Friday, 7 October 2011

Sangkhlaburi, Thailand

On Saturday morning we left Kanchanaburi and headed slightly more north to Sangkhlaburi. On the way we stopped off at The Hell Fire Pass war memorial site, however hangovers and a windy bumpy bus ride didn't really put us all in the best frame of mind to look around. We were only there a little while before we piled back onto the bus to continue the journey.
A few uneasy hours later we arrived in Sangkhlaburi – where we were to be based for the next 2 weeks. This town is on the Burmese border and is not very westernised at all in comparison to the other places I've been so far. Not many tourists visit here so accommodation is pretty basic (but there's still free wifi) – and girls have to cover their shoulders up until 7pm at night. Nightmare in the 30 degree heat I can tell you !

Sunday was mostly spent exploring the town. There's sort of a town centre with a few shops like 7eleven and Cjs – equivalent to spar at home, a bank, postoffice and bakery. There are a few stalls here and there but there's nothing compared to Bangkok! About 20 minutes walk away at a “resort” there is an entrance to lake which you can swim in and its the other place where you're allowed to be in a bikini but had no time this week – something for the weekend perhaps! In the evening me and two others decided to have a go a Thai boxing. It was great fun but I later regretted it as my body ached so much a couple of days later. Definitely something I'd consider picking up though.

Egg fried rice in a banana leaf

Monday we went elephant trekking ! There was 3 people to an elephant so 2 people sat on the wooden basket and one on the elephant's neck.. Half way round me and one of the girls swapped so we both sat on the neck. Sitting on the neck was so weird... It was pretty hard to balance and you could feel what I guess what the elephant's shoulder blades moving under you. The hairs on the elephant were really prickly too and they flap their ears a lot so you get hit quite a bit – interesting experience. It also absolutely chucked it down for a good half hour whilst we were on the trek so I was suitably soaked by the end of it. Once suitably soaked we got lunch – Egg fried rice with mixed veg (a common dish that ive already had far too many times out here) but it was wrapped in a Banana leaf which made it slightly more enjoyable! Then we headed to The Dream House : Basically its an orphanage which is home to 37 kids ranging from 2 to 17, all of whom have escaped the troubles in Burma. It very sad to hear their stories – some have witnessed the unthinkable but they are all so well loved and cared for here that they are very happy. We stayed and entertained the kids for a few hours before heading back to Sangkhlaburi town.

On Tuesday 6 of us piled into the back of a pick-up truck and encountered a rather painful hour long journey into the jungle to a small village where we would be staying for the next 2 nights. It was a rough journey but the scenery was amazing. Its coming to the end of the rainy season here so the jungle was a vast amount luscious greens and very thick set. We slept in mosquito net tents in one of the rooms amongst the villagers. Over the 3 days we were there, we were volunteers helping to expand the local school. Our project wasn't the most enjoyable – we had to dig a hole which was for the equivalent of a septic tank for one of the toilets. It was pretty hard going with the heat and lack of enthusiasm from the group but we got there eventually. There is a lake not far from the school where we went to swim and cool down – the only catch was we had to wear our clothes! I know its their culture so I went along with it but I can't wait to not have to worry about that kind of thing!

The guys in the village are very friendly and like to get you drunk I learnt on my second night there... Whilst they don't speak much English its still possible to play drinking games. Their favourite is just with a metal spoon: you spin the spoon and if the handle points at you, you take a shot of Thai Whiskey. Thankfully the two bottles of it ran out before I passed out but it was still a good laugh. I enjoyed it in the jungle but was looking forward to leaving because I could not stomach any more rice and veg. At least in the restaurants here I can get noodles, or curry with tofu. Last night I got green Thai curry with tofu and rice and it was the most amazing meal I felt I'd had all week and at only 40baht (less than a pound) I really could not complain.

This morning we went “white water rafting” or at least that was what we were told we were doing. We arrived and were given life jackets and helmets which later I decided was a tiny bit OTT. We sat on the raft on a calm, slow flowing river and set off – we weren't even paddling ! After my white water rafting experience in Zambia I was a little disappointed... Still it was quite nice to float down the river and admire the jungle and its wildlife. For lunch I got a cheese and salad sandwich which made me happy! Don't get me wrong, I’m enjoying the Thai food but being a vegetarian that doesn't particularly like spicy food I'm limited to what I can eat so English food is definitely appreciated once in a while. Another week to go here, but soon I'll be on the islands and then I can totally relax!


  1. that non white water trip sounds rather cool and relaxing, I quite enjoy floating down rivers just listening to the wildlife and stuff

  2. sounds awesome special k! Always makes my mind tick overtime when kids with nothing are so happy with the littlest stuff...yet I have so much stuff in comparrison...eesh...i need a cup of tea! Too much thinking!