Got another cheap train here, and found a guest house called the Jolly Frog, which was great. Room was only 200 baht, with a resteraunt on site that served cheap food and drink whilst showing movies in English! The perfect way to relax after a long day in the sun. Although it was a cold shower, that wasn't really a problem as we had no air con. Went on a day trip to Erawan Waterfalls, which were amazing. Carved out of limestone there were seven steps and it was about a 2km trek to the top where we went for a swim in the lovely aquamarine coloured water, and climbed around on the falls - excellent! We then got taken to see a cave next to the railway, which is still in use today. In fact as we walked down the line over a narrow bridge a train started coming the other way - very slowly thankfully so we had time to run back down the bridge and get out of the way! We were then taken on a train over the bridge where we got off and walked back across. All in all a good day.
Hired bikes the next day and went to see the JEATH museum. JEATH standing for Japanese.English.Australia.Thailand.Holland as the countries who contributed most lives to the building of the railway. Very moving, with lots of newspaper articles, and paintings and sketches done by the prisoners themselves. We then rode on to the Allied war graves which were immaculate, especially compared with the Chinese plot which was completely overgrown. Amazing to see all the messages, and a bit strange to see how old all the men were - not a single teenager, and most between 25 and 35 going up to 50. Had to take the bikes back after that as the saddles were killing us! Chilled out for the rest of the day to prepare for trip to the floating market at Damnern Sadouak the next day which started at 7am!
Got up to find our transport on the 2 hr drive was a flat bed truck with 2 benches bolted in the back. The road was not the best, and made me feel very ill, although Helen was fine. Went around the market on a little paddle boat for about an hour and bought a few bits after the usual haggling, got one item half the quoted price and another for one-third! It was cool to watch the Thais going about their business on the water, although there were a lot of tourists. The boat woman had the cheek to ask for a tip after we'd already paid her 200 baht each for one hour's paddling! We got back to the Jolly Frog and had to lay down as I still felt a bit shaky thanks to our method of transport. Sat in the hammocks in the garden and watched as the Kwai went by. Very tranquil until the party boats came by blarring out horrible karaoke, they love it here, we can't understand why!
This was definately one of the best places we've been so far, and we ended up spending 4 nights rather than the intended 2. It was so cheap we told ourselves we were saving money (which we were in a way) and stayed away from Bangkok as long as possible.
Still ended up getting the train back there to go back out again to Ayutthaya. Got caught in a massive lightning storm which was very cool, although a bit scary when we were standing on a metal pier waiting for a boat along the Chaopraya in the middle of it. Eventually arrived in Ayutthaya at 10pm, and the place was closed! Literally the town had gone to bed and we were left to fight our way to 7/11 past the rats and roaches to dine on the wonders of a micowave pizza! First impressions were not good. However, we found a much nicer guest house the next day, and went to see the ruins of the ancient city that rivaled London and Paris only 2 centuries ago. They were very impressive, but still the place did shut down far too early, and we could definately have done it in a day. It was worth seeing, just not for as long as we did!
Continuing north to Chiang Mai next.