We began this school day with a field trip to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. This cemetery honours the remains of the captured Allied soldiers and airmen who died as POWs building the Burma-Thailand railroad during the Second World War.
There are 5,000 British Commonwealth and 1,200 Dutch casualties commemorated in this cemetery (all of the 356 Americans who perished as POWs were repatriated). There are two other major cemeteries nearby which hold the remains of a number of the 25,000 Allied soldiers and airmen who were captured, forced to serve as laborers for the Axis war effort, and died of malnutrition, disease or neglect. It should also be noted that an estimated 100,000 Burmese and Thai civilians also perished during the railway construction.
The famous book and film adaptation The Bridge on the River Kwai dramatized the story of some of these men and their ordeal as prisoners and builders of over 600 wooden and iron-concrete bridges.
Although the entire Burmese Railway line was put out of commission by Allied bombing in 1944 and 1945 a number of bridges survived and a long stretch of rail between Bangkok and the Kanchamburi province remains in use today.
We visited one of these famous remaining bridges over the river Khwae Yai and got see the afternoon train to Bangkok pass over it.
After these history lessons we rode for about hour up river to the Erawan National Park to visit some famous waterfalls. There were seven tiers of waterfalls to explore there. Our Adventurers swam in tiers 2 & 3, hiked to tier 4 and agreed to forgoe the remaining uphill kilometer to see the others.
We were still rewarded with beautiful waterfalls and pools that we could swim in.
Brian was the first to make the plunge at tier 3 but he was a little disappointed with the finish of his dive.
One of the interesting (and weird) aspects to swimming in these pools is the abundance of fish. These fish have taken a liking to the frolicking humans and will nibble a bit if given a stationary target. It’s like a free fish spa pedicure.
Some of our Adventurers were more tolerant of this fishy behavior than others.
Suaram was willing to get a full fish “boot” for the experience despite how much it tickles. What a strange feeling having these fish tickle/nibble at your feet.
We ended the day at the Kanchanaburi night market where we had dinner, Suaram bought some cute sapphire earrings and CreeperKitty bought himself a watch. Did counting baht and bartering count as Math class?