Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Bridge of River Kwai and the Death Railway, Kanchanaburi

For many travelers, the main sight of interest would be The River Kwai Bridge, as the start of Death Railway link into Burma/Myanmar, as well as many associated museums.

It's not hard to image why the Thais see the province as one of the most beautiful provinces in Thailand with easy access to waterfalls and national parks.

If there's a better time to visit The River Kwai Bridge, it's going to be in the morning between 8am-10am.

Any trip to the popular bridge later than the recommended interval it should be compromised, the bridge will be filled with countless tourists attempting to capture good takes of photos of themselves with travel mates and the surroundings.

The River Kwai Bridge, Kanchanaburi

World War II scene, an important piece of time

It's clearly understood why you should wake up early when you are traveling to get the best out of your trip.

The bridge, neither the most eye-catching structure nor it's being beautifully decorated, was aesthetically significant if you understand the historical settings.

The River Kwai Bridge, Kanchanaburi

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Wikipedia:
"The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre."

An important piece of time, the River Kwai Bridge is situated at the up river, approximately 1.5KM from where I spent a night at the rafting Sugarcane Guesthouse, I've written briefly about Kanchanaburi's historical background.

Bicycles could be rented conveniently at the price of 20 Baht for a day to get around the town.

During World War 2, the Japanese used Allied prisoners of war to build a railway from Thailand to Burma so they could supply their army without the dangers of sending supplies by sea. 

Many prisoners died suffering under appalling conditions during its construction, and the line became known as the "Death Railway".

Riding on the 3rd class train was an exceptional experience
A closer look at the railway

The tour package I booked was about 1,000 Baht, it included trip to spend the day at Erawan waterfall, elephant riding and bamboo rafting.

The last stop would end at visiting the Death railway and riding the rail for couple of stops before dropping me off at River Kwai Bridge but I chose to return the next morning.

The bridge was bombed by the Allied in an attempt to halt Japanese's further intrusion
The bridge is an important supply link to the Japanese during WWII

The bridge over River Kwai

The bridge was the frequent target of bombing raids by the Allied in attempts to halt Japanese's further intrusion where they were believed to build the link to supply the war in Burma and India.

The Japanese would force the Allied prisoners of war out from the prisoner camp to line up on the bridge and to friendly wave off the threats of bombers.

The bridge was eventually taken out by the bombers in one of the strike, taking Allied prisoners of war with it. It's rebuilt after the war ended.


  1. **Shivering** When thinking back of how many people died along this railway.

  2. It's history to be learnt and not to forget so we can live better together =)