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Bridge on the River Kwai

  • Kanchanaburi
The Bridge over the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

“Bridge on the River Kwai.” There would be so few that do not know about this infamous place. The bridge is a part of the Thai-Burma Railway that has taken away numerous life of the Prisoner of War during World War II. Most of us know about the Death Railway and the tragedy it once brought thanks to the epic war film The Bridge on the River Kwai(1957).

Built during World War 2, the Japanese army has enlisted allied prisoners of war, including British, American, Australian, Dutch and New Zealand military, approximately 61,700 people, together with many Chinese laborers, Yuan, Java, Malay, Thai, Burmese, and India to build strategic railways. As a route to Myanmar in which one must cross the Kwai Yai River. Therefore, they have to build a bridge although the construction of this bridge and railway is full of difficulties. As a result, the cruelty of war and disease including food shortages causing tens of thousands of prisoners of war to die. About 7,000 POWs are buried at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, and around 2,000 in Chung Kai War Cemetery.

The Bridge over the River Kwai takes only 1 month to build, using the Malay steel to assemble into pieces. In the middle, it is made of 11 steel span bridges and the wooden frame bridge. There was an official opening on December 25, 1943. In November 1944, Bombs dropped by the Allied army destroyed the bridge. After the war ended The Thai government rebuilt the square iron in 1946 until it can be used. The bridge is now a symbol of peace.

Getting to Bridge on the River Kwai

By Train

Take the Thonburi – Nam Tok train (behind Siriraj Hospital), operates daily
Travel from Thon Buri Station 7.45 hrs. And 13.35 hrs. (Arrive at Kwai Yai Bridge, 10.55 hrs. And 16.26 hrs.)
Return trip from Saphan Kwai Yai Station, 7.12 hrs. And 14.36 hrs. (Arrive at Thonburi Station 10.00 hrs. And 17.35 hrs.)

Fares from Hua Lamphong Station

  • Normal car (3rd floor) 120 baht per person per trip (adults and children the same price)
  • Air-conditioned vehicle (2nd floor), 240 baht per person per trip (adults and children at the same price)

By Van/Bus

  • From the new Southern Bus Terminal, Bangkok – Kanchanaburi, takes about 2 hours with an air-conditioned bus from Bangkok – Kanchanaburi. Then get off at Kanchanaburi bus station
  • From Kanchanaburi transport, take the Kanchanaburi – Erawan bus or Kanchanaburi – Thong Pha Phum – Sangkhlaburi line. Get down at the junction to Bridge over the River Kwai. From there, ride a taxi-motorcycle for 700 meters.

Visit Bridge on the River Kwai by Kanchanaburi Private Tours

Tours to Bridge on the River Kwai

Photos of Bridge on the River Kwai