Bridge over the River Kwai & Kanchanaburi Town (1day-tour)
Thanks to several films and books, the Bridge on the River Khwae has become most famous. A must to see for everyone who comes to Kanchanaburi.
The bridge spans across the Kwai Yai (Great Kwai River). During the Japanese occupation of Thailand in World War II, the Japanese Army brought the iron bridge from Java. It was then reassembled by Allied Prisoners of War (POW) under Japanese supervision. The bridge was part of a strategic railway route to Burma in which the Japanese aimed to secure supplies to conquer other Asian countries. The railway was 415 kilometers long (about 303 kilometers in Thailand and about 112 kilometers in Burma) and passed through the Three Pagoda Pass in Sangkhlaburi District, the northern part of Kanchanaburi province. Construction started in September 1942 and was completed in December 1943. An estimated 16,000 POWs from England, Australia, Holland and America died while building the bridge which was a target of bombing raids in 1945. In addition to this, approximate 90,000 laborers from Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia died during its construction.
Rebuilt after WWII, the bridge is still in use today. An attraction is the annual light and sound week at the bridge beginning always end of november. The railway currently ends at Namtok Station, 77 kms away from Kanchanaburi Station. A special train running from Bangkok to Namtok Station is available on weekends and national holidays.
The Chong Kai War Cemetery occupies the site of the Chong Kai which once was the prisoner of war camp. The cemetery attracts visitors to see its peaceful, well-designed landscape where 1,740 POWs rest in eternal peace.
Kanchanaburi City Gate: The Gate was built in 1831 during the reign of King Rama III. It is located on Lak Mueang Road near the meeting point of the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi Rivers.
Wat Chai Chumphon Chana Songkhram temple, also called Wat Tai, is located along the river Kwai in Kanchanaburi town and next to the JEATH War Museum. Some old gates and old temple buildings with beautiful stucco work are on the compound.
JEATH War Museum: The name JEATH is derived from countries which engaged in the WWII death railway construction from 1942 to 1945, which included Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand and Holland. The museum is a reconstruction of the POWs thatched detention hut with cramped, elevated bamboo bunks. On the wall of the huts, photographs and illustrations of the POWs living conditions are on display. POWs who survived from the camp have donated items to enhance the museums atmosphere and authenticity.
To conclude your visit of Kanchanaburi town, we suggest dinner on a floating Restaurant on the banks of the River Kwai.