I've visiting Kanchanaburi, and for me that means I'm skipping the classic tourist things of the River Kwai Bridge, Damnoen Saduak floating market and the rest. If you want that, book a tour (I'd recommend Indo-Thai-Tours who do a multiday tour of the main tourist sites) and the tour company will arrange it all for you. For me, I will explore and see what I can find that isn't so popular, off the beaten track, or things I've always wanted to do!
As I drove north past Kanchanaburi, I noticed a gap in the mountains, perhaps its a mountain pass, a secret hide-away for pirates, a home for fairies, who knows what I might find there! I won't know till I go!
Driving around the minor roads didn't get me close, the proper roads run the lengths of the valleys not into the hills, I would have to go down these dirt tracks.
Slowly does it, these roads are covered in sharp stones and I only have a small space-saver tyre, if I burst one on my car, I'll be driving a long way on a tiny sliver of rubber. Along the way I see some lovely sites, dried up lakes where buffalo graze, and even naturally growing wild cashew nuts.
As I approach a ripe fruit falls of the tree, I've been foolish enough to taste this as a child, it takes like a mouth full of stinging ants, and I won't make the mistake again! Even after taking the picture, I take the precaution of rinsing my hands with water, in case any of the acid is on my skin.
The locals don't bother with these wild cashews, they are far too much work to extract, needing high temperatures and pressures, its just not the easier crop to harvest. I drive on, deeper and deeper into the hills.
Eventually the road reaches an end, at a temple. A well maintained but very very quiet temple. Right in the middle of the gap, surrounded by these steep hills. I do my prayer, and look for the donation box. There isn't one. I ask the monk where to donate, he says they don't take donations, there are only two monks here, it is a place for monks to be quiet and meditate away from people.
This is the perfect place for that, not many people will seek out this place unless they know about it, or are just too nosy for their own good!
As I drive along the back-roads, a random police checkpoint stops me. The border with Burma is one valley along, and this is one of the few roads that leads into Thailand, so they stop cars here. They advise me to head back to the highway, as the road around the lake needs a 4x4.