Checked into the Ploy Guesthouse, our cheapest accommodation yet, and also the best. Thai-style beds, free drinking water, a massive en suite, breakfast included, marvellous. We visited the Death Railway Museum not long after arriving. This told the shocking and moving tale of the building of the Thailand-Burma railway, where the Japanese used POWs and drafted in Asian labourers to toil away, often around the clock and under brutal conditions. The museum pulled no punches, it was very matter-of-fact and I would highly recommend visiting if you came to this small town.
We ate at the Apple Guesthouse Restaurant last night, a place we may have stayed at if they hadn't been booked up. As it turns out, the Ploy exceeded all expectations. The restuarant was also excellent, however. I had chicken with basil, chilli and rice, and Gilly went for fried rice with pineapple, chicken and cashews. Yum.
Today we went all touristy and booked a tour out with a local shop. It made sense really, most of the sights in Kanchanaburi are spread out (probably a 100 mile round trip all told), so a tour took us to the main places we wanted to visit: Erawan waterfall, Hellfire Museum, a ride on the "Death Railway" and the River Kwai bridge. The Hellfire Museum was dedicated to a specific cutting through the sheer rock face that the POWs had to labour around, by drilling and then blasting rock. Hundreds of thousands died building the railway due to the conditions; it was very humbling.
The railway ride was hot but scenic, but unfortunately the bridge area had been turned into a tourist hotspot for souvenirs and other associated junk. The bridge itself was not particularly impressive as a structure, but if you consider what went into building it, that's another matter entirely. In an attempt to keep our budget from spiralling out of control, we went to the Night Bazaar not far from the guesthouse and grabbed some tasty freshly cooked food from a stall.
Ayuttaya is now off the agenda thanks to the floods, so we are going to need to review our travel plan. One option is to somehow get to Chiang Mai where the flooding is no longer an issue, but that may mean going back to Bangkok. Much last minute planning awaits...