After a relatively miserable first five days in Bangkok we were ready to get the heck out of dodge. As per our original plan, we decided to head west to Kanchanaburi. A perfect, peaceful antidote to the bustle of Bangkok.
Catching the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi couldn’t have been easier. The train takes three hours and runs twice daily at 7.50am and 1.55pm. During the week the train departs from Thonburi Station (sometimes called Bangkok Noi), despite what your taxi driver may tell you! Insist on going to this station even when they don’t believe you. I’m lucky that someone on the Lonely Planet Thorntree had told me this happened to them, otherwise I would have believed the taxi driver and ended up at the wrong station, missing the morning train.
We left our guesthouse on Phra Athit Rd at 6.45am thinking it would take about 30 minutes by taxi in traffic to get across to the other side of the river. (If we just had backpacks and not a heavy bag, stroller and portacot we could have hopped onto the river boat and crossed over two stops to the train station.) We got to Thonburi station at 7.10am. It’s more of a platform than a station. We bought tickets, 100B each and free for Reuben – you can only purchase tickets on the day of travel for this train. While Lee waited on the platform with Reuby and the bags, I nipped over to the market across the street to get some supplies for the journey. I’d never have thought I’d find NZ Granny Smith apples in a Bangkok market!
The trains to Kanchanaburi only have third class, non-AC seats but this was comfortable enough for the short journey, provided you got up every now and then to give your bum a break from all the bouncing! There was just enough of a cool breeze from the open windows. The scenery along the journey was great. It took next to no time to get out of the city and into the countryside, passing thorugh lots of little towns along the way. Vendors ply the aisles offering food and drinks. Reuben really enjoyed eating little balls of sticky rice – at only 5B a bag!
Reuben found the train quite fascinating. He’s into trains thanks to one of his favourite books and knows the word “choo choo”. He was particularly excited when he saw it for the first time, pulling into the station. He spent most of the journey gazing out the window and nodded off about two hours into the journey, luckily waking just before arrival at Kanchanburi station.
We had arranged pickup from our guesthouse. Little did we know, this would be by Kanchanaburi-style taxi – a motorcyle with a canopied side-car and bench seats. We just managed to squeeze all our luggage, and our big butts, sidecar.
We’re staying at Ploy Guesthouse. It’s a real find. Perfect for those travelling with kids. Rooms are clustered around a nice garden with a little gazebo with a play area and a fantastic, incredibly warm infinity pool overlooking the river. We’re lucky enough to have the play area right outside our door. Our room has a bed on a raised platform, TV, AC, mini-fridge, massive bathroom and even a little walled garden. All for only 700B a night – around NZ$28. I only discovered on the day we left but they also have a sandpit full of toys and a basketball hoop and ball hidden around the back of the restaurant. They could do with giving guests a little tour of the amenities on arrival but staff speak very limited English so not really an option.
We spent the afternoon swimming, eating and chatting to a Swiss mother travelling with her 3.5 year old son. It feels fantastically relaxing to be here and away from the noise and pollution of Bangkok. Kanchanaburi is quite small so we’re able to walk most places. It’s also nice to be able to play and sit in a garden again. We’d gotten so used to this in Australia.
A massive thunderstorm rolled in, just as we were coming back from dinner. We switched out the lights and went to bed early – watching the storm light up the sky and listening to the rain coming down on the roof. A lovely end to the day.