Calm your tits, rest your breasts, hakuna your tatas. 

After spending a few days in Bangkok, we decided that we’d had enough of the city life and wanted to go somewhere for a few days before Oliver arrived here on Saturday :-). So we decided to travel up to Kanchanaburi, or Kanchan, just a few hours north west of Bangkok. A few people we’ve met told us that Kanchan is a very chilled-out place and that it has a lot of WW2 history there such as the Burma Railway pass and museums. I’m not normally a museum type person but this sounded particularly interesting because you can walk the railway or ‘Hellfire Pass’ as its called, and I love a good ramble with a view. 

After researching ways to get to Kanchan, we decided to get the 7.50am train from Thonburi train station which is at the other side of Bangkok. So we headed outside about 7.30am to get a taxi, which was a huge mistake and we should have known better with Bangkok traffic as we only moved about thirty yards in five minutes. At which point I suggested that we get on a motorbike taxi – something I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been here and this was the perfect excuse! On I hopped, held onto the handle at the back and off we went. It was madness! But I absolutely loved it, whizzing in and out of traffic, without a helmet on, the wind blowing my eyelashes away, trying to be a good pillion and sitting straight! It was the best time of my life! Probably one of the highlights so far to be honest. If people come to Bangkok and don’t do it, they’re missing out on the full Thailand experience. After thirty-five minutes of the best time of my life, we arrived at the train station fifteen minutes late but luckily for us so was he train. Another Thai custom is to always be late, they’re never on time but luckily this is the first and only time it’s worked in our favour. 

After another interesting two and a half hour train journey through the lovely green countryside of Thailand, we arrived at Kanchan and went straight to a tourist information booking place to get a tour to Hellfire Pass, about an hours drive away. The museum we visited is situated at the top of the Hellfire Pass and it’s been developed by the Australian government in memory of those who died building the railway. Firstly, we wondered around the museum and took in the story about the Burma Railway, which I’m glad we did otherwise the walk on Hellfire Pass wouldn’t have been as meaningful. Walking down the pass itself, we could see remenants of the old track which 112,000 people died to build during ww2. Luckily we’d arrived at a good time because we missed the crowds of people, so we had long stretches of the track to ourselves. Great photo opportunities as well as just being able to enjoy it as it should be enjoyed, with quiet respect. As we walked through the cuttings that the prisoners of war carved into the mountain to hide the track, I felt strangely at peace. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be a PoW working on this track and in the inhumane conditions they were forced to live and work eighteen hours a day in, in heat that made you short of breath after walking ten steps. But it’s incomprehensible. One thing I learnt whilst reading about the lives of the POWs is that the human body can go through so much. Much more than I or anyone I know has ever been through and hopefully will never go through. It’s horrifying to think people suffered like they did for a cause they didn’t believe in and I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t happen in today’s world, but we’re so desensitised to it now. As an era of humans who haven’t really experienced pain and true suffering like people did in the wars, we can’t conceive the idea of what life was once like. And I know it’s ignorant to say this but until I’d been and visited this museum, I didn’t realise the impact ww2 had on other countries. I mean, it is in the name ‘World War’ but we don’t get taught about other countries in school. Or I didn’t anyway, only about Germany and England and even then I failed to listen because I didn’t like the concept that the world hadn’t always been as it is now. That is naive. 

Anyway, walking the pass was worth it, especially for the amazing view point we reached which looked over the trees below and the mountains in the distance. It was a hot day, with clear skies so the view point was welcomed; so was the rest. 

In the evening we had a wonder around Kanchan, which held an extremely care-free attitude. Something I haven’t experienced quite as much in the other places I’d visited. The main street was scatterered with small bars and restaurants, we chose some place to eat and had a nice pad Thai. Then we wondered into a reggae bar. With it being low season or ‘green season’ as it’s better known by Thai locals because of the amount of rain that falls, most places were fairly quiet but I could imagine that in high season Kanchan is quite an electric place. Emily took us to a reggae bar, which had traditional green, red and yellow Jamaican themed decor; including a hammock on the back wall with images of Bob Marley and other reggae artists pinned on the walls and a resident cat sleeping on the leather sofa in a corner.  Evidence of previous visitors of the bar were carved into the walls and ceiling with messages of peace and love. One message read ‘calm your tits, rest your breasts, hakuna your tatas’pretty mcuh summing up Kanchan in one quirky quote. As Tom was still feeling the effects of the stomach flu we only had one drink and went back to the room to get rest before travelling back to Bangkok the following day. 

All in all visiting Kanchan was worth it, even if just to take in the greenery on the journey there. Thailand is such a beautiful country when you get out of Bangkok. You don’t have to go far out of the hustle and bustle of Thailand’s capital to appreciate it’s dense, untouched ,evergreen rainforest and it’s huge limestone mountains towering above hidden caves and waterfalls. 

This is the true Thailand. 

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