Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Backpacker's note : From Indonesia - Bangkok - Kanchanaburi - Bangkok - Indonesia

Sawadeekaa,

Hello to all Backpackers all over the world!

I just got back from my trip to Kanchanaburi, Thailand. As usual I traveled backpacking, my favorite type of travel!

why I chose Kanchanaburi? well, first, it was the place of the Prisoner of War or PoWs on World War II. The Japanese and Koreans built a lot of PoW camps along the way from Thailand to Burma (now Myanmar), the camps were spread along the River Kwai to the Jungle and Mountain. The prisoners are from Australia, England, Singapore and Dutch. They were forced to built the Railway from Thailand to Burma with simple tools and with really poor living conditions. Their boots and clothes were worn out because of the heat and working conditions, after 1 or 2 years they worked on the railway without shoes. They also had poor rations of food, it was just rice with dirts and salts. Along the way, many PoWs suffered Beri-beri, Malaria, Dysentery, Cholera and tropical ulcers.

Beside the PoWs, local people from Thailand and Indonesia are forced to do railway labours.
They suffered brutality and punishments from The Japanese Guards and Koreans. Most of the guards are the ones who didn't accepted to involved in the front line, and Japanese thought of it as humiliation, usually the officers with lower ranks. The PoWs became their sandbag for their frustation.

"SPEEDO! SPEEDO!" this words heard by the POWs often when the allied getting strong. The Japanese forced the prisoners to work 18 hours a day. The portions of food was also getting less and less.

I watched and read Railway Man by Eric Lomax, Survivor on the River Kwai by Reg Twigg, but it was totally different to see the places with my own eyes. I can pictured their life condition and work places. It was tough, rough, inhumane and heartbreaking. I cried several times in some places. I could never believed how human could act inhumane.

okay, that was only a short explanation. We'll talk about each places on my next post. This post is about how you get there, tips, bus, and trains details, and of course it's the cheapest ways!

From Indonesia, Jakarta, I rode on Air Asia from Soekarno Hatta Terminal 3 to Don Mueang (read : Don Myeng, e as in empat), or Sanambin (airport) Don Mueang.  The flight took 3 and a half hour. To reach Kanchanaburi, there are 3 options, by bus, train, or taxi.


Bangkok-Kanchanaburi

BUS

The cheapest way is by Bus. From Don Mueang you can take a taxi to Mo Chit Bus Terminal (approximately 50-100 baht), 10-15 minutes from the airport. Or there is a bus to Mo Chit BTS called A1 from the airport, from BTS you can take bike taxi to the Bus Terminal (20-50 baht). The bus to Kanchanaburi has two classes.

here is the timetables :

FromToDistanceDurationDepartureClassCompanyPrice (THB)
Bangkok
(Mo Chit Bus Terminal)
Kanchanaburi384 km07:0005:001st Class Air - Conditioned Bus: 40 Seats
302
Bangkok
(Mo Chit Bus Terminal)
Kanchanaburi149 km03:0006:30
11:00
17:10
1st Class Air - Conditioned Bus: 40 Seats
122
Bangkok
(Mo Chit Bus Terminal)
Kanchanaburi384 km07:0007:00
09:30
12:30
2nd Class Air - Conditioned Bus: 46 Seats
235
Bangkok
(Mo Chit Bus Terminal)
Kanchanaburi149 km03:0014:302nd Class Air - Conditioned Bus: 46 Seats
95
Bangkok
(Mo Chit Bus Terminal)
Kanchanaburi150 km03:00every hour from 5:00 to 16:00first class ACTransport Co LTD122
Bangkok
(Mo Chit Bus Terminal)
Kanchanaburi150 km03:00every hour from 5:00 to 16:012nd class ACTransport Co LTD95




By bus you will arrive at the central of Kanchanaburi, beside the Thailand tourism Authority. Jeath museum on Saengchuto Road (15 minutes walk from the bus terminal) and Kanchanaburi War Cemetary & Death Railway Museum (15-20 minutes walk from the bus terminal) located near the bus terminal, along the way there are also a lot of bus stop. However it's quite far from The Bridge of River Kwai, (30 minutes or more by foot or 15 minutes by bike).

To go back to Bangkok by bus, you can take the bus on the same bus terminal. The easiest way to get to Bangkok is by bus since you don't have to change transportation. The ride from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by bus is about 3-4 hours.

Mo Chit Bus Terminal



 TRAIN

To go to Kanchanaburi by train is a bit hard and complicated from Don Mueang Airport. There are several ways to travel to Kanchanaburi by train. 

however, the train timetables to Kanchanaburi is very limited. 

here is the timetable. 

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi - Nam Tok
3rd class trains only! train # 485 train # 257 train # 259
depart arrive depart arrive depart arrive
Bangkok (Thonburi) 07:45 13:35
Nakhon Pathom 08:54 14:52
Kanchanaburi 05:57 10:45 16:19
River Kwai Bridge 06:05 10:55 16:26
Thakilen 07:19 11:37 17:33
Tham Krasae 07:38 11:41 17:51
Wang Pho 07:49 11:52 18:01
Nam Tok 08:20 12:20 18:30


train fares:
from Kanchanaburi to:
River Kwai Bridge (Bridge over the River Kwai) 100 Baht
Thakilen (Muang Singh Historical Park) 100 Baht
Tham Krasae (Krasae Cave) 100 Baht
Wang Pho 100 Baht
Nam Tok (2 km to Sai Yok Noi Waterfall) 100 Baht
Nakhon Pathom 100 Baht
Bangkok (Thonburi Train Station) 100 Baht


You can get off at Kanchanaburi or River Kwai Bridge, but to fully enjoyed the train trip and the scenery, you can get off at Nam Tok and then took the train back to Kanchanaburi. 

The scenery to Nam Tok (The picture is not mine because I didn't go to Nam Tok, but I do regret that)

Nam Tok scenic Route (photo Credit : Google)

First, From Don Mueang Airport, you have to reach Thonburi Rail Station. You can reach the station by bus from the airport to victory monument or to Mo Chit BTS, the bus is on the airport, you just have to buy the ticket in front of the exit gate. 

510 Thammasat Rangsit - Don Mueang - Victory Monument Orange air-conditioned bus (EURO II)

A1 (Tollway) Don Mueang Airport - BTS Mo Chit Orange air-conditioned bus (EURO II)


From Victory Monument or Mo Chit BTS, catch a BTS to  Siam and change to Silom Line heading to Saphan Taksin. There is a central pier where you can take a ferry to Thonburi Rail Station. 

Here is the map of BTS which I find very useful when I travel in Thailand. 





However, I didn't pass this route when I travel but it was one of my option, but it costs more than by bus and more complicated because you have to change transportation several times. 

From Thonburi to Kanchanaburi approximately 4-5 hours trip since the train is often delayed. 

Or, if you came from Khao San Road, you can walk a bit to the end of Khao San Road to the bus stop and take the bus to the Golden Palace, only 12 baht with Aircon, make a stop a Tha Phra Chien Pier. 
From Tha Phra Chien Pier, cross the river (only 3 baht) to Wang La Pier. From Wang La Pier, you can walk by using maps or google maps to Thonburi station, it's about 15-20 minutes walk. 

Notes : You have to bring Thailand Maps, it helps a lot. And of course google maps! 

TAXI 

It's quite expensive to travel by taxi from Don Mueang to Kanchanaburi. However it's the most convenient way to Kanchanaburi after a long flight.  It costs about 1500 Baht and the trip is 3 hours ride. 


 KANCHANABURI - BANGKOK 


BUS
 From Kanchanaburi to Bangkok, the easiest way is by bus. 

here is the timetable :

Bangkok - Southern Bus (129 km)
air-con bus 1st class bus no. duration fare
Southern Bus Terminal 81 2 hrs. 99 Baht

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi: 4:00 AM to 10:00 PM - every 20 minutes
Kanchanaburi - Bangkok: 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM - every 20 minutes
air-con bus 2nd class
'new route'
bus no. duration fare
Southern Bus Terminal 81-1
until
81-36
2 hrs. 77 Baht

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi: 5:10 AM to 7:30 PM - every 15 minutes
Kanchanaburi - Bangkok: 3:50 AM to 7:00 PM - every 15 minutes
air-con bus 2nd class
'old route'
bus no. duration fare
Southern Bus Terminal 81-37
until
81-69
3 hrs. 84 Baht

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi: 4:00 AM to 7:00 PM - every 15 - 30 minutes
Kanchanaburi - Bangkok: 4:00 AM to 7:00 PM - every 15 - 30 minutes 


Bangkok - Northern Bus (150 km)
air-con bus 1st class bus no. duration fare
Northern Bus Terminal 9918 4 hrs. 122 Baht
air-con bus 2nd class bus no. duration fare
Northern Bus Terminal 9918 4 hrs. 95 Baht

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi: 5:00 AM to 4:00 PM - every hour
Kanchanaburi - Bangkok: 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM - every hour
 


You can catch the bus at Kanchanaburi Bus Terminal beside the Thailand Tourism Authority on Saengchuto Road. 

Train

By Train, you can take the train from Kanchanaburi Rail Station across the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. The rail station is located near the JJ Night Market, in front of the station there's a train figure. 

The train timetable 

Nam Tok - Kanchanaburi - Bangkok
3rd class trains only! train # 260 train # 258 train # 486
depart arrive depart arrive depart arrive
Nam Tok 05:20 12:50 15:15
Wang Pho 05:35 13:02 15:32
Tham Krasae 05:46 13:15 15:58
Thakilen 05:57 13:27 16:10
River Kwai Bridge 07:12 14:36 17:31
Kanchanaburi 07:19 14:44 17:41
Nakhon Pathom 08:51 16:24
Salaya 09:39 17:03
Talingchan 09:55 17:22
Bangkok (Thonburi) 10:00 17:35


Here is the picture (Now this is my pictures :D)

Train Figure in front of Kanchanaburi Rail Station (Photo Credit : Pingkan Christantina)

Kanchanaburi Rail Station (Photo Credit : Pingkan C.)


Kanchanaburi Rail Station (Photo Credit : Pingkan C)


Kanchanaburi Rail Station (Photo Credit : Pingkan C.)




inside the train (Photo Credit : Pingkan C.)


The Train Ticket (Photo Credit : Pingkan C.)

From Thonburi Rail Station, you can walk to Wang La pier (15-20 minutes walk) and then cross to Tha Phra Chien (only 3 baht). And then you can take the bus to Khao San Road or any other places. Or maybe you can stop by the Grand Palace nearby.

Ferry from Wang La Pier to Tha Phra Chan Pier (Photo Credit : Pingkan C)


Crossing the River to Tha Phra Chien (Photo Credit : Pingkan C)


This is the link of bus lists at Thailand, Thailand Bus Routes

From Khao San Road, you can walk to Siam Paragon which takes about 1 hour and 13 minutes or 15 minutes by bike or taxi. If you walk you can hang around in Khao San road and after you pass Khao San road, you will pass a lot of markets along side of the roads and foods. It was interesting to see. 


Khao San Road (Photo Credit : Pingkan C)



 
When I arrived at Siam, it was easy to go to Don Mueang. I took the BTS to Mo Chit, the fare is 42 Baht, the trip was only 10-15 minutes. And then at Mo Chit, I took the bus to Don Mueang, I took bus number 510, the bus didn't go inside the airport but only until the Crossing bridge to Don Mueang airport but it's not really far. The fare was 12 Baht.

You can also take the A1 bus from there, the bus go inside the airport.

Note : No need to be afraid to take bus in Thailand. Even if you don't know where you should get off, the person who collects money for tickets will stand near you and inform you where you have to get off. 

So, are you ready for backpacking to Thailand? :D

Check out my next post about Places at Kanchanaburi! :)

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