We're now official backpackers! Yes, we finally had to put the packs on our backs and realized that we probably should have listended and packed a lot ligher.
Talk about extremes -- we went from staying at a luxury suite at the Royal Orchid Sheraton with 2 bathrooms, king size bed, aircon, view from the 15th floor, etc(compliments of my Starwood points) to The Jolly Forg Backpackers Lodge - equip with cold trickle shower, non-flushing toilets and a lock and key on the AC (you have to pay extra for that.) But for 290 bhat ($6.50 US), who can complain??
Got off the bus and Lawrence negotiated with 2 tuk tuk drivers to take us to the place because it was cheaper than a taxi. Only these tuk tuks are push bikes and it was definitley the hottest day yet! They pedaled a good 3K with us and our packs and could barely breathe by the time we got there -- after a sympathy tip, it would've been cheaper to take the taxi!
After checking in, we walled to the Bridge over River Kwai. Yes, it does exist but they have rebuilt the sections that were bombed during the war. Went to the dusty, unmaintained museum before walking over the Bridge and got some insight in to the actual history. Did u know that 33,000 POW's died building the railway? We had no clue!
Then we did the token walk over the bridge, walked back again and then walked back past the Frog to the cemetary where close to 6,500 of them are buried.
After that depressing day out, we obviously needed a beer - so we settled in at the bar at the Frog and had some drinks. Moved on to other bars as well and I called it a night at 2:30. L, on the other hand, decided that since it was so close to 3:30 when ManU gamewould be on that he would stay up. And he did. And he drank - He got in sometime after 5am...
The next day we signed up for a trip to Erawan Water Falls. They advertise it as the main attraction in the area, a 7-tiered waterfall! So we hiked up each tier, expecting to actaully see water falling -- but it was only when we reached the top exhausted and out of breathe, that there was a small fall. More like Erawan Trickle. Not even a Kodak moment! Had a quick swim but ceratinly could have lived without that.
The trip got no better when they said the next stop was to see a real cave! This turned out to be nothing more than a small opening in a mountain with, go figure, a Buddha sat in the middle of it. We were then promised a ride on the original railway, over the bridge. Were only on the train for about 15 mins before it broke down and the bus had to come to our rescue. Oh well, it was too hot to be on a non-ac, rickety uncomfortable train anyway...