by Chuck Hinchliffe and Mark Kingsdorf
On our fourth day in Thailand we left Bangkok and headed out to Kanchanaburi province to the Sai Yok National Park. This was a three hour drive north west almost to the Myanmar border, about 214 km (about 133 miles)
We had a great, very comfortable motor coach and while we didn’t interact much with the driver; our bus assistant Pok was awesome. The tour company provided cold towel every time we came back on this bus, he passed out snacks and candy during the trip as well as helping everyone on and off the bus. ( he also handled all of our luggage. His English was limited but with my broken Thai he started saying things like good morning or thank you in return.
Along the road we passed salt fields where sea water was pumped into flat fields, allowed to evaporate and scraped up to go to processing plants.
Our first stop was a coconut farm where our tour manager and Pok showed us how farmers climbed trees to harvest coconut.
We saw the coconut flower, how they scraped meat out of the coconut, processed oil, made coconut candy and used the shells to fuel their.
From the coconut farm we continued out to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market; where boats are fully loaded with all kinds of products including fruits, vegetables, dry goods, and freshly cooked food. There were a lot of shop stalls lining the banks of the market and we had to take a longboat to get to the market.
One of the coolest things we saw was a merchant whose dog was cooling off in the bottom of his beverage cooler.
We bought some spices, a really cool hand carved puppet and some coconut ice cream.
Really yummy, fresh coconut ice cream in a half coconut shell. In the bottom were chopped pieces of fresh, soft young coconut which was amazing.
We got underway and took out bus out to the Bridge on the River Kwai – our tour manager Ranee (amazing but we’ll talk more about her later) brought on some local snacks for all of us try.
The one on the left is a light crispy crepe (almost like a fortune cookie) spread with cream and the filling is a sweetened egg yolk thread. The one on the right is a puffed rice cake with a coconut sugar glaze.
Off to the Bridge on the River Kwai