Kanchanaburi and Erawan Waterfalls

This last weekend, I was able to visit Kanchanaburi with 11 other international students. Our main drive for wanting to visit was sparked from the beautiful national park containing 7 spectacular waterfalls just an hour north of the city. After almost a full month in Bangkok, being closer to nature and getting some fresh bumped itself to the top of my priority list. We stayed in Sam's House hostel for Friday night and planned on waking up early to hike the falls in the morning.

When we arrived at the Kanchanaburi bus terminal, we were immediately bombarded by taxi drivers. We've all been in Thailand long enough to know what is and is not a fair price, and the taxi drivers were trying to charge us between ฿100-150 to go about a mile down the road. Ummmm, no. Since none of them would lower their price for us, we decided to take the heel-toe express instead. After a three hour bus ride and a 1.5 mile walk all the way to Sam's House, we were quite hungry. Luckily, Thailand has yet to disappoint in the food department. We had a surplus of delicious options to choose from in Kanchanaburi, and enjoyed very reasonable prices for dinner. On the road to our hostel, there were not only several options for dinner, but also plenty of bars to choose from. After our meal, we were enticed by a sign that said, "Get drunk for ฿10." ฿10 was frighteningly cheap, so ended up at the bar across the street called Drink! Drunk! Dance! What a name. That turned out to be exactly what we did. The bar was small but very open, mostly filled with other travelers, of course, and had fantastically motivating phrases on their wall. We all enjoyed ฿200 buckets (approx. 1L of mixed drink goodness) and even found a wrecking ball to swing from (not a real wrecking ball, obviously). My friend, Emilia, noticed that one of the bar's decorations had distinct potential to be a mock-wrecking ball. They even played the song for us while we were swinging--that's how little they cared that we had just used their bar decoration as a Miley Cyrus song prop.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:10am. My alarm hadn't even gotten a chance to go off yet. I woke up the other lovely ladies staying in our little hostel room. At only ฿250/person a night, Sam's House was a pretty swanky hostel. The bathrooms even came stocked with toilet paper, which is a luxury, I assure you. We walked down the road to a breakfast place that was served Western breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee/tea all for ฿70). The management even got us a taxi-truck who drove all 12 of us up to Erawan falls and drive us back. For ฿120/person roundtrip, this offer was pretty much unbeatable. We sleepily got into the back of the taxi-truck, and eventually made it to the base of the hiking trail for the falls. The Thai's take very good care of this national park. You even have to register any water bottles you take in and leave a ฿40 deposit, that they keep if you do not bring your water bottle back down with you. Unfortunately, I still did see the occasional forgotten water bottle on the trail. For the most part, the trail was very well maintained and extremely easy. I reached the 7th water fall in no time, even with dawdling around to taking pictures. The water at some of the falls' was shockingly blue, and the surrounding scenery was remarkably beautiful. I've updated my photo album, so you can check out pictures in the January section. My favorite part was when we finally reached the 7th falls. I was sitting at the base of the falls with my feet in a lower pool, and began to feel fish tickling my feet. They weren't cute little guppies either, some of the fish in the pool were easily 8-10 inches long, though only the smaller 4-5 inch ones seemed to want to feed on sweaty hikers' feet. On Khao San Rd. (a popular destination for partiers and backpackers in Bangkok), people pay to have their feet cleaned by little fishes. Here I was sitting at the base of a breathtaking waterfall in the middle of an outstanding national park getting it done for free. I was not the only person with my feet in this pool, but for whatever reason, the fish seemed to love the taste of my dead skin cells over others. At one point, I had 9 of these unknown fish species nibbling at my toes and the back of my heels. My second favorite part of the trip was playing with my camera's shutter functions. I finally had a purpose for using the 1/4000 shutter speed function! I was able to capture water droplets as they exploded off rocks after reaching the bottom of the falls, along with fun action shots of some of the international students jumping off one of the smaller falls.


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