Kanchanaburi’s Erawan Waterfalls consists of 7 tiers and reaching the top is not so difficult if you’ve tried hiking before. At the bottom of the falls is a reception area where each person is asked to show their water bottle. Depending on the size of the bottle, you will be charged between 20 – 40 baht as a deposit that can be claimed when you get back down. This ensures that people don’t irresponsibly throw away their bottles in the area.
As we slowly climbed up the tiers, Stephen, one of the guys from our group told me that he just recently came from the Philippines. We were talking about the people in my hometown (Cebu) when right in the middle of conversation, he took out a note in his wallet and showed me a list that his friend from Cebu wrote to help him understand our language. I was almost in tears laughing at what was on that paper. There is no doubt about what goes on in the minds of Cebuanos.
Everyone was drenched in sweat when we got to the top of the waterfall. I would’ve jumped in the water with the rest of the group too but I forgot to bring my swimming attire.
So there I sat on one side of the falls, hypnotized by the scenery and mesmerized by the group of fish that had started to eat away the dead skin on my feet.
Needless to say, I was very much happy to be alone in a place like this.
Fresh air and a picturesque view, nobody would have thought that such a terrible thing happened here. Reading about it in the museum, the Hellfire Pass was constructed by the prisoners of war during World War 2. It was named so because of the eerie sight of prisoners toiling away at night while illuminated only by torchlights.
Full of trees and plants, the path towards Hellfire Pass seemed to contradict how it probably looked during those dark days.
I’ve seen so many pictures of this railway on the internet so I was curious about it. The story goes back to when the Japanese invaded Thailand and Burma. They needed an alternative route to transfer supplies between the countries so they forced POW’s and civilian labourers to build the railway even in harsh conditions.
Since there was only one schedule for the train that goes through here, we were allowed to walk on the railway for a few minutes and come back to a specified meeting place after.
My fear of heights haunted me as I walked the narrow path. Okay, it isn’t that narrow. But with a brain like mine, you might as well be walking on a rope.
Occasionally, my curiosity would lead me to look down for a second and just like that, vertigo starts to set in and I am paralyzed from the hip down. All I could do is close my eyes and mutter utter nonsense to myself and by the time I open them, I get just enough courage to move a few more steps forward.
We heard the train whistle and the slow chugging of its engine as it sluggishly appears in plain sight. A man in old but neat uniform greets us and gestures for us to board the train. I watched as a hint of boredom flashes behind that plastered smile and heavy eyes. I smile back imagining what he might be thinking about at that moment.
I stared out the window and saw the river houses pass by us. In between, I had imagined standing in one of those houses and seeing the train move past the rocks. It was strangely relaxing and I made a silent wish for the train to go on for another hour. I didn’t get my wish though and we ended up in our last stop which was the Bridge over the River Kwai.
The girls from the tour: Jovel from Singapore and Misato from Japan. At one point, Jovel asked me if I wanted my picture taken as well but I declined politely explaining to her that I would rather take pictures of everyone else. I find it awkward to be in front of the camera when someone else (other than myself) is holding it. On occasions, my nerves tend to go easy though and I am happy to get a shot from friends or family.