Wednesday Wish List-Bridge on the River Kwai

While it’s not a destination most people are familiar with let alone would want to visit, Kanchanaburi is one that I would. It’s a small city in Thailand that lies on the River Kwae or in English, the River Kwai. The city was forever etched into history when it became the site of a single-track rail bridge, one that was built under the Japanese occupation during World War II by Allied prisoners of war. (The Japanese had ardently desired to link Burma and Thailand.) Thousands of prisoners lost their lives during its construction, so many in fact that it became known as the Death Railway. Although the original wooden bridge no longer exists, visitors including former prisoners of war who survived, pay their respects at an iron bridge that was built around the same time.


Other area World War II attractions include the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery which is the final resting spot to around 7,000 prisoners of war who lost their lives in the railway construction.


Hellfire Pass (also known as Konyu Cutting) is an area of the jungle that prisoners of war and Asian laborers were forced to cut and blast through rock by hand in order to clear it for the railway. The jungle has since reclaimed the land but today it is the site of a war memorial that was funded by the Australian government. Visitors here have the option of listening to oral histories through audio headphones when walking through which is said to be an incredible experience.


I have no personal connection to the Death Railway, but my grandfather’s brother fought in the South Pacific during World War II. And so to see a part of the world that was connected to the unimaginable horrors of the war in the Pacific Theater I feel would be an unforgettable experience.

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  • Reply
    Katie @katieinprague
    August 2, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I loved the movie The Bridge Over the River Kwai growing up, and I think it’s because of that I really want to see Kanchanaburi. I’m really trying to work a trip in while we’re still in Asia.

  • Reply
    the red headed traveler
    August 2, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I love the movie although I’m anxious to read the novel it was adapted from. While a trip to Thailand is a bit down the road I would definitely want to include Kanchanaburi. I’m crazily obsessed with visiting sites associated with wars.

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