kanchanaburi on the river kwai, central thailand
i took the bus here from bangkok. it was an airconditioned bus but still no westerners on board. it was a 2 hour trip and how relieved i was to leave bangkok and the city behind. i find the western travellers much more friendly outside cities - in bangkok they were really rather snooty. i did meet a nice english couple - jodie and glenn on the river taxi and 2 really nice people on the flight over here including chris - a guy that lived for 30 years in a transcendental meditation commune in manchester and now lives full time in bangkok and a lady who was visiting thailand with her half thai son zion to introduce him to his father, who's thai. she told me that she met the father of her child when she was backpacking around thailand.
the thai people are so friendly - apparently thailand = the land of smiles!!! they are very nice. the only thai people who weren't nice were the odd taxi drivers who try and rip you off. i learned pretty quickly to always insist that they use the meter. some refuse though then you are supposed to get out and flag another one. i flipped one off the other day because he was getting on my nerves and really wasting my time.. the first 2 days i was in bangkok i was too tired and jet-lagged to put up a fight and then i read in my handy guidebook what you're supposed to do and it works! i no longer get ripped off - except when i take a tuk tuk, rickshaw or motorbike with a side car cos' these don't have meters!
riding a tuk tuk through bangkok is definitely worth it though just for the experience - this one driver i got from siam square back to kao san road drove at break neck speeds.. dodging other scooters, motorbikes.. i must have travelled over 8 mile in one.
crossing the road in bangkok is no easy task.... jaywalking isn't illegal here.. it's just called crossing the road (like it is in most countries apart from america).. so people literally dodge in and out of traffic to get to the other side.. it felt like i was playing a real game of frogger!
one thing i did was always cross with other thai people because i assumed they knew better than me and this seemed to work well.