The River Kwai and the Tiger Temple are both unique and amazing attractions. But combined, the contrasts of human tragedy, love for animals, war history and the strange feeling of being inside a BBC tiger-documentary, makes it an experience you will never forget. I have been there two times, in 2008 and in january this year, and it’s easy to get there both from Bangkok and my second home town, Hua Hin. There are a lot of guided bus-tours to these destinations, and you can choose from one day-trip to several days. We found it easier to hire a driver and his car: 6000 baht for two days, and about 500 kilometers both ways. (Last time – in 2008, we travelled by minibus and paid 3800 baht per person). We departed early in the morning and arrived at lunch time. We had a very good lunch by the bridge, where we also rented a longtail-boat. The boat was quite expensive, 2000 baht, but it was worth it – both the trip in it self, but also as a way to get around to see several attractions. First visit was the Jeath war museum. This museum offers both the story about the railway and the war, and it also shows how the prisoners of wars slept and lived. It tells the story about the railway that was never finished from Bangkok to Rangoon. This railway is known as the Burma railway og The Death railway. About 180.000 asiatic builders and 60.000 allied prisoners of war worked on this railway. About 90.000 workers from Asia and 12.399 prisoners of war died. The soldiers came mainly from Great Britain, Australia and the Netherlands. The Jeath war museum is not only a museum about the cruelty of war, but also a monument of its absurdity. The prisoners who survived dysentery, malaria and other life threatening diseases, died because they were killed – not by the enemy, but by their own friends and countrymen. They railway was massively bombed by allied forces due to strategical reasons. Next stop was an amazing cave, Kaeng Lawa Cave, where you in fact climb and walk trough a mountain. There are hundreds of bats in narrow paths and big cavities.
In the world of tigers girls are crazy and boys are lazy. it’s as simple as that.
I suppose the most exotic way to spend the night in Kanchanaburi is on one of the fleets on the river with candles. Our driver recommended The River Kwai Hotel, and bought the rooms through Agoda. It was a cheap, but clean and nice hotel with a very pleasant breakfast buffet by the river. The Tiger temple open it doors at 12 noon. A perfect way to start the day is to visit the Elephant’s World. In 1900 there were about 100.000 elephants in Thailand, today its about 2000 wild and 2000 domestic elephants. Elephants world, situated about 30 kilometers from the town of Kanchanaburi is a kind of retirement home for elephants that have been injured or are just old and tired. A non-profit organization runs the amazing «home». The Tiger Temple is a kind of surrealistic camp where tigers, monks and tourists exist together, side by side. The buddhist monks have been critized for using religion in a commercial way in this temple, and the monks seem fewer and not so musch present compared with the last time we visited the temple. The temple has been criticised by animal welfare organizations, but there are now very mixed reactions. The welfare of the tigers have imporived. In December 2008, ABC News spent three days at the temple and did not see any evidence of drugging or mistreating the animals. Both Thai and Western employees who were interviewed claimed that the animals were well treated. Anyway, its incredible to watch tigers in a kind of relation with humans. How is this impossible. An employee told us: «The tigers walking around are boy tigers. In the world of tigers girls are crazy and boys are lazy. it’s as simple as that. From the Jeath Museum and the River Kwai The Cave The Tiger Temple