“The Bridge on the River Kwai” is a 1957 British World War II film that was based on the French novel written in 1952 by Pierre Boulle. Considered one of the best films of all time, it’s mostly fictional film plot is based on the building of a railway bridge over the Mae Klong.
The bridge was built by the Japanese, who used Allied prisoners of war in order to construct the railway. Many of the prisoners working on the bridge died as a result of the terrible conditions they had to endure. This is why the railway is known as the “Death Railway”.
During your travels in Thailand, you can visit the famous Bridge on the River Kwai, which is located near the town of Kanchanaburi – near the Myanmar border. It is possible to see the bridge on a day trip from Bangkok.
How to Get There
Kanchanaburi is located 128km west of Bangkok and there are buses that will take you from the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal. The first class buses cost 110 baht and leave every 15 minutes. The 2nd class buses leave every 20 minutes and they cost 95 baht. The bus will take approximately 2 to 3 hours.
There are also tourist trains that travel from Thonburi Train Station at 7:50 am or 1:55pm. You can buy a ticket all the way to the River Kwai Bridge, as these are the only trains that actually cross the bridge. The fare is 100 baht. Many tourists prefer this option, as you are travelling on the historic Death Railway itself. The trains are comfortable and clean and they offer lovely views of the Thai countryside. There will also be vendors walking up and down the aisles selling fruit, food and soft drinks.
What Else Is There to See?
When you arrive in Kanchanaburi, what else can you see during your visit after checking out the bridge? Here are a few more great attractions to visit in the area:
- Take a look at the Allied war cemeteries in the main town of Kanchanaburi.
- See the Wampo Viaduct, which was also built by prisoners of war and is in regular use by passenger trains.
- Take a walk along Hellfire Pass, which was once a section of track that has now been cleared as a memorial. There is a museum and a self-guided walking tour available.
- Visit the Thailand- Burma Railway Centre, which has an interesting exhibit about the Death Railway and its history.
- The area northwest of Kanchanaburi is known for its natural beauty and there are many waterfalls, lakes, caves and hiking trails to enjoy.
If you feel like you need more than a day trip to explore Kanchanaburi and the surrounding region, there are many guesthouses where you can stay overnight.
Have you been to the Bridge on the River Kwai? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.
photo credit: Global Goose Travel