Sitting on the train after Kwai crossing and WangPho viaduct on Friday 14th August 2015 on my way to Bangkok, then Chiang Mai tomorrow. This latest trip offered history with beautiful views…if scary with open doors on the train to a drop along the Wang Po viaduct built by PoW in WWII! It now has a luxury lodge opposite across the river, something the boys back then would never have believed! Not only did they make travel possible between Burma and Thailand – begrudgingly and unwillingly but with little choice – for our enemies at that time, but their legacy lives on with the railway still in use, and boosting tourism for this fascinating country!
There were people wanting to get by me and a teacher taking photos, against this open doorway that dropped directly to the track and the gorge, on a relatively fast moving train! One of the many exciting times I am due to have it seems, but this was sad, awe-inspiring in what they achieved, and as a traveller, learning the culture with the people on board too – third class in some trains are hard wooden benches against the coach side, but great views instead of facing forward!
I got some good videos along the river, albeit not the original River Kwai but the Muong Khlong. To avoid tourist problems the Thais renamed it Big Kwai or Roi Kwae. Nice and simple, the way the Thai people like it! 😄 The original River Kwai is one that joins this river somewhere on it’s journey I believe! It was, of course, made famous by the war film Bridge over the River Kwai that showed their work and suffering but made out the glory too.
I met a lovely Thai man at Wang Pho on his way back to work at Thakasae Bridge station where he maintains radio equipment on the railway. Previously in the Air Force as an engineer where he learned his English to speak with Americans, too. Told me how to get from Thomburi to Lamphong on the 40 bus so I would be safe with crime around the stations.
He said he liked to talk to people so we chatted about my travels, his wish to see England one day, etc etc.
We shook hands and I gave him a hug when he got off, which seemed ok.