago. The railway was built by the Japanese using POW labor & ran from Nong Pladuk near Ban Pong northwest to Burma.

We take this photo after a most enjoyable & educational tour of the museum, coffee shop & gift store. This is an interactive museum, research & information center dedicated to presenting the true story of this famous WWII railway. We now understand this tragic bit of history much better now.

Here the founder & Managing Director, Rod Beattie, pose in front of the impressive facility with other visitors from Australia. Mr. Beattie pointed out to us the important role that the area around Ban Pong played in the history of the building of this railroad.

Heading back toward town and our hotel, we stop for this photo at the entrance of the Allied War Cemetery (about 7,000 buried here).

It is then time to join with Ted, Susan & a delightful couple from England for more adventures with the Travel Service.  Here we are boarding a long- tail boat for a speedy tour of the Kwai River.

As we zoom south on the river, we pass these party boats being towed by a small boat which is just out of this picture.

Our first stop on the cruise is at the Chung Kai War Cemetery, where more British, Dutch & Australian soldiers are buried (the relatively small number of American dead were shipped back to the States).

Another stop was to visit the cave  at the Khao Poon Temple. Our cave photos did not turn out well but Peg got this one of sweaty Keith coming up out of the cave.

Before leaving the temple grounds, we get this photo of the river below. The rail line is just out of sight here as it runs below along the river.

This is a candid shot that Keith took by holding the camera up & pointing it to the rear of our boat capturing our guide & boat driver. Both of them were interested in the speed indicated on Keith's GPS & cranked the boat up to over 65 kph as we headed back.

The long-tail cuts its speed as we near the famous rail bridge over the River Kwai.

There is no good way to take a representative photo of a long-tail when you are in one, so Keith gets this picture of another long-tail after we dock. Keith decides that this is his favorite mode of transportation in Thailand.

Now, with a little more respect for the history of this railway & the location of this bridge, we join the many tourists walking out on the bridge. Yes, the train is approaching ...

  ... but there are areas on the bridge for the tourists to allow for safe passage of the train.

As we pose for this classic tourist photo, we wonder how many of the thousands who visit this bridge really understand its history. We highly & strongly recommend a visit to Mr. Beattie's museum.

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