Again, we didn’t know anything about the Burma Railway (or also known as Death Railway/Thailand Burma Railway) until we watched the TLC Channel. FF’s favourite channel is definitely TLC and AFC (It’s all about food, food and food!). We started to blog hopping, endless reading and research on this particular infamous Death Railway. We just realized we learned a lot about it before we departed to Bangkok. And we even knew about the movie. There’s always an immense feeling of emotion while visiting and exploring the place (if only you know the overall history).
The whole journey started with a short visit to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, in the heart of the Kanchanaburi city. Besides this, there are another 2 cemeteries maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which is the Chungkai War Cemetery (near to Kanchanaburi) and Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Thanbyuzayat (former name of Myanmar). This cemetery recorded almost 7000 graves of personnel ranging from the members of British units, Dutch, Australians, Indian Army and others.
Al-Fatihah to the 11 members of the Indian Army who are buried in the nearby Muslim Cemeteries too.
After 15 minutes driving, we finally arrived at the tragic rail route that involved thousands of Allied Prisoners of War (POWs) and unknown civilians that has been forced to work on the project. The mysterious railway was built by the Japanese Army as a route to Thailand and Myanmar.
The most famous portion of the railway is Bridge 277, ‘the bridge over the River Kwai’, which was built over a stretch of river which was then known as part of the Mae Klong. The association with the ‘River Kwai’ came from the fact that the greater part of the Thai part of the route followed the valley of the Khwae Noi, ‘Kwai’ being the Thai word for Water Buffalo. In 1960, because of this discrepancy between fact and fiction, the part of the Mae Klong which passes under the famous bridge was renamed as the Khwae Yai (Thai แควใหญ่, English “big tributary”).
Eventually, it all started with a wooden bridge followed by a concrete and steel bridge. The bridge was then partly destroyed from hard bombing during the Second World War and rebuilt where it is now one of the popular photogenic site.
The scenic view from the bridge. We spent an hour here under the scorching hot sun appreciating the nice view. We even saw some visitors taking a boat ride to explore the River Kwai but we’re not sure on the price. There are some other activities offered beside the boat ride – Lunch / Dinner at the Floating Restaurant on the River Kwai, fun train ride crossing the River Kwai Bridge or exploring the nearby Buddhist Temple.
We will continue our journey on Part 5 – Asiatique, The Riverfront.
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma