Have you heard about the infamous River Kwai Bridge before? It first rose to prominence with the success of the Academy Award-winning film “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. Despite the widespread belief of it being the actual bridge from the film, the River Kwai Bridge in Thailand merely served as inspiration with regards to the history behind the construction of the Death Railway by Prisoners of War (POWs). A visit to the bridge itself will leave you in awe from not only the exquisite views of nature but of the immeasurable amount of work and difficulty POWs would have had to put into building the structure.
So, head out on one of our top 6 River Kwai Tours – Nature Trail or History Walk – to discover the past behind Thailand!
Here’s an overview of our top 6 River Kwai tours. 🌉
Guide to Tour Spots
Straight out of a fairytale lies a seven-tier waterfall with waters of aquamarine blue and cascading waterfalls in the heart of Thailand. This great scene of beauty goes by the name ‘Erawan Falls’, after the three-headed Hindu god. Dubbed one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand, it is a sight that draws no parallels, even to the clear blue oceans off the southern coast. Imagine taking a refreshing dip into these waters and basking in its grandeur.
The name, Death Railway, itself does not conjure up happy thoughts. Known for its terrible tragic past, the Burma Railway as it is known officially was tagged the Death Railway after the many deaths that occurred during its construction. During WWII when the Japanese took over Kanchanaburi, they captured hundreds and thousands of POWs to build it and under such brutal working conditions, led to their deaths. Now, it serves as a reminder of this atrocity and offers us a window into the past.
Titled ‘The Venice of the East’, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is arguably the most famous floating market in Bangkok and Thailand. However, here, you don’t have gondolas gliding through the narrow khlongs (canals). Traditional wooden long-tail boats will take you around the market instead. Experience the culture of Thailand first-hand and enjoy some delicious local foods while you’re at it!
Tours that include Damnoen Saduak Floating Market: 3️⃣
Hellfire Pass with a name so formidable is named aptly so. The Hellfire Pass is part of the infamous Death Railway, a 25m-deep and 75m-long cutting into a mountain, built by hundreds of POWs under forced labor. The 6-week construction took the lives of many prisoners who had to work under brutal conditions rain or shine. The sight of the malnourished prisoners laboring at night is said to have resembled a scene from Hell which is where it gets its name from. Despite the truly shocking story behind it, a trip to Hellfire Pass will better help you with understanding the history of Thailand.
The JEATH Museum is a war museum located near the River Kwai Bridge, about the POWs that built the Death Railway under the command of the Japanese. JEATH is an acronym for the nationalities involved in this tragic ordeal: Japanese, English, Australian/American, Thai and Holland. The museum displays a collection of items from the war such as weapons, uniforms and even a bomb that didn’t go off. The JEATH Museum provides an insight into what POWs had to go through, even to a certain extent.
Located just a few minutes from Kanchanaburi Railway Station is one of Kanchanaburi’s two war cemeteries. At Kanchanaburi War Cemetery lies the bodies of 6,982 POWs of WWII who died during the construction of the Death Railway, most of them Australians, British and Dutch.
Tours that include Kanchanaburi War Cemetery: 6️⃣
1. Top 6 River Kwai Tours: Adventure Trail
Depart for Erawan National Park for a sight to behold! Be amazed at the beauty of Erawan Falls and go a swim in the clear blue waters. After that, enjoy some much-needed lunch right next to it and take in the picturesque views of the waterfall. Finally, head for the River Kwai Bridge and learn about the tragic story behind it.
Start your day off with a trip to Erawan National Park to witness the majestic Erawan Falls with its cascading waterfalls and aquamarine waters. Take a dip in the cool waters to refresh yourselves and have some lunch before heading to the famed Death Railway. Take a ride on the historical Death Railway and visit the historic River Kwai Bridge to discover the dark past behind it!
Begin the tour by departing for the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Take a ride in a paddleboat along the khlongs and discover the many things the market has to offer. Afterwards, head over to Erawan National Park for a swim in Erawan Falls and enjoy a meal with an exquisite view. Then, finish the day off with a trip to River Kwai Bridge. Walk across the infamous bridge and discover the stories about it.
Head out on your own private Kanchanaburi tour! Choose where to go and what to see in Kanchanaburi with your own driver who will take you there. We recommend you visit the Death Railway and River Kwai Bridge. Maybe enjoy a cruise or jet ski across the river too? You can visit Erawan Falls and the notorious Hellfire Pass for an additional fee too! The great thing about this tour is that there is no rush to leave and get to the next destination. With a flexible schedule, explore Kanchanaburi at your own convenience.
2. Top 6 River Kwai Tours: History Walk
If you want to learn about the history of Thailand this is a great way to take that first step. Begin with a visit to River Kwai Bridge and JEATH Museum to understand the tragic past of the many POWs who met their tragic end while working on the Death Railway. After that, take a ride on the Death Railway itself. Have some lunch before heading to the Hellfire Pass and see the harsh environment POWs had to work in.
If you’re looking for the ultimate Kanchanaburi day tours, this is it! Pay your respects to the POWs of WWII who were met with a tragic death at Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Afterwards, head to the JEATH Museum to learn about the history behind the POWs and the construction of the Death Railway. Then, visit the infamous River Kwai Bridge before heading to Krasae Cave, a small cave on the Death Railway built by POWs. Finally, finish off the tour with a delicious lunch at a Thai restaurant!
Which do you prefer – the Natural Trail or History Walk? Pick one of your choosing and head out on one our awesome River Kwai tours!
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