The Burma Railway also known as the Death Railway was built by the Japanese Government during WWII particularly in 1943 to support its allies in Burma. This Bridge connects Thailand and Yangon (formerly Burma) is built on the Kwai Yai or Mae Klong River and has a length of 415 kilometers.
Why called as the Death Railway?
According to Thai History, About 90,000 civilian labourers and over 12,000 Allied Prisoners died during the construction of this historic and famous railway- forced labour and extreme poor diet under the hands of the Japanese Government.
These little amount of history urged my curiosity to spend a day on this historical location. If you want too, to spend your day for a change, visit the Bridge on the River Kwai. To get here, you need to buy ticket for a one-day trip in Kanchanaburi and must be in advance as this trip is weekends only. You can purchase directly at Bangkok Railway Station in Hua Lamphong for 120 Baht.
There are two train schedules, first trip leaves at 7 am and second trip is at 1 pm. You will stop first at Nakornpathom where you will be given 40 minutes to tour the place or eat your brunch. Street food flourished as usual in this place either “kanum” , Thai term for snack or heavy meals are found. You can also visit the Phra Pathom Chedi. One of the tallest Chedi in the world. (see photo below).
After 3 hours, you will reach Kanchanaburi Station. You will take a few walk and you will reach the Bridge on the River Kwai and only 25 minutes allowed so you need to be quick to strike your pose. As I stepped on the old wooden floor and touched the steel that framed the bridge, I imagined the sacrifices the POWs done to built this famous bridge. The structure is not easy as it requires heavy equipment if constructed in the modern times but sad to think, thousands of lives spent just to realize this strategic project of the Japanese.
After 25 minutes at the Bridge, the Train will cross going to Nam Tok Station. The Train speed is slow so you will have the chance to take photos, videos and perhaps visualize how difficult this railway was constructed.
When you reached Nam Tok Station, you will tour Erawan Park. You can eat your lunch here, laid back while listening to the sound of the cascading waterfalls. You will be staying here for two hours, so you will have a breath of fresh air, green plants that surround the place, really a taste of nature before heading back to the hustle bustle Bangkok. At almost 6 pm. you are in Hua Lamphong and back to reality.
When you reached home, I am sure you somehow feel the same with me. I feel lucky to step and see for myself this famous Bridge on the River Kwai and Death Railway. The place is full of history known worldwide and not all have the chance to see this historic place personally.
Below are few tips in traveling to the Death Railway (one-day trip to Kanchanaburi):
- Buy/check ticket at Bangkok Railway Station in Hua Lamphong ahead from the date you plan to have this trip. In my experience, I bought the ticket with the date not in my plan. The date I preferred had only two seats left and we were four so I buy the date with the available seats.
- Bring face mask. The train is fine however, you cannot avoid the dust inside the train.
- Bring more bottle of water while traveling, thirsty is real when you travel for many hours
- Bring sun protectors or wear hats or caps.
- Bring food. You can lay your mat while in Erawan Park and have a quick picnic at the park. You can even swim on the river.
If you have questions regarding my experience on this trip, please feel free to comment down.