The morning of day 5, we left Bangkok early and started making our way to Kanchanaburi.
We stopped on the way to visit a market set up next to the railroad tracks.
We were there when the train went through. What an awesome experience!
Our next stop was the floating market of Damnoen Saduak. Before I visited the floating market, I had a lot of misconceptions. The biggest one was that people were selling items from a boat and we would have to take a boat to be able to buy things. That was not true at all. The market was bigger than I expected, but totally accessible by foot.
One of the things that Paul did at the market was pay to hold a snake. He said it felt cool and refreshing on this hot day. Paul bought himself a silk shirt for about $7 and I bought a pair of dragon pants and a couple more shirts. I bought some mango sticky rice for lunch.
Then we visited the famous Bridge over the River Kwai. We also stopped at the war museum and cemetery. I won’t go deep into the historical significance today. The bridge was rather long. We didn’t spend all our allotted time walking across the bridge and back, although the thought did cross our minds.
This isn’t a great picture, but I wanted to show you the tree with the ribbons around it. I mentioned a few days ago that the Buddhists believe in reincarnation. They also believe that loved ones can come back in the form of a tree. When a loved one comes back as a tree, they wrap ribbons around it and the tree cannot be cut down. They also have a little shrine set up which is not an uncommon sight outside of homes.
Here is the view from the bridge.
We arrived at our hotel by suppertime. It was very remote and downright beautiful. This was our view from the front of our hotel. Today was the first day I had the feeling that I was very far from home. This was my favorite hotel stay on the trip. I wished we could’ve stayed longer, but there really wasn’t anywhere to go or anything to do in walking distance. The employees of this hotel spoke very limited English. They wanted to charge us for ice to be brought to the room. It was hard to communicate.
The hotel swimming pool was breathtaking. We went swimming the first night we were there. I wish we had more time to spend there. The next day was going to be filled with sightseeing. We were told to wear mosquito repellent at all times, but surprisingly it was not very buggy.
That night Paul ordered fried fish. He got a fried fish alright. He said that it was excellent. I was craving Western food. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich with fries. The sandwich came out on white bread with the crust cut off. The ham was the cheap sandwich meat kind, the cheese was the cheap processed kind. Let’s just say that all of the American or Western food that I ate out East wasn’t all that good. I don’t know what I was expecting.
The service at the restaurants was unusual too. The servers seemed to have a hard time picking up our cues that we wanted another drink or that we were finished with our meal. We never had to wait for a table and never felt that we were rushed out of anywhere. I mentioned before that the servers also would not drop off menus and come back. They would stand at the table and wait until you ordered something unless you told them to come back.
All of the meals had a gratuity of 10% added to all of the bills. That made it easier converting dollars to bahts. However most Americans only tip 10% if they receive poor service, crappy food, or go to a buffet. For an excellent meal and service, most Americans happily tip between 15% to 20%.
We went back to our room exhausted from our long day and fell asleep to Thai boxing that came in poorly on the TV.