(Click on the pic for a larger view)
This was the shot I took in the evening of Sunday July 21st from the roof top of my condominium at downtown Bangkok looking out west. Somewhere out there on the horizon where the orange color smeared the backdrop lay the city of Kanchanaburi. As I stood there with the evening breeze whizzing through my ears I made up my mind that I would make a trip there the next day. The time had come. Besides we had a four day weekend and there's only so much of this concrete jungle of Bangkok you can take.
Not sure if you have watched the movie called "Bridge Over River Kwai" or know its historical significance - but when you live here in Thailand you eventually hear about this infamous bridge that was built by American POW under Japanese occupation in this area of Kanchanaburi - as it was the vital railway link to Burma from Gulf of Thailand. After couple hours of wild Taxi ride from BKK Sarah and I reached there in a single piece. As we got nearer to this "Bridge over River Kwai" we soon discovered that, being a four day weekend that it was, half of BKK residents had the same idea as I had the evening earlier. But the weather was nice - temp in late 20's with bright blue sky and some breeze - this is as nice as it gets in this part of the world. Took this shot from the left side of the bridge. This is not the original bridge that was built by POW by the way - only few spars and trusses form the original remains. Bridge stretches about 150 yards or so from my estimate.
This is the at the end of the bridge on the other side of the river!! The rail way track seem to stretch deep into the jungle into unknown. Can't imagine the uncertainty of the fate that ran through the minds of the POW as they worked here.
When I turned around at the end of the bridge I got to see blue sky with white patchy clouds and green mountain in the background with bridge over the river and some floating eateries on the foreground. I was glad I had my polarizer handy to capture the contrast of colors. A point and shoot would be sinful.
Soon the tour of the bridge was over. I am not a history buff - this merely became a check-off item from the list of places to do in Thailand. Took this shop from under the bridge, again admiring the contrast in colors - that's all. I like my shots not as busy as this but what's a bridge (and shade for that matter) without people.
The other side of the bridge lay temple of "Guan Yin" (Bouddhistwa of Compassion, revered by Buddhist as Goddess of Mercy) - that I came to learn. It seemed recently built. With Bridge Kwai already under the belt (in 30 mins or so mind you) we thought we would check it out.
"Guan Yin" seen from inside the large temple courtyard.
Shot of the temple itself near the "Goddess of Mercy".
Then on to Erawan National Park that lay some 40 km up the river Kwai from Kanchanaburi. To our amazement,again, there were more people here than BKK and Kanchanaburi combined. No wonder streets looked empty. If there were 10 more people here it would be standing room only - I kid you not!!! There were several waterfalls inside the park with milky white water (because of decalcification of sandstone I imagine) cascading down the cliffs and rocks. I would have liked to take a plunge but it was already booked solid by the locals as above picture shows. I decided to be back here may be sometime in late Sept during weekday to avoid the crowd and take some decent shots of the falls and for some milky dippin'!!!
From the park we drove another 5 km up the river to see "Srinagarind Dam". The Srinagarind Dam is a 1459 ft tall and 2,001 ft long embankment dam with a reservoir of 7,470,000,000 m3. The dam's power station has an installed capacity of 720 MW and contains three 120 MW Francis turbines and two 180 MW Francis pump-turbines per Wiki.
Dam creates a huge lake to the north. It was about 5 o' clock with Sun still bright in the sky - not an easy shot to frame.
With that view, we got in the car started 3 hour drive back to BKK.