Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 1, 2012

2011, DEC 27: THAILAND, KANCHANABURI-Bridge on the River Kwai

This morning we left our hotel at 4:30 a.m. for a day-long guided excursion to the River Kwai Bridge, Tiger Temple, and the Wangpho Elephant Camp, all near Kanchanaburi, about 3-hour drive from Bangkok.

Our first stop was the River Kwai Bridge. The bridge was made famous by the 1957 movie, “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” starring William Holden, Alec Guinness and others. The movie, a fictional account of the World War II activity in the area, was actually shot in Sri Lanka.

In order to move men and supplies to Burma for an invasion of India, and therefore, to link Thailand with Burma, the Japanese had brought the bridge from Java.

The railroad track, large parts of which traversed very difficult terrain, was laid entirely manually by the Allied Prisoners of War. About 13,000 prisoners, who died during its construction, were buried along the track, and hence, it became known as the “Death Railway.”

The bridge spans over the Mae Klong River not Kwai River. But because of the fame and
tourists the movie brought here, the river has been renamed “the Kwae Yai (Big Kwae).”

The bridge was frequently targeted by the Allied bombing raids during the Word War II. A bombing raid on June 24, 1945, successfully put it out of commission. Parts of the bridge are on display in a nearby museum. The bridge, however, has since been restored by the Thai government and is still in use.

Every year, River Kwai Bridge Festival is held to mark the allied bombing of the Bridge on November 28, 1944. The highlight of the festival is a spectacular light and sound show.

On the other side the river, there is a War Cemetery, a War Museum, a temple including huts which housed the Allied POW’s.

On this side are floating ramps and restaurants and shops. Also under a tree is a small shrine

After some group pictures and witnessing the sunrise, we boarded our van for the Tiger Temple.

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