A visit to Kanchanburi is a must do activity for tourists to Thailand, interested in the history of Second World War. The city is located seventy-five miles to the west of Bangkok and has a number of monuments and attractions that introduce the visitors to the history of the Thailand.
The picturesque city of Kanchanburi has many secrets of the past. A visit to the Death Railway or The Burma Railway is a must in the Kanchanburi itinerary. The Railway line was constructed during the Second World War. The Japanese forces used prisoners of war accumulated during the world war and Asian slaves as labourers for the construction of the Railway line.
The Thai – Burma Railway connected Bangkok to Burma and passed through the rugged mountains of Kanchanburi. The prisoners of war were used to make gigantic cuttings to enable the train to pass through the mountains. The railway is also known as Death Railway because of the countless number of lives lost during the construction. The labourers were made to work for sixteen to eighteen hours a day with little food and water. Most of the labourers died because of the hot weather, starvation and disease. Japanese army also carried out executions of the war prisoners at the site. The construction stopped after the end of the war, and the prisoners were rescued.
The Thai government destroyed most of the parts of the Death Railway. The existing portions of The Burma Railway in Kanchanburiare converted into national memorial by the Thai government. The Australian Government maintains Hellfire Pass Museum in Kanchanburi that informs the visitors about the history of Death railway and the various crimes committed by the army.
The museum also organizes guided tours of the Burma Railway for the interested visitors. The tour takes you through the original rock cuttings on the railway line, including the biggest cutting Hellfire Pass. Tourists can also trek along the railway line to get magnificent views of the valley and also see the Burmese border.
Apart from The Burma Railway, tourists can also visit a number of attractions in Kanchanburi. The River Kwai Bridge, Kanchanburi War Cemetery, Ride on Death Railway and the JEATH museum are some of the other attractions in the city that are related to the Second World War.