Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

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Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by buksida » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:32 pm

Following an extended stint in the UK it was time for another Asian road trip, I had missed them. We were heading north, past Kanchanaburi and on towards Sai Yok Yai, a National Park on the River Kwae in the western reaches of Thailand. The drive was a long one, seven hours in total from Bangsaphan, it took a fair few kilometers to get used to the utter mayhem on Thai roads after half a year of civilized driving in the UK where other road users are not trying to kill you every ten minutes.

We were staying in a river raft inside the National Park, arriving late in the afternoon, with rain lashing down I stayed in the car while mrs B went to pay the park entrance fees. This way I got in for the local price (100 baht), not the inflated foreigner one (300 baht) - we could use the same tickets for our entire stay. It was mid week and we had the entire place to ourselves.

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A five minute walk from our floating room took us to the main attraction of the area, Sai Yok Yai waterfall. I have seen a lot of waterfalls in my time and this one simply wouldn't have warranted the inflated park fees to come and see it (a white family of four would have to stump up a thousand baht to get in). Others must have thought the same as the place was deserted though there was a nice ambiance to the whole area. We spent the afternoon swimming, fishing and just generally lazing by the river.

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by migrant » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:27 pm

Nice, Thanks!
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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by buksida » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:35 am

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by buksida » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:55 am

Today we would head north to a hot springs a few kilometers up the road. It had been raining all night and rivers were swollen, disappointingly the hot springs had flooded so we couldn’t get in them. Noticed another dual price sign, these were pretty much the standard everywhere we went, things have changed in Thailand since I was last on the road. The only foreigners there were Russians on a minivan trip from Kanchanaburi, they must have been pissed off after a two hour drive.

We drove on in search of a local waterfall but turned back when we were hit with more farang tax, another 300 baht entrance fee. It seems that the junta are pulling out all the stops in milking the natural resources of the country to sting tourists, both domestic and foreign. A number of cars in front of us also turned around refusing to pay, charging the locals 100 baht to look at their own waterfalls isn’t going down too well.

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The number of shiny new brown and yellow 'national park' signs that have turned up at pretty much every waterfall, viewpoint, mountain, river and tree accompanied by a big dual price list is astounding. Do the army bigwigs really think Thais are all going to pay 100 baht to look at their own country? It is as if they are actively encouraging every establishment and attraction to charge foreigners more ... not that there were many foreigners about, I saw less than ten for the entire trip.

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The sign above was just to access a car park, toilet and view point over the lake, we carried on round a few bends where there were plenty of free views over the same lake.

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by pharvey » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:03 pm

Spot on report once again Buks. :thumb:

Looks a tad damp and can't say I'm impressed with the waterfall (or the pricing :roll: , bl**dy ridiculous state of affairs).

Have to say though, I like the idea of the River Raft - that could well be part of the plan on our next visit.

:cheers: :cheers:
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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by Vital Spark » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:55 pm

Great report Buksi, and fully understand your feelings about the dual pricing (or any pricing). You're probably more sensitive to it now after being in the UK for a few months, and being able to look at the wonders of nature without having to pay a bean.

Kanchanaburi is our favourite area for a bit of R&R, but when we go there we just stay on the island and pop into the restaurant at the jetty on the mainland for a few cheaper beers. Waterfalls don't really do it for me - usually because there are too many people around which spoils the ambiance. I do, however, think the waterfall in your photos looks just that little bit different (and nicer) as it's falling into a large river.

Any more pics?

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by buksida » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:36 am

Thanks for the comments, I can accept most things here in Thailand but the dual pricing still really gets my goat, it is state sponsored theft. What used to be limited just to National Parks seems to be pretty much endemic everywhere now - the junta are obviously pushing this.

Back to our riverside setting then to enjoy some fresh fruit from a floating vendor and get the rods out – though fishing in this fast flowing river wasn’t easy. Peace was shattered that evening as the noisy weekend warriors started to arrive. It was time to get on the road north, we’d had three enjoyable nights on our river raft.

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These were what the weekend warriors were coming for ...

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by buksida » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:51 pm

Heading north from Sai Yok Yai our destination for the night was Sangkhlaburi, a small Burmese-Thai settlement on the northern tip of the Vajiralongkorn reservoir. The road twisted and turned offering spectacular vistas of the lake around every corner. We were staying on a raft close to the famous wooden Mon bridge that is the primary attraction to the town. The first call of business was to get the fishing rods out, but without the right bait – some type of river worm – catching them would prove fruitless, these fish don’t eat bacon!

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by caller » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:32 pm

buksida wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:36 am
Peace was shattered that evening as the noisy weekend warriors started to arrive. .
Yup, guilty as charged! :D

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by Vital Spark » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:52 pm

Sangkhlaburi is really quite special. Especially when you read up on the history of the area and the building of the original bridge. Last time we went there they hadn't finished repairing the bridge, so we walked on a kind of floating bamboo bridge which ran alongside it. There's an interesting walk up to a temple on the Mon side of the river. Worth a look.

You're right about the twisty, turny road! Nearly wrecked poor Arfur the Alfa doing that trip!

You have sunshine in some of your photos. Enjoy!
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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by buksida » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:08 am

We took a boat across the lake to view some Lara Croftesque submerged temples, apparently you can walk to them in the dry season when the water is a lot lower. One up on the banks looked like something from Angkor Wat with trees practically growing through the temple. Locals were selling fish in bags to release to make merit, I figured it would be a good thing to do as fishermen.

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by buksida » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:45 pm

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Our boat guy agreed to stay out for an extra hour for 300 baht so we could head into some secluded spots and try with some lures. There were a few takes but nothing landed, just the wrong time of day I guess. On the way back a rain shower unleashed across town drenching the old wooden bridge and those on it.

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Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? - Hunter S Thompson
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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by huahinjim » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:17 pm

Great photos Buksida. Thank you.

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by Vital Spark » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:58 pm

Love the photos. Especially the rain ones. :cheers:

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Re: Photo trip report: Sai Yok Yai, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi

Post by pharvey » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:26 pm

Once again, superb photos.... :bow: :bow:
"You've got to get your first tackle in early, even if it's late". Ray Gravell :wink:

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