Saturday, May 9, 2009

Khao Bin Cave, Ratchaburi

The western part of Ratachaburi province has many limestone hills with caves. Among them is Khao Bin cave, one of the most impressive I've seen in Thailand. Located approx. 22km away from the town, it is certainly worth a visit if you come this way.

It has several interconnected large chambers within filled with impressive stalactites & stalagmites formations. Without tripod, I wasn't in the right mood to take any shots, so I borrowed some from Google Images to illustrate. For better pictures - click on "another photo site" to the right side of blog.

My guide is this young girl at tender age of 9. It is good to have a local to walk through the various spots of interest. She was a bit stiff posing for me, having been on the job for only 2 weeks.

I invited her to pose again with a smile, she obliged with a shy one.

Is this considered child labor? Good to earn some pocket money. Nobody make a fuss about it. Seem her parents are operating the torch rental booth.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Few tourists ventured beyond the River Kwai area around the provincial town of Kachanaburi. From there, Sangklaburi is another 3hr drive north towards the Myanmar border.

Lunch break along scenic River Kwai, this boat ferry locals & motorbikes across.

The last 75km past Thong Phapum has few traffic and some of the steepest roads I've driven in Thailand. Population thins out quickly and one can feel going into another world of its own. A restaurant by the river with these inviting sights tempted me for a break.

A row of 3 Buddhas under open shed greeted us upon arrival at Sangklaburi!

What? One is a pregnant Buddha image! The one and only I've seen so far & my friend, CK living here, never notice it before!

There are several resorts & restaurants with scenic views of the lake and its communities.

At far end is the longest wooden foot bridge in Thailand, where Mon villagers cross to town for work each day.

Newer foot bridge vs the old (to the right)

The golden Mon temple stands out strikingly against its surrounds. Its founding abbot passed away short time ago and his successor was murdered by gun shot, due to some conflict of interests.. so the story goes.

Luang Por Uttama & the unique Chedi design.

Its architecture resembled one in India I was told.

After some search on Google, I think this is the original Chedi in Buddhakhaya, Bihar- India, where Buddha was supposed to reach Enlightenment here.

I find it interesting to see a mixed of small Hindu deities (on the ground too) by the side of monk sculpture .

A little drive to the border.. from a temple ground at the Myanmar border, Burmese villagers across strolled by. This fencing & gate can allow border crossing without formalities (if you dare!) Note the urns of deceased on the border wall! Nearby is a crematorium to the right.

A highlight of the trip was a night out in the lake on a house boat seen here.

As we slided out of anchorage, I was amused it was this boy who single-handedly nudged the house boat into open water before the tow boat took over!

This family greeted us as we left for the night.

Lovely sunset views with the wooden bridge on the way out.

We were well prepared with snacks and drinks, not least our laptops. With a PDA phone, we got on-line to do some Forex trades. CK continued next morning with his laptop on external battery pack.

My activity was peddling around on this boat with complete serenity .. no swift currents to worry about!

9 am, the tow boat returned to bring us back.

Others were heading out for a boat tour.

Back to civilization again!

End of journey... the boatman cut his engine. They are so skillful with their delicate maneuvers!

As my friend CK has chosen to live & devote time to help orphanages here, surely I'll be back this way many times again. His 4x4 Toyata Hilux outside his rented house with a lovely entrance.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tiger Temple

Did you ever come across a Discovery Channel documentary featuring a tiger temple in Thailand? If you do, it is in Kachanaburi; just another 50km or so from the River Kwai bridge.

It is a remarkable story of a monk who started an orphanage for baby tigers whose parents were poached. His love & care for the animals gained international fame and became another example of amazing Thailand! Where else can such a story come about in real life!

Tourists don't come to visit the temple.. they flock here to see the tigers in open and free setting!

The monk who started raising the tigers more than a decade ago. There are close to 20 adult tigers now!

Each day at 3.30pm, the tigers are lead to a canyon and set free unchained!

Where tourists took turn to pose with the tigers! Imagine a live tiger on your lap like that? Tame like a kitten!

It is hard to take your eyes off with the big cat that close!

Scary when they turn around to face you!

Walking the last tiger back to their cage

Lay your hand on the tiger's back.. we were told. It seem to assure them!

It is also a sanctuary for other animals, feeding time at 5pm

Quite an experience I must say... it's definitely worth a visit!

River Kwai & the Death Railway

The infamous Death Railway over River Kwai is a much visited place of interest in Kachanaburi. Though it do not mean much to the post-war generation like myself. Only a visit to the War Museum here bring home a lesson of war time sufferings by POWs and atrocities of the Japanese conquerors!

It was built by Japanese at the expense of more than 100,000 lives for logistics supply through Burma in their campaign bid to take India. It was bombed repeatedly by the Allied forces and put out of action towards the end of WWII.

An open park sits at the river bank of the rail bridge, a far cry from an isolated & deserted spot during my first visit in the mid 70's.

These days, the railway only carries tourist traffic!

The bomb reminds of Allied bombing raids to cut off the Japanese supply lines.

There are a host of leisure activities around that includes river cruise & rafting.

The War Memorial Cemetery is still visited by many veterans & families of deceased POWs.

A lone gardener tending the cemetary grounds.

So many POWs were fresh young troops just arrived before the fall of Malaya & Singapore, taken and lost their lives here!