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The Gap Year Blog

In the Midst of Death is Life...

1 Nov 2019 11:50 AM

This week in our South East Asia trail, we have seen the horrors and the beauty of life. We started the week in Kanchanaburi, a town built on the River Kwai. The name of that river may be familiar to some due to the ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, with the events that happened during that time period becoming a point to reflect on for the group.

On our first day we visited the War Cemetery, where 15,000 Allied Prisoners of War and 100,000 local forced labourers killed during the building of The Death Railway during WWII. The cemetery itself, and the capacity for human cruelty that it represented, was a stark reminder of how lucky we are to be here and to even be alive. After reflecting on what we had just paid respects to, we visited a sight of immense life. The Rain Tree of Kanchanaburi has a canopy that spans over 60m and is one of the most beautiful trees this self-professed tree-hugger has ever laid eyes on! We sat with the tree for a couple of hours. Some of us thinking, some of us just in awe, and some even learning some Muay Thai from some local children who wanted to play!

The next day, our nature spectacular continued as we took a bus out to Erawan Waterfall, a 7-tiered masterpiece of natural beauty! We swam, gawked and slid down the rocks like children at a birthday party, with our gifts being wrapped by the Earth. Some of us even got a free fish spa from the fish that live in the pools! Bonus! What a way to spend our last day on mainland Thailand!

After 21 hours of travel, including three buses, a night train and a ferry, we arrived on the diver’s paradise that is Koh Tao. Coming on to this small island stuck out in the sea was a great change after being landlocked for the past 2 weeks. So far on the island we have seen sunsets, snorkelled with sharks and were surprised by a street parade; taken part in an ‘Eco Day’ clean-up day alongside Trash Hero and multiple dive schools from the island; and spent some well-earned time with our feet up in hammocks.

Next up we have Koh Samui and we cannot wait to see where the adventures on that island will take us!

By Vaughan Fleming - Trail Leader, Frontier South East Asia Trail

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!