Monday, 28 July 2014

Mia's Travel Log: Kanchanaburi - War Museum, Death Railway, Elephant Camp, Tiger Temple

Yes, for my 4d3n Bangkok trip this time, I actually travelled to Kanchanaburi for a day trip with bookingtodays! First up, let's start off with this agency. Both ZH and I weren't very happy with them due to serious lack of responsiveness and really not organised at all. After a few email exchanges with them, we gave them our confirmation for the reservations (with no deposit paid online) and asked for their confirmation in return. Waited for 5 days and no replies came even after my email reminders. Turned out, they only replied the night before my flight and by then, I have given up on this day tour thing already. 
It was a (mini) mad rush for re-scheduling of our itinerary to squeeze the day tour back in (and also the money for the tour) when we received their call to our hotel room at 5pm in the afternoon after we checked in on the first day. And yes, our tour was scheduled on the very next day and they'll pick us up at 6:30am in the morning. 

Nevertheless, we managed to drag our sleepy selves out of bed early next morning to wait for the driver's call, which came at about 6:30am and stating that they're reaching in 5 minutes time. 
"You come outside ok, outside!"

Alright, okay... I'll go outside... but outside, where?
Didn't see any form of vehicle that looked remotely like a day tour pick up car and so we decided to redial the number, only to be left unanswered. And then an angry looking man came and ordered us to follow him, mumbling rather angrily as he ran off back towards the vehicle parked by Indra Square without really caring if we could catch up, or not. 

But it's alright! Fret not, for we're not stuck with this angry driver for the rest of the day. Because they're really disorganised! We're all picked up from various hotels by various vehicles before dumping us together by a roadside and started to sort us out by sticking different coloured stickers on us. ZH and I were given yellow-purple and immediately we started searching for other yellow-purplers and keeping an eye on them just in case we get left behind. But heck, we didn't even end up in the same van as any other yellow-purplers after waiting by the flies infested roadside for more than 30 minutes. 
And of course, after a nearly 2 hours bumpy ride on a really crammed and uncomfortable van, we were asked to switch vans at the mid-way stop. And of course, the van switching carried on as and when they felt like it throughout the trip.

Well, enough of complaining. Let's start the itinerary!

First stop for the day, was the war cemetery to commemorate the brave soldiers who died during WWII. 

The cemetery was only a short stop of around 20 minutes and we were then whisked off to the WW2 & Jeath War Museum and Death Railway, which was a 5 to 10 minutes drive away.

You'll need to pay an additional 60 THB to enter the musuem. If not, you'll only be left with this section of an old WW2 train, and the market place outside selling mainly jade pieces and other jewelry. 

Found the museum rather interesting, for it seemed to be housed together with a temple...

 The ceiling is full of depictions...

The museum is full of life-sized figurine depictions of the hardships and cruelty that the war has brought to the world. 

And then we came to the 'balcony' of the building and was awed by the sight of the death railway. One section of the railway looked different due to restoration works. 

 And so we quickly followed the crowd and got onto the short section of the railway.

Both to camwhore and enjoy the scenic views. :)

And guess where we're headed for next? 

Elephant riding at the elephant camp! We got a really big elephant and I had to "jump-flip" myself up to the seat from the platform.

This smaller, younger elephant kept disturbing us by trying to poke us from tbe back with the tip of its trunk. 

Frankly speaking I felt quite bad towards the elephants having to 'work' like this. Some of the seats really looked badly tied to their body and I really hope that it's not hurting them. Nevertheless, it was still a pretty fun and new experience, paired with tons of fresh air and greenery. 

And then, it was the most disappointing buffet lunch ever. I took everything available in the 'buffet' except for the white rice. Could hardly finish this tiny portion of food even, for they really did not go very well with my tastebuds. 

 And immediately after lunch, we went for water rafting...

Which, most of the time, was being dragged along by a motorised boat. HA HA HA!

But the simply scenery was pretty enjoyable though...

 And after that we came to Saiyok Noi Waterfall, which was kind of disappointing as we expected the waterfalls like those in Bali...

And upon seeing the poster, we wondered if it's a work of photoshop...?

Overwhelmed by disappointment, ZH and I were actually the first to return back to the van and stood by the roadside under the hot sun for the rest of the tour members to return. *sulk*

And then we finally arrived at our last destination, and also the highlight of our day tour! It's the Tiger Temple! 
And before I start with more photo-spamming, I will want to remind all who are planning to visit tiger temple to not wear red, orange and pink tops and to wear long pants regardless of how hot the weather is. BookingTodays never bothered to inform us of the dress code required for Tiger Temple, and we had to buy some ugly looking tops (ZH wore pink) and pants at totally hiked up prices at the lunch place. 

And now, back to the tiger temple. The premise is really huge and we took a 5 to 10 minutes walk to reach the tiger canyon, where many tigers in their sleepy afternoon nap mode were gathered for tourist to take photograph with. 

This is one badass magestically beautiful looking tiger. 

There's 2 lines for phototaking, one for individual shots to be taken on your own camera by the volunteers/staff (FOC) and another for group shots taken the same way, but at a price. I vaguely remembered it as 1000 THB, but I might be wrong. 

And of course, ZH and I chose the FOC individual shots. HA HA HA! 
There'll be one staff holding onto your hand and leading you from tiger to tiger to snap pictures. So basically, you'll go one round and take pictures with all the tigers inside, before leaving the barricaded area. And yes, that's the Abbott of the temple, with one of his favourite tigers. 

After the photo-taking session, there was apparently a 'live show' whereby there will be an 'identity switch' between the tigers and the tourists. All the tourists will be put behind cages and the tigers set loose for their feeding/play time. However, as the 600 THB entrance fee does not include this show and we need to pay an additional 500 THB, ZH and I left the canyon and headed for the Cub Waterfall....

And met this playful cub up for photo-taking there! At one point it targeted on one of the male tourists and wanted to attack him. One of the staff came to scold the cub, and this was what it did to ask for forgiveness....

And before we left the temple premise (we were only given 1 hour to roam, so we never got to find out the actual temple building nor the black bear cubs), we managed to see them walking the tigers back from the canyon, on leashes! 

And the abbott even bottle fed this full grown, 200 pounds, male tiger milk! 

And with that, we left the tiger temple and hopped back onto the van (only to be asked to switch vans, yet again!) to head back to Bangkok. Yet another (almost) 4 hours of bumpy, uncomfortable ride... T.T
But for the tiger temple, it was really worth it! 
And to add on to the lack of proper arrangement on BookingTodays' part, as we were leaving Kanchanaburi, the guide actually asked if we wanted to stop by the war cemetery. ZH and I were like, "What, again?"
And then we realised it because 90% of the tour members in this van has skipped the cemetery in the morning. But fortunately, as all of them were really dead beat, they agreed to give it a miss and we were headed straight back to Bangkok for the day. 

So my advise to you is, do drop by Tiger Temple for a look! But not with BookingTodays, please. 

Till then,


  1. I don't think I am going to have elephant ride when visiting to Bangkok. I read some posts telling how they treat those pity elephants. =( giglove

    1. i know! only after i went to the elephant camp and saw that some chairs were really tied very tightly (creating unnatural folds at the base of their tail) did i went to google and read up all those horrible stuff.
      some claimed elephant's back can only carry up to 100kg load. the chair itself has a substantial weight, plus 2 adults sitting on it, will be way above 100kg.
      oh nooo.... :(

  2. tiger! Ive always want to touch tiger but my mom doesnt let me xD
    I wonder how if feels to ride an elephant >.<


    1. bumpy. VERY bumpy. it's very fortunate our lunch was after the elephant ride and not before....

  3. oh man! all of these picture you upload it is just so beautiful <3
    and also the place is so great..
    thank you for sharing :)

  4. Hi dear, love to read your post. I also have a plan to visit Thailand someday and visit Tiger temple, Saiyok Noi waterfall, ride an elephant, culinary, and so on..


    #gigbloggers. #giglove

  5. Such a beautiful place! I'd be sure to visit this places when I visit Thailand. Looks like a fun vacation, i just hope the animals weren't overworked and all. giglove :)

  6. these pics are amazing....they made me dream

  7. Tiger temple sounds fun. I love the photos. :)

  8. This is such an amazing place, what experiences! The war museum reminds me of the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. I;d love one day to ride ontop of an elephant!

  9. Loved the elephant camp and tiger temple.. Would love to visit it. :) giglove

  10. That looks like an amazing place for holiday.. I shall visit there some day.. :D

  11. Such stunning clicks dear. A lovely place to holiday. GIG love :)

  12. It's so cool that you get to touch a tiger! I've ride on an elephant before. And it sure is a bumpy ride =)

  13. Sounds like a rough start but I'm glad that you ended up enjoying yourself. What an amazing opportunity to interact with the animals - So jealous! <3 GIGLove

  14. OMG the view is so amazing! Didnt get to visit all these place when I was in Bangkok last time, must go there next time! :D

  15. owhhh so sad that this agency had such bad arrangement....but i hate bumpy ride but that always happen when you go with small group where the agency will pick different ppl frm different location and cramped in one bus or van.....sigh...i guess buying tour package would be better sometime...

    i jus came back from bangkok too and I too witness the animal were not happy and was being force to perform..I really feel bad for them I think Thailand need some improvement on this as I went to other country their animal look very happy even though they hv to perform!!

  16. Nice. Can go there if I go to BKK again.

  17. I always love reading people experience in travelling. Make me wanna go there. I wish I have more holidays.

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