An Underrated Wonder
Kanchanaburi isn't on the top of many travelers lists when they come to Thailand and man is that an epic mistake.
My mom came to visit me this past week. We spent some time in Bangkok, Chonburi, Pattaya, and then made our way to Kanchanaburi. We came to Kanchanaburi for one specific reason: elephants. But we found so much more in this town than we ever imagined.
We got in late Thursday night, checked into our hotel, and then went to sleep. The next day, we made our way to Erawan Falls.
Erawan Falls is on the outskirts of Kanchanaburi. There are 7 levels of waterfalls and you can hike up to each and every one. The first 3 or 4 are quite crowded as they are astoundingly beautiful and an easy hike to get to.
However, the real magic came at the 5th level. There were two smaller parts to the fall with crystal clear blue water and surroundings that made you realize you were in the middle of the rainforest. In the waters were huge fish that would nip at your feet (that explains why nobody really swam in the waters). Although it was tougher terrain to hike, it was one of the most gorgeous views I've ever seen.
We continued hiking all the way up to the 7th level. It was like something out of a fairytale.
Want to go to Erawan Falls? Go to the Kanchanaburi bus station and catch the bus that goes directly there. It's 50 baht per person for a bus ticket and 300 baht entry to the park.
After a day like this, how could we top it? Why not take a trip to Elephants World? Elephants World is a sanctuary that takes care of and houses old, sick, and rescued elephants.
They arranged a pickup for us around 9am Saturday and took us to Elephants World. There, we were greeted and told about the days activities.
Throughout the day we prepared food for the elephants, fed them, and even helped the mahouts bathe them!
At one point during the day, a mahout saw my Sak Yant. He commented on it and then had the other mahouts come look at it. They were complimenting it and asking me about my experience getting it. Yeah, I felt pretty cool.
Because just one day wasn't long enough with the elephants, we decided to go for the overnight package. With this, it included the day program, 4 meals, lodging, and transportation to/from Elephants World.
When the rest of the people got into their taxis and headed home, we were able to walk the elephants out to the rainforest with the mahouts. During the rainy season, this is where they sleep at night.
After getting into our bungalow (which was nicer than any hotel I've stayed in in a while) and getting some sleep, we woke up at 6am the next morning to hike up the mountain.
If you visit Elephants World and decide to do the hike, be warned, it's a VERY difficult climb. It qualifies more as rock climbing than hiking.
We saw some pretty views and then headed back down the mountain. One of the mahout guides started talking to my mom and I. Asked how old I was, if I had a boyfriend, etc. Of course none of these are weird or invasive questions in the Thai culture. He also asked if I wanted to stay in Thailand after I'm done teaching here. The solution he came up with; marry a Thai man. He also kept calling me beautiful. Hmmm marrying a cute mahout and hanging out with elephants for the rest of my life? That doesn't sound too shabby.
(I'm joking...kind of)
Once we were back and ate, we were able to take three of the elephants down to a more secluded part of the river and bathe them. This time, it was more private and much more relaxing because it was with a much smaller group.
Throughout the rest of the day, we watched the elephants, floated down the river, and then headed back to Elephants World to catch our taxi back to the bus station.
Interested in staying at Elephants World? Visit their website at www.elephantsworld.org! A day program is 2500 baht for an adult while the overnight program is 4500 baht.
All in all, it was one of the most amazing weekends. I'm so happy I got to spend it with my incredible mom.
Sorry Pattaya, Kanchanaburi took the cake as my favorite place in Thailand.
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