North-west from Bangkok, lies Mae Sot, a legal crossing point to Burma, the country from which many of the town’s residents have fled. It is an interesting way between the two similar but vastly different countries. There are also many forest and parks around Mae Sot.
Thick forest and rugged mountains divide Kanchanaburi from parts further north. This is Taksin Maharat National Park, home to elephants and other wildlife, near Mae Sot.
Taksin Maharat is famed among Thais for its large and sacred trees.
There are a few kilometres of walking trails and water holes, where elephants are seen.
Nearby Nam Nao National Park is where Thais go for the novelty of feeling cold. The name means "cold water'. It was 3 degrees when we stayed.
A songthaew heads to the Burmese border, one of the legal crossing points for farang, between Mae Sot and Myawaddy.
The Burmese presence is very strong, with various ethnic groups living in exile here. Mae Sot is apparently a good place to seek out vintage British motorcycles from the Raj!
Schools, cafes, temples, markets are run by and for immigrants from Burma.
You can find some unusual things in the markets. I hope they are destined to be treasured pets, not soup.
Without any real "must see" attractions, most farang rush through town the the border, missing the colour of the town.
While the nights were cool around Mae Sot, the furry cow hat might be overkill.
It's not just people that cross between the two countries. Plenty of trucks and small time traders cross the bridge over the Moei River.
The ethnic mix of Mae Sot shows up in the cuisine. There is a cooking school which covers, Shan, Karen and Barma food.
Like most parts of Thailand, being illiterate is no obstacle, with food laid out in front of you.
Besides a healthy supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, cut flowers were big in the market.
Mae Sot's schools put on a show while we were in town. Probably not for our benefit, but I'm not sure what it was all about.
Perhaps a dozen schools spread over a kilometre, paraded through the main streets.
Many wore beautiful and elegant traditional Thai formal wear.
Elaborate head wear flashing gold......
....for both men and women....
....ornamental cups for offerings.
Some types of Thai formal are chakkri, chut Thai, ruean ton, and "siwalai"- a corruption of the English "civilised"!
There were some less traditional outfits, like the peacock-angel girl.
And the Victorian outfit team seemed to have slept in!
The school, like Vampire High, assembled at the town stadium.
There were marching bands, traditional bands, and this brass band.....led by a cowgirl?
Riding high on the back of a Toyota pick up, the Prom Queen.
Much like the town itself, there was mixing of cultures.
Old ways meeting with new.
They don't call it "Amazing Thailand" for nothing. A very colourful day, even if I really don't know what it was all about.
I have been back twice since, but regrettabley like too many others, I was bound for somewhere else.