7-10 Kanchanaburi to Khao Sok national park

See trip index here and Southern Thailand index here. Additional pictures here

Day 8 was planned to be a simple day out on the train from Kwai (k-way not k-why) to Nam Tok to see the Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi waterfalls.  There is a dedicated tourist train that gets closest but we were unable to get tickets, but we planned to just get to Nam Tok (2.5hrs) and walk to the waterfall instead.

As expected, the train was an hour late, but the views across the countryside were spectacular in places and the Wampo (Wang Po) viaduct was very impressive.  You can’t get more authentic than third class on a train that rattles over every badly joined rail! The lack of health and safety meant you could hang out the doors over the pass to get decent photos – but beware – hold on as the track does lurch a lot as I found out…!

When we got to Nam Tok the train was so late that we didn’t have enough time to walk to the falls and back before the last train of the day left – though likely it would be over an hour late as well it wasn’t worth the risk of being stranded, so we got back on the train we came on to get back.  When we left the guesthouse in the morning, we left our weeks laundry, and when we came back we had everything clean, washed and dried, folded and smelling nice (and a lot better than we left it) – and got charged £1.50!  I’m sure Mel could get used to this…

After a drink in a dodgy lady-boy bar we had a dodgier meal on the street that was a sort of Russian-roulette.  As in it tasted nice but we wouldn’t find out till the morning if it will kill us or not.  It didn’t kill me, but Mel is on an unexpected weight-loss diet.  Not too bad fortunately as we left Kanchanburi heading onwards and facilities would be sparse…  A slight shame, as whilst the backpacking/guesthouse area is a bit iffy, the local part of town and the surrounding areas are superb and well worth a visit on any Thailand tour and we could have probably spent another day or two here quite easily.  We did omit the infamous “Tiger Temple” as there is a split opinion as to whether it is a genuine centre for Tigers, or a money making scheme that actually mistreats the tigers.  We had differing first-hand views , local views and web views.  So we decided to wait till the similar place in Chaing Mai which is, apparently, better.

However, our next stop required a train booking which we made a couple of days prior – a night train from Nakon Pathon to Surat Thani.  To get to Nakon Pathon train station we bought a “tourist minibus” which should have taken the hassle out of the day. So after some more wandering round, we got back to the guest house only to be informed the minibus doesn’t stop at Nakon Pathon, but stops at another station “that will be okay”.  After a debate and us making them check, they found it didn’t, said sorry, and said we should make other plans.  Apparently the local train now is running, oh – and due to leave in 15 minutes!  A rushed exit and tuk-tuk to station, we found the train was 90m late.  Then a few minutes later, 2 hours late….  If it got any more delayed or cancelled, we’d miss the connection and not have any way to get to Surat Thani as by then busses would stop.  As such we legged it to the bus station and got a friendly (but mad) bus instead (50 Bhat – £1 for a 1hr40m journey).  Quite a nice ride actually, and the driver had a loose pet squirrel… 

After Mel got **** on again (lucky eh?) we enjoyed a very local food market for tea at Nakon Pathon next to the temple, and got our train, but for some reason our seats/bed weren’t air-conned – so we sort-of slept in about 40’ heat.  Not pleasant but not as bad as it could be – though no doubt we need a scrub down in the shower.  Interestingly, some girls we chatted to later were in a car with working air-con and they could not sleep as it was too cold!  As expected the facilities were basic, and the toilet was a western looking toilet, but just covering a hole so everything just went onto the track…

Arriving at Surat Thani, there was a mass of tourist touts trying to sell tickets, and in the end we got a minibus direct to our lodgings in Khao Sok national park for 250 bhat each.  Simple if not cheap, but really £5 each for a 2 hour transfer in comfort isn’t that bad.  So 21 hours after we left, we made our next stop…

Khao Tok is a tropical rainforest in Thailand, and we opted to stay there for a few days. On arrival we just had a good shower and a lazy day exploring the local area and eating where we stayed (Smiles Bungalows) which was nice enough.  The location is very quiet (apart from natural jungle noises) and very different from the towns, but Jungle adventure awaits!

Next installment here

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