Wanted to do one last post on our visit to Kanchanaburi. We had a wonderful time visiting family and all the sights that Kanchanaburi had to offer. There were two remaining things that I wanted to mention, the raft cruise and the ceremony at Kanchana’s home community Temple.
Overnight River Raft Cruise (Disco Raft)
This overnight outing is hard to put into words. It probably best to separate this event into two parts, the beautiful & tranquil cruise on the river (and back on next day) and then the unbelievable overnight rocking docked disco (with about 10 other large rafts).
The rafts consist of a large covered room with tables and seating along with a small kitchen, serving area, bathroom facilities and advance (and very loud) sound systems (karaoke, CD’s / digital music, DJ type setup). There are single and two stories rafts and are closer in style to a house-boat. They usually travel with two rafts connected, one for partying, dancing, eat & drinking and other for sleeping. These rafts have no power systems in place they are pulled along with a small “tug” type boat.
Apparently the “Disco Raft” is something that has been around for a long time. Several years ago people from Bangkok would visit Kanchanaburi to party on the disco rafts, on the river, all night long. Its hard to explain just how loud the sound systems are on these rafts, then multiply by 10 or more other rafts. Today there are rules in place and they are not allow to travel up and down the river like in the past (due to large homes / mansions now built up on the river). Once you leave the main docking area (in Kanchanaburi) you travel up the river for a few hours then dock in a designated raft area. Here you can have as many as 10 or more rafts docked (all with their sounds systems cranked to the max). However with the new rules the loud music is only allowed until midnight.
Buddhist Ceremony Kathina
On Sunday (27th) Kanchana’s family all gathered to take part in the Buddhist ceremony Kathina. This took place in Kanchana’s home community Buddhist Temple. During the three month “Rainy season” period it is tradition for Monks to not travel (usually staying at their home Temple). Kathina is a ceremony that is held at the end of this period. This is the time where people in the community offer the Monks new cloth (for new robes). This comes from an old tradition where the cloth was placed on a frame (called Kathina) used to spread the cloth as they were making it.
This event is a big celebration that goes on for a full week (leading up to the Kathina Sunday). Very similar to a carnival or fair, they have food, rides, games, outdoor concerts and movies shown on large screens. This is something that the local community looks forward to each year.
Kathina Ceremony Pictures