After surviving our adventure getting from Bangkok to Kanchanburi, we settled into our raft house for the night. It wasn’t until the next morning that I fully realized our room was floating. I woke to the sounds of boat motors. Moments later our little cabin began to rock to and fro. I walked out on the balcony and saw the source of the mini earthquake, waves from the river Kwai bobbing towards me.
Rand had left to take his students on a tour of the World War II sites. The girls and I stayed back to save money and because he didn’t figure we would be all that interested. I did want to see the bridge over the river Kwai though, so I gathered the girls and we set off on a walk around Kanchanaburi.
Mangosteen Restaurant was highly recommend online, so I decided to go there for lunch. It was across the river, so we walked over a bridge on the river Kwai (but not THE bridge on the river Kwai). The food wasn’t that great, but we enjoyed the walk.
Bridge on the Kwai
We decided to make our way back to town by crossing the railway bridge over the river (yes, now the famous Bridge on the River Kwai). The girls were afraid at first to walk along the railroad tracks, even after I showed them the wooden platforms on the sides of the tracks for people to stand on when a train went by. I convinced them that a train probably wouldn’t come by and we began walking on the tracks.
By the time we got halfway across the river, they thought it was pretty cool to be walking on train tracks and started taking selfies. Also, they saw dozens of other people on the tracks and figured it must be safe.
The next day we hired a driver to take us to ride elephants and go to Erawan Falls. It cost 1000 baht (about 27 USD) to book the driver for the day.
I wanted to go to Mahawangchang elephant camp. I had read online that it only cost 500 baht per person to ride and bathe in the river with the elephants. But the driver took us to a different camp. It ended up costing 600 baht for an hour long ride and we couldn’t go in the water because the river was too high. I was disappointed because I thought it would be fun to go in the water with the elephants.
We came to the elephant camp because my daughters’ friend was visiting and she wanted to ride elephants during her visit.Luckily, she was happy to just be able to ride an elephant.
First, we got a chance to feed the elephants. We bought a few bunches of bananas and the elephants would take a banana from our hands with their trunks.
Then we rode the elephants. Our family had already ridden elephants in Chiang Mai 3 years ago, but it is still pretty amazing to sit atop these giant animals and go for a walk.
When we finished our ride, we saw a trainer bring out a baby elephant. We cooed and awed as he brought the little guy towards the platform where we were standing. We thought we would just watch the baby from above, but the trainer motioned us to come down. So of course, we did.
He let us pet the baby elephant and pose for pictures. Then he showed us some tricks the baby could do, like standing on two legs. It was so much fun and made up for not being able to go in the water with the elephants.
Next our driver took us to a scenic section of the railway bridge. This time the girls weren’t afraid to walk on it.
Then we stopped to feed some monkeys. Generally, I am against feeding wild animals. I broke my rule to feed swimming monkeys, because swimming monkeys!!! And here I broke my rule again. We didn’t ask the driver to take us to feed the monkeys, but when he took us to where the monkeys were, I just couldn’t not feed the monkeys.
Sierra, having already been traumatized by the swimming monkeys, stayed in the songtheow. Unfortunately for her one of the monkeys climbed in the truck and stole a bag of chips while she just stood there and screamed. The rest of us had fun though.
At Erawan National Park, we went to the famous seven level waterfall. We only went up to the fifth level and then stopped to swim at each level.
One level has little fish that would eat the dead skin off your feet just like the doctor fish in the fish spas all over Asia.
Another level has a rock slide. We had so much fun sliding down it, even though one time I slipped and ended up going down facing the rock.
And a different level has a large swimming area and a bunch of rock under the falls to climb around on.
A delicious meal
That evening we went to a restaurant called Blue Rice by recommendation from one of Rand’s students. It had also been on an online list of good restaurants in Kanchanburi along with Mangosteen. Since our lunch at Mangosteen wasn’t that good, I didn’t have high hopes. But the food turned out to be great. And yes, they did have blue rice.
This day ended up being one of our favorite of the trip so far.