Kanchanaburi is soaked in history with its prominence in world war II. The attack of the Japanese during the war has left deep marks on the city. Also disheartening are the stories of American soldiers who were tortured to death here. More than seven hundred American servicemen were moved to Thailand and Burma, as prisoners of war of the Japanese during world war II. They were interned in prison camps and were forced to work on the Thailand- Burma railway project. The conditions were so inhuman that many perished to malnutrition, physical abuse and various illnesses. Over a period of time, the bridge known as death railway bridge over River Kwai has turned into one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Thailand.
|Rail bridge over river Kwai|
|Death rail bridge|
|Lit up Kanchanaburi|
|The evening show over the bridge|
|Fireworks over the bridge|
|Monument erected by Japanese community|
The road that leads to the bridge from the town turns into a colourful, vibrant and glittering market, selling a plethora of things from puppies to electronics to food. I was stunned by the action filled market with exciting displays and thronging crowd as I strolled through the inviting stalls.
|The colourful market of Kanchanaburi|
Thirty two kilometers from Kanchanaburi lies the famed Tiger temple. It was well known for a long time as a tiger sanctuary, where the stripped cats were taken care by buddhist monks. However, currently they have a voluntary organization that take care of the tigers. People from all over the globe join this organization and do voluntary service. Monks can be seen in the sanctuary, with a couple of them either playing with the tigers or feeding them. We waited for a while as the tigers were led into the park. They looked majestic, gracious and beautiful as they walked down the mud path to the arena where visitors are allowed to be photographed with them. A long list of instructions were laid out to us, before we could get closer to the tigers. This is to make sure that the visitors do not act in any way which might instigate the tigers to charge and injure themselves. The tigers are chained and lie on the ground as they get photographed with people. The few cubs seemed more playful than the relaxed older ones. It is definitely an adrenalin rushing experience as you touch the lovely beast. There are more options like 'walk with the tiger' and 'play with the cub in the waters' for the adventurous ones. There are other animals too like bear, deer and a few birds within the premises along with a buddhist temple.
|The gracious cats|
Signing Note- A scroll back into world war II...!!
Distance- Bangkok to Kanchanaburi (130 Kms) (Route 323)
You may read my co-rider, Shrinidhi's article on Kwai bridge here- http://www.enidhi.net/2014/01/
P.S.- I was riding across northern Thailand with Ride Thailand on an invite from Tourism Authority of Thailand.