Down Memory Lane in Kanchanaburi

River KwaiThere are memories which are nostalgic and yet some where it is a tribute and commemoration. In the town of Kanchanaburi located about an hour out of Bangkok city. If by the name of the town itself most will not remember it but if anyone was to mention the River Kwai, made famous by the movie Bridge over the River Kwai” or even the Death Railway, then memories will come flooding back. Kanchanaburi, which is located close to the Burmese border was the scene of much sadness and loss of lives during the Second World War.

Popular tours of Kanchanaburi includes a visit to the Hell Fire Pass, a train ride on the Death Railway and a cruise down the River Kwai. To experience the full extent of a walk down memory lane in Kanchanaburi, there are sightseeing tours in Kanchanaburi that will also take you to several other places related to these past incidences. However, here are the three main Kanchanaburi tour and sightseeing that we recommend to experience the walk into the past.

Starting with a cruise on the River Kwai, you can arrange for the tour that will bring you along the part of the river that extends from the River Kwai bridge and back along the river. On this trip you will be able to see the massive construction of the bridge by the prisoners of war who were forced to build the passageway between Malaya, Thailand and Burma by the occupying Japanese forces to keep their troops supplied in the war efforts. The River Kwai bridge was one of the primary causes on the loss of many POWs lives due to the conditions they were subjected too which included lack of food, malaria, dysentery, septic wounds, lack of sleep and forced hard labour. It is believed that a total of over 100,000 POWs and locals lost their lives constructing the bridge, the railway lines and the pass.


The River Kwai boat trip takes approximately an hour from point to point and there is a tour guide who will provide the narrative on the history of the bridge and the river. When you disembark from the boat trip, you can make your way to the bridge itself. Here the things to see in Kanchanaburi River Kwai sightseeing includes the walk along the span of the bridge itself or you could take the very brief train ride up and down the bridge, visit the souvenir shops in the area or the war museum that has a history in pictures on the construction of the bridge. There are also several old train heads on display including a rusting old Japanese war train.

The next place to head too is for a long train ride on the Death Railway. Part of the railway ride is on the actual tracks built and still in use today as a regular train line. This ride is from Namtok to the Hellfire Pass  which is the next venue of interest. However a part of the things to see on the Death Railway is the great scenery that is left very much as it was during the pre-war days, old riverside villages and a stunning experience as you ride in the train that actually hugs the sides of the cliff walls along the length of the journey. Which makes you wonder the feat and difficulties the POWs must have gone through to construct this railway in such harsh conditions.

The last stop along the way is the Hellfire Pass. This place was notoriously crowned the name as a result of the night time construction carried out in the area by the light of bamboo and carbide lamps. The pass was a cutting through a hill to enable the train tracks to run through the hill on a shorter route. The shadow of the gaunt men at work resembled a great suffering of skeletal images at work in the fires of hell, hence its nickname. Once a year on Armistice day, the nations such as Australia, UK, Holland and the USA will have visitors who will come to Hellfire Pass for a commemoration ceremony to their fallen comrades during the war. All along the walk in Hellfire Pass you will see tributes in memory to the men who lost their lives as well as a war museum at the entrance to the pass where you can read all about the history. Take a tour of Hellfire Pass but it is recommended you use the audio tour where there are narrations to tell you the importance of each point you visit. So if you want to know more about the history and Kanchanaburi and its role during the Second World War, make it a point to visit these places, it can be a very sobering experience and a lesson in the atrocities of war.



6 thoughts on “Down Memory Lane in Kanchanaburi

  1. I feel that is one of the most vital information for me. And i am happy studying your article. But wanna remark on some basic things, The website style is great, the articles is really great : D. Just right job, cheers

    1. Thank you very much for your encouraging comment. It is most appreciated. This particular topic is a subject close to the heart, therefore the great enthusiasm to write more about it. Besides, much has been sacrificed for the construction of these places and even our writings cannot fully justify the sacrifices made but hope that through the articles, many will remember the tribute for these fallen heroes in our era of whom many were not known.

  2. Attractive element of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing in your augment and even I achievement you get admission to persistently quickly.

    1. Dear Nakna Sanningen, thank you very much for your comments. Indeed Kanchanaburi is a wonderful place albeit with some sad and bitter memories. There are a lot of other historical places in Thailand that are worth a read which we will be including into later blog articles. Just follow us weekly to read all our new and interesting blogs 🙂

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