On Sunday I left Bangkok and came to Kanchanaburi. This is more western Thailand and located by the Kwai River. My first night here was the first thunderstorm I had seen here. The rain was extremely heavy and the lightening lit up the sky. Non the less we went for food on a floating raft towed by a small boat along the river. Starting to get used to the food a little more now although I can see mixed veg and rice will become something I'll be sick of pretty soon!
The next day we took a trip to Erawan waterfall – this beautiful place has 7 different “steps” each with its own picturesque fall and a pool area where you can swim. Me and a couple of others went to the top but some people stayed by one of the larger pools instead. I wasn't a massive fan of swimming there, purely because the water was full of larger sized versions of the fish from the fish spas we have at home! If you were still for longer than a second they were nibbling at your feet. I did get used to it eventually and I know people pay to have that done at home but seriously, its just weird!
On Tuesday morning we stopped at a local food market. Fresh fruit and veg as well as meat and fish... Not something I particularly wanted to smell first thing in the morning but I managed. Then we had a Thai cooking lesson. I made 3 different meals. The first was Pad Thai: noodles, veg, tofu for me, and a sweet sauce. It was actually really tasty! Second was Cashew and fried chicken – although I used tofu again. This has some veg and a tomato sauce with it – also really nice. I'd had this as a meal in Bangkok but I was impressed I'd managed to re-create it. The third wasn't something I would choose to make – it was a sort of soup, but you basically put lots of thing in to flavour the water and just have that and some mushrooms. The others put prawns in theirs I think, but I wasn't too keen on the dish at all...
We visited a second waterfall on Wednesday called Sai Yok Waterfall. This only had one swimming area but you could walk up the waterfall itself in a few places which was cool. We then drove to Namtok train station where we were going to get the train to the Bridge over the River Kwai – the start of the WWII Death Railway to Burma, however the train was very slow so we got off and took the truck instead. After having a look at the bridge and around some of the market stalls we headed back. This was also the day I took a trip to one of the local Thai hospitals... I seem to react quite badly to mosquito bites and a couple of them had developed quite bad, infected looking blisters so I was advised to go to the hospital. I was surprised (and relieved) at how immaculate the place was. Later I found out it was one of the private hospitals – so more expensive but a lot better. The service was really quick and efficient, I had my obs done, was seen by the doctor then taken for the blisters to be burst, cleaned and dressed. They even prescribed me a short course of antibiotics. It cost about 1100 Baht which is just more than £20 so relatively cheap really.
Today we visited a further 2 temples: the first 'Cave Village Temple' was, as the name suggests, in a cave and to get to it you had to climb approx 350 steps half of which are in what is built to be the mouth of a dragon; the second 'Tiger Cave Temple' had a small tram type thing to the top. After these we went to meet one of the Monks who taught us a bit about Buddhism and meditation.
Just one more day here in Kanchanaburi, on Saturday we go to Sangkhlaburi which is slightly more North. Its said to be a more rural location but very beautiful so looking forward to it, however I can't wait to get to the islands in a couple of weeks !