Friday, December 17, 2010

Travel-Track-"Kanchanaburi"-An Iconic Bridge and An Animal Park in Need of Help

As part of my odyssey of the places in Thailand, one of the recent one being Kanchanaburi, a historical place situated 130km from Bangkok.Bordering Myanmar at its north-west, one can reach the city via road and rail.

Three types of buses (air-con/ non-aircon/mini-bus) plying the route Bangkok-Kanchanaburi.The aircon/non aircon busses originating from Bangkok's Southern Bus Terminal throughout the day, departing every 15 minutes from about 5:00 AM until 10:00 PM for the 2 to 3-hours journey. Mini bus originates from Bangkok's Khaosan Road and will reach Kanchanaburi within 2 hours.

Trains leave the Bangkok Noi Railway Station (Thonburi Train Station) two times a day for Kanchanaburi.Dont expect a first class service to be offered as only 3rd class trains run along this route and the journey will take 5 hours.

One thing that Kanchanaburi is famous for is the Bridge on River Kwai (pronounce it as "kwey"). Around 16000 prisoners of war and over 100000 local labourers are believed to have died due to diseases/maltreatment during the construction of this bridge.This bridge was constructed as part of the Burma Railway line or better known as the "Death Railway" by the Japanese army to support its forces in Burma.

So off we go by road to Kanchanaburi...road are mostly 4-lanes and turned into 2 lanes as we go farther to the outskirts of Bangkok before entering Kanchanaburi.

City centre..they even have Makro here!

We stopped-by a small muslim stall for lunch..very simple and cheap pad-kaprao rice and ox-tail soup but all were delicious.

After a hearthy lunch, we continued our journey to Safari Park. Take note that this park is not really situated in the heart of Kanchanaburi but located further out of the city. We passed through some open field and local villages and if i recall correctly it is located approximately 35km from the city centre.

The entrance, i was excited to see this theme park styled entrance...

untill we came to the ticket counter..which is dilapidated in nature....

and greeted by these sleepy animals....

though my earlier excitement had somewhat perturbed by these preliminary sightings, we moved on and for a meager sum of around 120THB (i remember so..) we really did not mind and hoping the internal parts of the park would offer some surprises. (120 THB is for locals as i got  T to pay for always..LOL)

Safari Park is basically an open-spaced animal park where-according to its website,  is the only place in the world where we can clasp affectionately the giraffes neck(??)......
Visitors will be driven around the park in a mini-bus to explore the park area and have a close encounter with the animals.

Of we go on a similarly dilapidated in condition minibus to explore the park..the first side was an area full of deers...lazying around under the hot Thai sun...

thereafter, separated by metal gates, we entered the bear sanctuary...i managed to capture only one (backside) picture of the sun (?) bear....bear is private in nature i believe...
things got more exciting when we entered the tiger and lion's area...

..and the open savanna liked area of the zebras and giraffes...

we were eager to touch the giraffes..when...

yess..when they say you can touch the giraffe's neck they were not fact you can touch the whole giraffe's head!

T admiring the cute :)

you can feed the giraffe with carrots which can be bought for 40THB per bucket-small bucket i mean...this is the best part of this park..really brings out the inner-child within us as we mingled closely with these animals..

the "savanna" area is the last part of the park and afterwards we planned to see the animals show...we were disappointed to be informed later that the show is cancelled due to no-audience and the only available show is the dog show anyway..????

We left the Safari Park with mixed feeling. I felt sorry for the animals therein as i feared for their welfare and health being neglected due to no income coming from the poor ticket sales. T informed me that from his conversation with one of the worker of the park, during weekdays, no visitor will come to the park and weekends will see less than 10 people coming to see the animals.As at the time of writing this i believe they are still in operation-or at least it's website is up and running. T promised to bring me to a more exciting and livelier animal park in Bangkok...well maybe not in the near future i told him as i had enough of animals sightings!

we return to the city of Kanchanaburi and headed direct to Bridge on River Kwai as it was nearing its closing hour-around 4pm.

though ive never seen the movie..being here and seeing it with your bare eyes brought a sad feeling to your inner heart, reminiscing and reliving the sufferings of those POW and the labourers in constructing this bridge.Be careful with your steps as there are many un-mend/repaired parts of the bridge which left open spaces on the railway line. A children may easily fall down the river through these gaps..scary thought indeed.

floating the riverside

We left Kanchanaburi around 5pm and was greeted with heavy rain in Bangkok as we rushed for our night screening of Resident Evil at Siam Paragon.Feeling exhausted after a road-trip upcountry and at the same time happy to had spent our time visiting these exotic spaces adding up to our list of places that we had ventured together.

Maybe next time i should start writing on my long-pending Europe trip report. Anyway, Happy New Year to all my dear readers-ill be celebrating it with my friends and loved one in Bangkok..wherever you are be safe and take care..all the best in your new year ahead and lets travel more to open up our horizons! Cheers-Kay.