Bridge Over the River Kwai (or Death Railway Trip)

The Kwai River Bridge was made famous by the 1960s movie about a bamboo bridge being built by British Soldiers in Burma during World War II. This movie was mostly fiction, the bridge is of concrete/metal construction and it is actually located in Thailand. Thailand Tourism authority offers a great service of train tours. These are low cost trips that you can take that range from day trips to long weekends to various scenic parts of Thailand. Most of the trips begin and end in the Hua Laphong Rail Station, the main rail hub for passengers for the entire country. Pictures of this station are shown above. The station is clean and organized, but beware, it is also VERY busy. As a side note: Thailand uses their rail and bus system as their major artery moving people and products throughout their borders.
The tour that I choose was a day trip that took me almost to the Thai border with Myanmar, ending in the Soiyak Water Falls but making stops in Phra Pathom Chedi, Bridge over the Rive Kwai, the “Death Railway”, and the Kanchanabury WWII Cemetery. I will describe each of these stops in detail below. The trip was a full day, starting at 7 am and not returning to Hua Laphong Station until after dark, around 7 pm. The train was un-air-conditioned but was comfortable, at least while we were moving.
Phra Pathom Chedi
Our first stop was at the temple called Phra Pathom Chedi , The Temple main feature was a huge pagoda (see the pictures below. The stop was just long enough to walk from the train station to the Temple without too much rush. To get to the temple we walk through a city market area where you can get anything from a quick snack to a glass of ice coffee.
Bridge over the River Kwai and the “Death Railway
The Bridge was made famous by a 1960’s film of the same name. The film, however was in fact fiction based loosely on the events surrounding this bridge. I will not go into detail of the differences between the film and this bridge but will let that up to you. Briefly, the bridge is located in Thailand, not Burma but many people (mostly British soldiers) did give their lives building this bridge for the Japanese during World War II. This is why this railway is known as the “Death Railway” in Thailand. The rail line leading from the Kwai River Bridge to the Soiyak Water Falls appears treacherous but is well maintained and safe for travel. The railway follows the river and often has sheer cliffs overlooking the river and can be quite scenic. However, these conditions lead to many deaths during WWII.
Kanchanaburi WWII Cemetery
The WWII Cemetery in Kanchanaburi is filled with the bodies of the people who gave their lives constructing the Kwai Bridge for the Japanese Army. This stop is quite sobering knowing these men gave their lives building the rail line that was we were just on.
Soiyak Water Falls
The Soiyak Water Fall is the final stop of this trip and it is quite refreshing. The waterfall is augmented in areas with concrete and being an geologist is could tell immediately that it wasn’t natural. The industrious Thai People have taken and natural water supply and made is a tourist stop. The surrounding area is a natural area and protected from development, which is good. There are hiking trails leading to the water falls source; a small stream filled with small fish and is icy cold. Also along the trail is a few caves to explore. The Thai People find these areas sacred, as evidenced by the presence of sacred images located in the caves. The trail are quite interesting, having many native plants and animals to observe along the way.
At the very end of the Railway sits an historic train, once used by the Japanese during the construction of the railway. The plaque commemorating the train and the people who died in its construction gave the trip some meaning for me.
We returned to the Hua Laphong Rail Station rather late and I was quite tired, but the trip was worthwhile and I would recommend this trip to anyone interested in learning some about historical Thailand. For more interesting travel ideas please visit my website:

  • Добавить ВКонтакте заметку об этой странице
  • Мой Мир
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LiveJournal
  • MySpace
  • FriendFeed
  • В закладки Google
  • Google Buzz
  • Яндекс.Закладки
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Digg
  • БобрДобр
  • MisterWong.RU
  • МоёМесто.ru
  • Сто закладок

Ваш отзыв , 18 Feb 2011

Ваш отзыв