AT#727 - Travel to Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Bags back on the road. And read it's. Real. Fast Board. Amateur Traveler episode seven, hundred and twenty-seven today the amateur traveler talks about railroads and World War Two history waterfalls and Temples Pad Thai, and the bridge on the river Kwai sort of. As we go to contradictory Thailand. Welcome. To the amateur traveler I'm your host Chris Christensen. Let's talk about Thailand. I'd like to welcome to the show Michael Derosier 's from the ear goggles podcast who come to talk to us about a region in Thailand we have not talked about before and I'm going to try and say it, and then we'll help Michael pronounce it correctly, and that is contrary Michael Welcome to the show. That's perfect. Contradictory I did it okay. Okay. Excellent. Thank you so much I'm glad to be. Here and Michael's a longtime listener of the show and Michael you live now in Thailand. Yeah. That's right. I'm an American ex PAT I've been living in Bangkok since two thousand thirteen like a lot of people I came here on a one year teaching contract I fell in love with the city and I've always loved traveling and and now it's just sort of home seven years later it just feels like home. Will and why this particular region that you picked out why should we be talking about contradictory? There's a lot of reasons that people come to. Thailand. We'll come to Thailand for Bangkok or to go to the beaches and the south people come to Thailand to go to temples or to eat the food. But cutting Aubrey has some things that people don't necessarily think of when they think of Thailand at World War Two history that's a lot of our trekking and hiking that normally, you wouldn't be able to do as a tourist here. And as a matter of fact, I was doing research for this and I found that the provincial slogan of country really sums up the reasons that people should go here. It's quite a mouthful coming from the United States we have slogans like the Golden State or the lone star state, right but the slogan for Kanchanaburi Province is I'm going to just read the English. Translation. A province of ancient community three pagodas pass precious Stones River, bridge minerals, and waterfall resources and I think that just sums it up. Perfectly. Excellent and could you put it on a map for us? Absolutely, it is a little bit north west of Bangkok. It borders me and mar it's the largest province in the western region. So if you're looking at a map of Thailand and you're looking at the western region, of Thailand, you'll see it definitely the biggest it's much bigger than a lot of the other provinces in the area. Excellent will what kind of Tannery are you going to recommend for us when people go to catch and Aubrey there's really three categories of things to do and see, and so I really recommend grouping your itinerary around these three topics. The first one is World War Two history. The second one is nature in the third one is history and culture or ancient history and culture. Okay and. For me I'm a big history. So for me, the reason that I went there originally was to experience the World War Two history. And that's probably what the the province in the town itself catcher number town itself is best known for. So Catching Aubrey is probably the best known in the West as location of the bridge on the River Kwai. The famous but and film starring. Eunice. and. It was the site where sixteen thousand allied POW's and about ninety thousand Asian laborers died trying to build the railway all the way from Singapore to Myanmar during the Second World War. And it's a really powerful sight of his and there's a lot of historical places. There's Hellfire Pass. There's one Poe viaduct. There's the allied war cemetery, all of which are related to this historical moment in time. Will and you said that one triple I might have with their FAI getting a cab and I say take me to the bridge on the River Kwai. I may be confusing. My cabdriver. That's right. Why is that? Absolutely because even though the movie is world famous as the River Kwai that's actually not how it's pronounced in the thai-language in tie it's actually river quay I don't know why they spelled k. w. Ai i. think it should be written. K. W. H. E.. So as not to confuse people but in tie the word quiet means buffalo and so if you ask a driver to take you to the choir, the river, Kwai they're going to be yeah, definitely confused. You're not going to go where you think you are will. So if I go there now as I recall the end of the movie, they blew up the bridge but there is a bridge they're still right there is a bridge it was rebuilt the bridge in the movie was made of wood the rebuilt bridge is metal. Parts of it are original from the reconstruction back during the Second World War, but parts of it have been rebuilt since then. And the reason that it's been rebuilt is because it's actually still an active part of the Thai railway system. So getting to catch and Aubrey from Bangkok there's a lot of ways that you can get there. But in my opinion, the best way to go is to actually take the train along the Burmese death away from Bangkok to catch, and it goes right to the bridge will, and we should say that when you talk about it as the death railway, that is because of the number of the laborers and the prisoners of war who died building it not because that will be your experience necessarily on the trail. Not. If not the most comfortable train, but you'll certainly survive. Got It. And we can take that right from Bangkok. The main rail station in Bangkok is Elim punk station. You cannot get from there. You have to cross the river to a station called Bangkok noy station. And it's quite easy to get to. You can just tell any driver of Bangkok noy. They'll know exactly where to take you and the train ride takes about three or four hours depending on how many stops they make I believe it's only third class so it's not going to be the most comfortable trip, but it only costs the equivalent of three US dollars and you get to be on this historical railway and you get to see some beautiful scenery out the windows as you're going through the countryside. In. My opinion it's definitely worth doing. Do you say third class and we need a little bit of clarification there 'cause I think of the trains that I have taken in Asia First Class you had a private compartments second-class it was open, but you might have a space but. What is third class third class. I'm not hanging on the outside, right? Absolutely not no third class. You're not going to have an assigned seat over sell the tickets, but you won't have an assigned seat. It'll be a bench rather than an individual seat to sit in. The open there's usually not air condition, but it's more fun because there's going to be people walking up and down selling snacks and drinks. There's going to be people sticking their hands in the window trying to sell you mangoes and bananas as you're driving along and it's it's a lot more fun. I think to ride that way at least for a short distance you know for three hours it's okay. I wouldn't go across the country that way but for. A day trip three or four hour journey. It's great. Okay. So we get to the end of the line on the death railway successfully, and then what are we gonNA do? Well when you arrive at the Kanchanaburi Railway Station, you're right in front of the allied war cemetery in town and I really think that's probably the best place to start. You can walk through the cemetery and it's really well-maintained. It's actually maintained by the Commonwealth Work Raves Commission. And the soldiers interred there are mostly Dutch or Commonwealth citizens of the American POW's were are their remains were repatriated back to the US so you won't see many Americans, but there's a lot of commonwealth citizens buried there and it's it's kept up incredibly well, and just outside of that, there is the Thailand Burma Railway Center, which is a private museum that's dedicated to sharing the history of the railway in the history of the Second World War in country, and it's probably the best museum on the subject there several museums in the area This one is in my opinion the best one it's very informative. They've got a lot of great artifacts that have been donated by the. Survivors or by their families and I would absolutely recommend starting there. Okay from there. I would say go to the bridge, go to the bridge itself and see that you can walk across it. Be careful because the trains run on it, but people tend to know when the train is coming in and get other way in plenty of time. But yeah, you're allowed to walk across it. So if you've read the books or if you've seen the movies about this event, it'll feel very real when you walk across the bridge and if you're into history and if you know a lot about history or even if you're not I, think it's a really powerful moving experience to visit it. Further on well, okay I do want to back up for a second because there is a question that you asked and you would ask me what the guidebooks recommend that I would skip and I do WanNa talk about that because it is related to this part of the town. Okay. So when you're going to the bridge, there's also another war museum called the GP Newseum J. E. A. T. H. I believe it stands for Japan England. Australia Thailand. Holland Museum okay. It's officially a war museum and there's a lot of write ups about in guidebooks and the guidebooks recommended I. Don't know if I would necessarily recommend this museum is just it's it's kind of badly organized. It's really just a collection of of stuff from one thousand, nine, hundred there's this is a typewriter from nineteen, thirty six and you're like, well, that's great. But that has nothing to do with the bridge on the River Kwai, and there's a statue of Winston Churchill in a statue of hero he toe and it's just a very kind of odd museum. It's just a collection of stuff. And if you want to do it, it's fine is probably a dollar fifty to visit and they do have some some real artifacts. They have a real train engine to have some military planes and helicopters. But if you're on a time crunch I would recommend skipping. It is really just not not worth the time necessarily to visit. But while you're on the track of visiting the Second World War, sites I I, really can't stress enough. To Visit Hellfire Pass. which is out of town, you will need to get a driver or take a motorbike to get there. It's out of town about an hour and a half I guess the Hellfire Pass was the most dangerous part of of the railway construction where the the POW's had to chisel out a path through a mountain essentially and it was called Hellfire pass because just how awful it was working there they were working eighteen hour days. And Hellfire pass also has a very good museum that is maintained by Australia by the Australian government. And when you're there, you can actually walk through the the past they've carved out, and there's an audio tour that you can get from the visitor center that is made up of a collection of interviews by the survivors. and. It's incredibly moving. It is such a powerful experience and I can't recommend that enough. So it's worth the day trip to get out there. Okay. Sounds wonderful. That's what I would recommend for the Second World War. If you're interested in that history, the more modern history if you're interested in nature Canton Aubrey is also a great place to go, which is another reason that I'm a huge fan of it living in a city like Bangkok always happy when I can get away from the ten million people and just look at something green for a little. And I love catching Aubrey because of that, it's in the jungle. It has a fairly small population. It's a fairly remote and rural province. And it's home to six different national. Parks. ooh. So if you're into hiking if you're into tricking or camping, even it's great I love camping out there I love trekking if you want to go to the national parks and you can only go to one. I would recommend Erawan National Park. E. R.. A.. W. A. N. it's named after Erawan who's a three headed elephant from? Hindu mythology. And it's one of my favorite places in the whole country. It's got this seven tiered waterfall right at the visitor center and you can trek up to each level. It takes o two or three hours is not incredibly strenuous. but it's beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful and it each level you can stop in there's like a pool where the waterfall has formed natural pool and you can go swimming in it and you can also camp there you can contact the visitor center and hire a guide and go trekking through the jungle. So if you're really interested in experiencing the tide jungle, it's perfect Erawan National Park is the place to go. And if you're not brave enough to hire your own motorbike and you don't WanNa, spend the money for a private driver. There's actually a bus that goes from Kantian Aubrey town itself directly to Erawan National Park. So it's really easy to get to and when you say spend the money to hire a private driver how expensive is going to be in Thailand It's not that expensive. Especially, if you're coming on vacation and you have the money to spend even as a backpacker, it's not that expensive. I would say a driver for a day is going to cost you forty or fifty US dollars. Okay. So. That's the driver and the car correct. Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. But honestly, the traffic is not bad and if you're brave enough most hotels and guest houses will have motorbikes, you can use four free and honestly it's the best way to get around. I'm not that brave I would never write a motorbike in. Bangkok. But out in country Aubrey, it's fine. It's really not it's not scary so. If. You're brave enough. If you have motorbike insurance I would recommend getting around that way because that way you have the freedom to go where you want to go because some of the sites are a bit spread out and if you don't want to spend the money on a driver and if you want to control your own schedule, it's more fun to go on your own via motorbike. Okay. We're to next the third category of things that you might want to see in country is ancient history. And Culture Aubrey has a historical park called Moung Sing? And it's a Kamerhe style ruin. It's very different from. The ancient capital which I believe that you've covered in previous show a long time ago how UTA is tie style ruin but moung sing it's Kamerhe. It's actually one of the westernmost outposts from the Khmer Empire dates back to the thirteenth and fourteenth century around there. It was actually constructed under the reign of King. Jaya Varman the seventh I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing his name, right but he is the king who ordered the construction of anchor Tom in the bay on temples in Anchor Watt historical. Park in Cambodia. So it's kind of a miniature version of Angkor Watt and if you're interested in that kind of history and that architecture, it's really cool place to go. It's small it's about. I would say to collection of two temples and sort of an old fortress. But it's very informative and the cool thing about it. For a visitor is that you're allowed to climb on the ruins and it's probably not good for preserving the ruins. It's not great for protecting this history, but walking on the ruins and touching the stones and kind of standing were ancient people stood it makes it feel very real and that's definitely the trade off I would say the trade the trade off of. Allowing. You to enter the ruins and explore them on your own is that maybe it doesn't preserve them very well. But on the other hand, you do get to get a more up close and personal experience with the ruins, which is also very cool. Well, any when you say you were talking about time period when the king who are now trying to say. Jar Varman. The the seventh it live from like. Eighty two twelve nineteenth. So we're talking. About eight hundred years ago or so these go back. It's kind of rare. You don't see that many Kamerhe style ruins in Thailand, especially this far west. At this point, we are very close to the Myanmar border, and so this is one of the very, very furthest outposts of this empire, which is what makes it kind of rare in the region and really interesting to see excellent while you're at mowing sing definitely stopped by Wong viaduct it's really close. It's just a few minutes away. One Poe viaduct is a trestle bridge. It's also part of the death railway. It's a trestle bridge that goes over the river along the cliff face. And again to walk on it, which is kind of scary because there's no railings or anything, but just just keep your footing I guess. But what's interesting about the one paw viaduct is that there's also a cave right there and the cave was used as a store for the Japanese army and it was also POW field hospital. And it's been turned into a Buddhist shrine. So there's a big Buddha statue in there in lots of people will go there to pray to light incense to make merit. And It's just a beautiful part of the country and it looks over some of the prettiest scenery on the river. Kwai it's very, very close to moving sing. So while you're in the region, just stop by there just make may trip of both of them because you don't WanNa miss either one. And you see to make merit and I think your knowledge of Buddhism is a little better than sorry. Yeah. Right so making merit is basically giving an offering in the name of somebody. In this case, it would be in the name of the people who died in the construction of the railway and that would come in the form of maybe lighting incense saying prayers and donating flowers or maybe donating money. Basically, it is doing an act that gives good Karma to somebody who has died. Okay. Thank you that. I was not familiar with that term and so because a lot of people died there it, it's a very popular place that people will go to pray for the dead But yeah, definitely it's beautiful. It's a little bit scary to walk across though I will say that. It's not like it's not super high. It's probably ten fifteen feet, but it's still scary to walk across the bridge. But again, if you're brave enough go for it otherwise, you can still get some really cool pictures. It. So those are the things that I would definitely recommend as the do not miss. But there are some other things that I would also recommend if you have the time. and. One of the most most highly recommended one of the extra activities is visiting the nature? Park I think an incumbent operates a branch of the elephant nature. Park. That's called the elephant haven I'm always hesitant to recommend anything with animals especially anything where the animals are used for tourism. And a lot of times I think people come to Thailand and they they WANNA see elephants. So they want to see monkeys and they don't realize that there may be feeding into unethical organization or an unethical industry, and so a few years ago my mother wanted to visit Thailand and she she loves elephants. She really wanted to see some elephants and I did a lot of research to try to find an organization that was ethical. And Elephant Nature Park is very good. They're very, very good. They do not allow you to ride the elephants. They take really good care of them. A lot of the elephants at the Nature Park are rescued from the tourist industry or they're rescued from the logging industry. And they're basically able to retire and live out their lives in this large natural area just doing elephant things basically, and so you volunteer with them or if you go overnight to stay with them, you don't get to ride the elephants get to bathe them. You get to play with them. You've got to feed them, but really the elephants are kind of in charge just going where they want to go and doing what? They want to do and you just kind of get to tag along with them and hang out with them in their natural habitat. This organization is very good because they do fight against the exploitative practices that some of the industry does I recommend elephant haven at the Elephant Nature Park, and when you go overnight, you could to stay in a bungalow you stay in the elephant camp itself, which is a really cool experience. And you talk about the elephant experience there and I think I've talked about it once before on the show but I know that there are no pictures about it in amateur traveler on purpose. But when I was there for a tourism board event with teabags travel blogging conference, they had told the tours and people they specifically didn't wanted to go to some of the other non ethical kind of elephants shows which are. Where you could see the elephants outside a chained and these really short chains or where the people who were making the elephants go through these tricks have. Very, point Hook that clearly the elephant was trained with in a comfortable manner. But at one point, we had extra time in the schedule and somebody had missed a memo and took us to one of these shows and I'm sitting there going well, I'm not writing about this I'm not promoting this and it was uncomfortable because I'm aware that writing elephant for instance is not good for an elephant and all of those sorts of things. So yeah. Right well. And don't have any. No, they just don't know. Anytime an elephant now forming or anytime an elephant is being used to give rides. That's exactly the truth that Hook, and the chair sits on the elephants back is really really bad for their back and Colorado a lot of pain and so yeah, people come to Thailand I've had colleagues have come here to work in Thailand, and they're so excited when they see elephants and they see an elephant and they go and they put money in the hat and from the elephant and the elephant does a dance and it's it's really funny and it's cute but you just can't support that right and that's Why organizations like this one like the elephant nature park are really important because they do rescue these elephants that are in that situation and they bring them to this I guess sort of a rehabilitation camp where they can retire safely and they can just about the rest of their lives in a more natural way, and so they don't allow anyone to ride the elephants. They just get live elephant lives, which is I. Think Super Important. Yeah and I wasn't aware of this. I was the the famous went up in Chiang Mai that's similar. This one is a branch of that one elephant nature park is. In the elephant haven. But they're the same organization. But Yeah, you can understand why people are drawn to Elvis. -nificant animal. Really they're so smart. They're hilarious Wa. Oh yeah, and it's the national animal of Thailand. So of course, they're used in promoting tourism here and you'll see them all over the place. So. If you if you do have the time definitely volunteer overnight, it costs a bit of money not not a lot. Maybe a hundred dollars one, hundred, fifty dollars not really sure but it's not incredibly expensive but the money goes to help take care of the elephants and you get to Baid them. You get to the kind of swim with them. And just play with them and they're very playful. They're very playful and very sweet. Sometimes, if you're lucky, they might have a baby and there's nothing funnier than like a three hundred pound baby elephant they're very clumsy and they they're very pushy and they just WanNa play in. It's really really cute excellent. So those are really my my recommendations of things to do. But when you're there, there's a lot more than just that. So those are the top sites. I would say that you should not miss other than that. There are other things to do in town while you're there that will take up a lot more time for example, going to the night market or the walking street in Kanchanaburi town. When you're there, there's not much food that's unique to Kanchanaburi because catch Aubrey is still in the central region of Thailand. Thailand has four distinct cultural regions and catch knobkerries no central region just like Bangkok. So the food that you'll find is really similar, but they have a lot of great seafood or I Guess River. Food. Because they're on the river. So a lot of really fresh river fish river prawns, another dish that they're famous for is this mushroom soup. Okay. I guess it's made of mushrooms that grow really well, there I'm not. I'm not sure but sort of an herbal mushroom soup that's supposed to be really good for you. Other than that. He had the food in the market is very good. You can get Tom Google which is a spicy soup made of prins. And I guess pad, Thai Thai is not the most authentic dish, but it's still really good at so so good. Well, and the funny thing is we have Thai restaurants in the area I'm in. We have a lot of restaurants in Silicon Valley because there's a lot of people from all over the place more. Passports per capita than any other place. And I was convinced that Pattaya was just something that I didn't like because I went to some of the restaurants here that I, Lake. And try the pad Thai it was bland. And we're just noodles right and if you give me just a big plate of noodles that that doesn't do anything for me and and yet it is my Go-to dish when I'm in Bangkok. Thai. I mean it's definitely not inauthentic is tied. Actually has a really cool history because it was sort of invented in the nineteen thirties when they were trying to unify the country in each region had it unique cuisine and they were trying to create a tie identity and so the prime minister sort of ordered the invention of a dish that would have flavors that could appeal to people all across the country and they came up with Pad Thai and they call it pad Thai's in like Thai Patterns Fried. So Fried Tyou Guess Fried Thai Food and they said this is our national dish now and it's going to be something that's not too spicy not too sweet. It's going to appeal to everybody. So it is tie and it's really good and I'm a huge fan of it and I think that most tourists love it because it is really good. It's not too spicy. Don't have to worry about it being spicy well, I mean we shouldn't be too surprised that a traditional dish in many places doesn't go back as far as we think if you think about if you go to Italy, you're going to expect Pasta Pasta comes from China. So right it. Wasn't what they reading in the twelve hundred they didn't. They didn't have that same sort of invention than, and of course, tomatoes came from the new world. So that's right. Everything you're eating is from elsewhere if you go to did you get potatoes while you're having something you expect, but they also came from the new world and so a lot of places what was traditional dishes has changed over time. So which surprises too much. But I don't eat the food, my parents. or at least eight when I was growing up so that you having been exposed to many other more interesting things than meat and potatoes but yeah. Exactly exactly, and there's a lot of foods like that in Thailand foods that have become Thai food that have evolved from something else my favorite example is American, Fried Rice. Cow Pat, American. Which delillah thousand nine hundred seventy s when a lot of American servicemen were on our in our in Thailand during the Vietnam. And I guess I don't I don't really know how it happened. I guess that they were trying to come up with the dish that these Americans would like and they were thinking what do Americans like they like catch up they like hotdogs and so American Fried Rice is this fried rice dish made of hot dogs and catch up and raisins and has a fried egg on top and it's very odd dish. Oh I I think that it was invented trying to appeal to an American Palette and I just find it hilarious. It's not bad. It's not what you expect, but it's not bad. It's definitely not American it is one hundred percent Thai. Thai could make that into something edible. I know it's really funny. I can't imagine how they came up with it. Well, and Michael. Talks about people going to Thailand for the food. That is definitely one of the places where the food is is so good and is so good not just in Bangkok. But I've been spent some time in the in the hinterlands to in some lesser known areas and a very easy to get good food in Thailand. Yes. Definitely and I would say, don't be afraid of the street food either I've been living here for seven years. I've never gotten sick not once and I don't know why you're in a tropical area it seems like you ought to be but I agree with you that I a place that I am not at all afraid speed food I've certainly gotten sick traveling before I've gotten really sick and other countries but here I've never had any problems. Anything. Else people need to know before they go to this particular region, of Thailand, or Thailand in general well, this particular region of Thailand. One more warning regarding animals that would be important to say is the Tiger Temple I think they've rebranded hikers zoo. You might have heard about this when it made big international news a couple of years ago. It was a Buddhist temple that was famous for having tigers in the monks would walk around with Tiger and people would go and pay money and take pictures with. But there are always accusations suspicions that the Tigers were being drugged mistreated and a few years ago. There was a government raid and they found out that that was definitely true. So they've shut it down it's been reopened as the Tiger Zoo I'm not one hundred percent sure if it's ethical or not I would probably say Aaron the side of caution and skit. Even though it's highly recommended by a lot of people. So avoid the Tiger Temple but don't get confused. There's another temple called Tiger Cave temple, which is just called that it doesn't have any tigers at all and it's a really cool temple. It's got a huge Buddha statue might be the biggest Buddhist statue in the region I'm not a hundred percent sure about that, but it's really tall several stories tall. And if you want to kind of experience a beautiful style, Buddhist temple at Tiger Cave temple is it's not too far out of town is just a few minutes out of town. You can get there on a motorbike or or in a taxi it's good to go to so don't get the two mixed up don't get the Tiger Cave temple or the Tiger temple mixed up because they are different well. That it's that toll because there are those four things you're supposed to remember not to do in Thailand and one of them is don't be taller than the. Buddha. So if it's too straight talk arrest, that's always helpful. To have somebody on the head don't point your feet toward somebody in. Do say anything bad about the king exactly. That's actually very important. Let's Let's definitely reiterate that because that is highly illegal. So I would say just avoid talking about the monarchy in general just of yet because there's nothing good that can come of it. It's very respected institution in Thailand and the laws are are really strict and they do apply to foreigners as well. So as a tourist yeah and just show proper respect and that actually comes down to something. That a lot of people don't think about and that's the money. So right on the street and you're buying on the money yeah you're buying snack and you accidentally drop a coin and it starts to roll away. Do not step on. It goes back to what you were saying about the feet don't put your feet on the face of the king that would be really bad and you'll definitely get some dirty looks if you do that if your money's blowing away, just don't step on it, pick it up with your hand yeah interesting. Now you mentioned there were five. National Parks. If I had a little more time, which is the next National Park, you would add after Erawan. Okay. The second one that you should go to is called Sciatic National Park Sayek would right next door to its right. And you can get there actually by by train. If you stay on the train passed catching Aubrey town, it goes all the way to a station called Nam Talk Station, and from there you can just walk to the entrance of Seocnd National Park. A non-toxic means waterfall and yoke has a huge waterfall as well. And they have great camping, and if you're really interesting campaign, you can camp there. You don't even need to have your own equipment. You can rent all the equipment for about I, know ten dollars probably from the National Park Center. And Camp Right there at the park do we need to book that in advance you probably do you can probably do that by getting on their website although I don't think that many people in Thailand are necessarily into camping right now. He's not really a popular pastime, so you probably could just show up. But I would say, don't risk. It will in the fact that there to national parks here with a lot of waterfalls means that they get a lot of water. Is there any guidelines in terms of win? You would recommend people come to Thailand what's the best season for visiting this area? I would say, definitely avoid the rainy season, which is like June through October okay. because. It'll just be raining all day and it just won't be that fun especially if you want to do the outdoor activities if you come in March, April and May it's going to be very hot. Thus the hottest part of the year in it's it's miserable. It's really bad. So avoid that as well. I would say the best time to go to cavalry is in. They call it the winter, but it's really the dry season. So maybe November through February, it's not bad. It's really nice well, and is there any particular day that one ought to be in Thailand or more specifically encountered? Aubrey one of the two big tie cultural festivals is called Loy Krotov Day. And it's a day that happens usually in November each year it's lunar so it moves around a bit, but it usually takes place in November. It's the river festival. So in Thailand, the river is such an important part of life and culture. It gives life to the rice fields and everything, and this is a festival that is meant to honor the river. and. So this is a day where people will go out though build floats out of banana leaves and flowers, and incense and candles, and the float them down the river. And it's a really beautiful festival and it's great to see it in. Bangkok. But it's also really important in country as well because the river is such an important part of life in country. So if you happen to be in conscious berry in November, see if you can plan your trip so that you're there on. Sunday because it's it's a beautiful holiday this year. Okay. Well, Lloyd Song is on the full moon of the Twelfth Tai Month. So whenever that is usually it's at the end of November. Good to know before we start to wrap this up anything else we ought to know. Thailand is a really beautiful really welcoming place. It's really easy to travel here. You'll be very comfortable. The people are friendly. But just like what we were talking about earlier with talking about the monarchy. Be careful what you say the defamation laws in Thailand can be really strict and they do apply to tourists. Recently, there was news about an American tourist who left a bad review for a hotel got sued. With the country's strict defamation laws and and it's been kind of a big scandal in Thailand recently. So I would say wait until you come home. If you leave a bad review for for something that would be my advice other than that the people are going to be very friendly. People are very welcoming. It's an easy country to travel in I would say. You know what questions coming your standing in the prettiest spot in contrary where you standing, what are you looking up catching? Aubrey has the best sunsets in Thailand I think there are so many hotels and houses that are quote floating hotels that have built themselves on barges that are tethered to the east side of the river, and they look out west, and so at night, you can see the sun setting over the river quay. and. I think that the prettiest spot is one of the guest houses right outside the Wong. Po viaduct that that Trestle Bridge. When you can see the sun going down on the west side across across the river across the jungle the sky is just it's orange it's red. It's absolutely gorgeous and if you're there in the evening, can sit on the the deck outside your floating hotel have a beer or have have soda and and just watch this beautiful sunset. It's always incredible. I've been there so many times and I've never been disappointed by the sunset in Kabri especially right there. Especially right at the woven duct. Excellent. Is there particularly guest house you would recommend. I believe it's called the Flag House River. Quay it's a little bit expensive. It's about one hundred US per night I mean it's not that expensive but for Thailand is. If you are more incumbent Aubrey town and you're on a budget, maybe if you're a backpacker or a budget tourist. The. Hotel that I. Kind of uses my Go-to is called V. in guesthouse. It's walking distance from the train station it also faces West. is nothing fancy, but it is a flooding River Hotel and It's about twelve dollars per night. So you're getting very basic, very basic accommodations, but it is beautiful and it still looks out west and you can still see the sunset just as well from there as you could at the fancy hotel. Actually another hotel that I would recommend if you are into nature especially if you're into nature, but you don't want to really do camping, you can try glancing which is getting more popular in Thailand sure and one of the famous resorts is called the Hint Talk River camp and it's close to the Hellfire Pass. So you can stay in a fancy tint with all of the luxury accommodations that you're used to but. You can still say that you've been camping and it's probably the equivalent of sixty to seventy USD per night I i. Guess Excellent. Now, we talked about food and we're going to go down to the night market I assume is there any other place that you would recommend that we go for the Best Food Experience Continental Albery? Well, if you're if you're like me and you love a buffet, there's a really good buffet. Just, kind of beneath the bridge. and. If you're only in. Thailand. For a very short time and you want to sample lots of Thai food and kind of compare it. I would say it's a decent place to go because it's cheap and it's pretty good but it's not going to be the most authentic food I'm assuming this is tied buffet and not a Swedish. Mortgage. Board. Yes, you're right. But it's not going to be the most. Typhoon Food because it does cater more to tourists honestly, I would say stick to the night market if you want to try to really authentic food. Okay. Get some barbecued meat get some some grilled river prawns. Yuccas country number. Is Famous? For their river. Prawns. And what you can do is even take it back to your hotel get it to go take it back to your oatmeal and kind of have a picnic on the on the deck outside your floating hotel. It's probably the best way to enjoy the meal. Honestly. Excellent one thing that makes you laugh and say only and contrary. So okay, you know you know the the Colonel Bogey March that they that they whistle in the movie shirt and you know there are some not very polite words that go along to this song. Yes I did learn them as a kid. Right right. So when I was at the river last time, there was a guy they're playing the traditional Thai instrument it kind of looks like a one stringed cello I guess the closest thing I can. I can compare it to and he was sitting there and he was playing it and he was seeing those not very polite lyrics. And I just thought it was so funny and just so odd and so out of place in Thailand, he was sending them in English obviously to the tourists and it just made me laugh so hard because it was really. To See and hear that. Right there on this traditional, this beautiful traditional instrument. Excellent. Definitely well, and I'd have to say the question I don't normally ask you is how much you pitch me this destination, Jesse you could hear me stumble over saying contrary every time. Well. Gosh. I'm not even sure I'm saying at one hundred percent correctly I've been living here for seven years. I've been trying to learn the language for seven years and I'm still not that good at it is not an easy language. This morning I had my fiance who is Thai coach me like like several times to try to make sure I was saying avary correctly and I'm still not one hundred percent sure that I'm I'm doing it right and fiance in Thailand is the other reason I'm guessing where you have fallen in love with. Definitely Often the story as I understand it. Excellent and if you had to summarize. Contrary in just three words what three words Jeeze I'd say beautiful. I would say history. And I would save relaxing because it is a beautiful place to just experience nature. Excellent. Our guest again has been Michael? Durocher. There's and what is the goggles podcast? So I started the ear goggles podcast with a buddy of mine from back home. It's kind of an excuse for us to get together once a week and have a beer and just chat about life but we talk about our lives and we talk about experiences back home in the US experiences here in Thailand, how they compare how they're different. So I guess if you're interested in learning a bit about what just daily life for an expat in Bangkok is like. CHECK US out. Excellent. Thank you so much for coming on amateur traveler and for sharing with us your love for Thailand especially for one last time. Contrary. Well, it's my pleasure Sir conscious avary. That's right. As we go into the community segment of the show I, want to say that I'm probably going to have Michael. Back on the show relatively soon because he mentioned something about doing a show on Bangkok and we haven't talked about Bangkok and quite a long time and it's a very interesting city that I have a love. Hate relationship with. So we'll probably do that in the near future. Special. Thanks again to the patrons of the show who support the show on patriotic dot com patriarch dot com slash amateur traveler. We did a meet up last Saturday, which is always fun and the record for coming from the furthest distance for that meeting was somebody who dialed in from unduly Tanzania, which was great fun. In other news of the community I heard from Sandra who said I want to thank you for the recent podcast on Wales. I attended a summer school in an and it had to be a Welsh name here. Arbor swith back in Nineteen ninety-one and brought back a lot of lovely memories. The day I was in Cardiff we did get to Kessel Cook the Red Castle along with Cardiff Castle embedded in the castle walls you can actually see the original Roman fortifications. Up In north Wales we went to Anglesey and Penman Church, which is the oldest stone church on the island along with Saint Cereals as well. Thank you. Sandra. I also heard from becky recently, who said I just wanted to tell you how my husband and I went to Iceland last year at this time, we would have never thought of going there if I had not been listening to your podcast, I listened to those episodes quite a few times before going are Hawaii trip that was coming up in a couple of weeks had get cancelled. So instead, we're going to do a big US southeast trip starting with the Georgia I've never heard of them from anyone else. So I'm glad that information is out there. I have several episodes to listen to that apply to the area where you're going I plan on getting to all fifty states twelve left and you are nearly the here with your episodes. Thank you you and your guests that pitched the shows that are less obvious places to go becky sounds like I really do need to get that last state in there. We do not have an episode on New Hampshire and Vicky sent me a photo which will be in the show if I. WanNa remind people that this show now has in the MP three version of photos and links, and so if you're looking at it with a wide variety of podcast APPS, you can see those photos if you want to get your photo in an amateur traveler episode or your feedback, send it to host amateur traveler dot com I, especially love hearing how you actually went places because of episodes that we did on the podcast, and if you want to wear amateur shirt in the photo, you send me all the better. You can get those at amateur traveler dot com slash store. And with that, we're going to end this episode of amateur traveller. If you have any questions sent an email to host at amateur traveler, Dot Com, which I think I just said or yet leave a comment on this episode at Amateur Traveler. Dot, com and thanks so much for listening. See want. One Chap- The Man.