Ban Lat Ya

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14 travelers at this place

  • Day6


    January 20, 2015 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    We weren’t sure what to expect from Kanchanaburi. When we arrived by train a couple of days ago, the town seemed small and utilitarian. So it came as a surprise when our mini bus drove past the train station and kept going for another 5km to the bus station to drop us off in the middle of a bustling regional city. The bus station area was crazy hectic with taxi trucks and motorbike taxis and unmarked “taxis” all vying for our baht. Having just arrived and being fans of walking, we politely declined all offers off “where you want to go?” and set off on foot.

    We decided to walk to the Chungkai War Cemetery and a nearby wat that had a cave system underneath it. The 5km walk took us past the city’s old gate where a woman was praying at a shrine. A small wat glistened in the middle of the road where it looked like it had been plopped despite the traffic. We walked across the river where houseboats lined the banks. And then we were out on the open road walking past rice paddies and wild gardens. It was hot on the open road. It made me think about how hard the life of the POWs and local prisoners who built the railway must have been; at least it was dry today.

    Chungkai War Cemetery is a moving place. It’s situated between the main road and the river just outside the Kanchanaburi city limits. There were no tourists there when we arrived and the few who turned up later were quiet and reverent. The number of unnamed soldiers buried here was moving. I think that would have been the worst for families who lost loved ones in the war: never knowing what happened.

    After leaving the cemetery we continued our walk further away from town towards a wat that had caves under it. The wat’s road entrance is relatively subdued. There is a slightly run down looking temple building and some cute puppies along with an old sign announcing the caves. The entrance from the river side is much more lively, with market stalls, a big gold Buddha statue and new signage. Obviously, this is the preferred entry for many tourists. But don’t be fooled by the low key road entry. The caves are worth a visit. The narrow passageways are dotted with Buddha statues and candles. The smell of incense lingers on the stale and musty air. In places we almost have to crawl through low hanging entrances and squeeze between closely spaced gaps. It’s at once adventurous and spiritual.

    Rather than walk the 10km back to the Bridge Over the River Kwai, we hire a longboat. I am sure we paid too much but am not a tough negotiator and he had all the power because we didn’t want to walk all the way. The boats massive motor pushed us quickly down the tree-lined river. It bounced over the small ripply waves that had been blown up by the wind and, at times, felt like a burst of wind would blow it over. It was pretty cool to approach the infamous bridge from the water and see it in its full glory. Sure, it’s not the original bridge (obviously because that was blown up in the war) and it’s not in the original location, but it’s what the bridge symbolises that gives it meaning. We joined the tourist throng on the bridge, walking across and back, before checking out the JEATH museum. The museum is actually in two parts: the war between Thailand and Burma, and the WWII museum. The museum depicting the war between Thailand and Burma is definitely the best part. A mural that covers five floors shows the story of the Kanchanaburi region as the focal point for a conflict that has gone on for centuries. There are painted murals showing Thailand’s kings and an interesting piece about how the Thais originally came down from Mongolia in the Khmer era, always moving further south to find a new land of their own before settling in this area. The JEATH museum itself was okay but seemed to be an eclectic collection of items all dumped into rooms without any real interest shown by the curator. It is a “more is better” approach, rather than a “select the best pieces to tell a story” approach. But it is worth a look if you want to see many artefacts from the war.

    Walking through Kanchanaburi’s seedy streets where white men of all ages sat in their drunken stupors, eyes glazed over and voices loud, made me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I can’t imagine what local Thais must think of our countries and people. Just as we in the west judge all Asians by those who live in or visit our countries, so too do the locals in the lands we visit judge our entire nations by the way tourists behave. Especially in places where it is unlikely the locals will ever be able to afford to visit our homes to see that we are not all red-eyed drunk and loud.

    After the shock of my first time in a real proper tourist strip, the Commonwealth War Cemetery was almost eerily quiet. The gardens and plaques are immaculate. The gardeners tending the garden worked with a delicacy and reverence that was touching. It was quiet despite the hectic surrounds. It made me sad to see such wasted life, especially given conflict and war continues today. Will we ever learn from our history or are we doomed to repeat it?

    After an emotional day, we took our first Thai bus ride back to Lat Ya. The buses here are colourfully decorated and filled with lots of fans to keep the air flowing. It wasn’t as hectic as I expected and, at just 15 baht a person, cost just one tenth of a taxi ride.

    We arrived back at Lat Ya just as the sun was setting to walk our final short 500m to the hotel.
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  • Day3


    December 19, 2016 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Heute musste ich mich bereits früh am Morgen von Bangkok verabschieden. Zurückblickend kann ich sagen, dass mich Bangkok in dieser kurzen Zeit absolut überzeugt und auch ein wenig überrascht hat. Eine wirklich tolle und interessante Stadt, zu der ich immer wieder zurückkehren würde.

    In der Hotellobby traf ich dann auf Sabine, eine Mitarbeiterin unserer Partneragentur vor Ort. Sie sollte mich während der nächsten beiden Tage begleiten. Diese würden wir ich auf dem historischen Fluss River Kwai verbringen. Auf unsere neue Reise hierzu dürfen Sie sich freuen. Ich empfehle hierzu unseren Fluss-Flyer, der ab Januar verfügbar sein wird.

    Unsere Reiseleiterin Pia holte uns direkt am Hotel ab. Im Bus trafen wir auf den Rest der Gruppe für die Kreuzfahrt. Die Einschiffung auf das Schiff fand bei Kanchanaburi statt. Da es dorthin noch ca. 3 Stunden Fahrt sind hielten wir unterwegs für einige Besichtigungen. Der erste Halt war der Pathom Chedi, der höchste Chedi in Südostasien. Das Besondere daran ist, dass sich in dem Chedi ein weiterer, kleinerer Chedi befindet, der von dem großen Chedi ummantelt wird. Hier unternahmen wir einen kleinen Rundgang, während uns Pia weitere Informationen zum Chedi und zur Mönchgemeinde gab.

    Der nächste Halt war der Wat Tham Khao Noi, ein Tempel der sich von anderen Tempeln in Thailand direkt auf den ersten Blick unterschied, denn er ist im chinesischen Stil erbaut wurden. Hier ertappten wir einige Mönche und angehende Mönche (Kinder) beim etwas vorgezogenen Frühjahrsputz. Ein lustiges und ungewöhnliches Bild wie die Mönche in ihrem Gewand die Tempelhalle putzten. Eine weitere Besonderheit des Tempels, abgesehen von dem chinesischen Stil, ist die Anlage selbst. Hoch auf einem Berg gelegen und nur über viele Treppenstufen oder eine kleine Bergbahn zu erreichen, hat man von oben einen wunderschönen Ausblick über Reisfelder und den Fluss.

    Der letzte Halt vor der Einschiffung war das JEATH Kriegsmuseum. Hier bekommt man die Geschichte Thailands während dem 2. Weltkrieg auf anschauliche Weise näher gebracht. Außerdem hat man von hier einen wunderschönen Blick auf den River Kwais. Danach war es soweit, wir durften die RV River Kwai beziehen und bekamen ein leckeres Mittagessen serviert. Der Nachmittag war sehr relaxed. Auf dem Oberdeck konnten wir in den Liegestühlen und auf den Sofas entspannen und einen leckeren Kaffee oder Tee genießen. Eine gute Gelegenheit diesen Bericht zu verfassen. Gleich gibt es Abendessen und danach werden wir sicher noch in gemütlicher Runde mit der Gruppe zusammen sitzen.

    Bis morgen!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Ban Lat Ya, บ้านลาดหญ้า

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