Railroads & Greenery

travel

Surrounded by fresh air and a picturesque view, nobody would've guessed that such a terrible thing happened here.

November 7, 2014

Erawan Falls consists of 7 tiers and begins at the bottom where a reception area stood. Before we could hike to the top, the park staff checked the number of plastic water bottles we were carrying. Each bottle brought came with a fee between 20 – 40 baht. At the end of the hike, we could then claim the deposit if we still had the bottles with us. This policy ensures that visitors keep the site plastic free.

Along the way, one of the guys from our group told me that he recently visited the Philippines. Mid-conversation, he took out a small note from his wallet and showed me the content. He asked one of the local Cebuanos to write useful phrases that he could use to communicate while there. I was almost in tears laughing.

Drenched in sweat as we reached the top, I would’ve jumped in the water, but I forgot to bring my bathing suit.

So I sat by the edge of the falls, mesmerized by the group of fish that began assembling near my feet. They nibbled on my toes, hesitant at first, but then grew more confident when they realized I wasn't a threat.

I was happy to be on my own, little corner.

Hellfire Pass

Surrounded by fresh air and a picturesque view, nobody would've guessed that such a terrible thing happened here. During World War 2, the prisoners of war built the Hellfire Pass. The name comes from the eerie sight of prisoners toiling away at night illuminated by torchlights.

Death Railway

I’ve seen many pictures of this railway on the internet which made me curious to see it. During the Japanese invasion, there was a need to transfer supplies between Thailand and Burma. So POW’s and Southeast Asian civilian workers were forced to build the railway in harsh conditions.

There was only one schedule in the entire day for the train to pass so exploring was permitted for a few minutes.

My fear of heights surfaced as I walked the narrow path. Okay, it wasn’t that narrow, but I felt like I was walking on a tightrope.

We heard the train whistle and the slow chugging of its engine. A man in old uniform greeted us and gestured for us to board the train. A hint of boredom behind his plastered smile and heavy eyes. I smiled back wondering what he was thinking at that moment.

I looked out the window and saw the river houses go by. I imagined standing inside one of the houses and watching the train move through the cliffs. It was so soothing that I quietly wished for the train to keep running for another hour. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case, and we arrived at the last stop—The Bridge over the River Kwai.

What to read next