Postcards from Thailand #7: The Bridge over the River Kwai – Connecting the Death Railway

thai-kwaibridge-130412-0009.jpg: The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The fun train going over it
The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The fun train going over it

There is actually a river called Kwai. It’s in Thailand, at Kanchanaburi located 130 kms (81 miles) west of Bangkok. And there is a bridge over it that was built by the Japanese during World War II. And it was partially destroyed by Allied Forces. You can still see a part of the original, and the rest restored later. Real trains and ‘toy trains’ still run over it.

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The bridge was made famous in David Lean’s film, ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’ in 1957. While much of the real events were reconstructed in the flick, the silver screen version showed a wooden bridge whereas the present one is a metallic one. And the film was actually shot in Sri Lanka, not on the river Kwai.

The bridge was a part of what came to be called the 415 kms (259 miles) long Death Railway. Click here to read more about it.

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If you allow yourself not to think of the tragic events of the past, you cannot help admiring the picturesque setting of the bridge. Go on a cruise on the river over dinner in the evening. Or have lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the bridge.

Travel Tips:

* Check into one of the many resorts along the river for picturesque views of the Kwai and the surrounding mountainous landscape. There are some in Kanchanaburi overlooking the bridge.
* A ‘toy train’ big enough for people runs over the bridge for a joy ride a few times a day – take the trip.
* An old man is often seen playing the signature tune from the movie, ‘Bridge over the River Kwai.’ Go and sing along – and give him a tip.
* You may want to visit the River Kwai Bridge Festival held in late November or early December every year.
* Visit the ‘Thailand – Burma Railway Centre’ in Kanchanaburi. It is a well curated interactive museum about the Death Railway and the history of the same.
* Drop in at the War Cemetery across the Railway Centre with graves of British, Dutch and Australian soldiers who died during the War.

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thai-kwaibridge-130412-0017.jpg: The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: A musician playing the signature tune from David Lean’s classic film, “Bridge over the River Kwai.’ The fun train can be seen coming along.
The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: A musician playing the signature tune from David Lean’s classic film, “Bridge over the River Kwai.’ The fun train can be seen coming along.
thai-kwaibridge-130412-0033.jpg: The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The fun train after dropping passengers at the end of the day’s last journey, each lasting about 15 minutes
The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The fun train after dropping passengers at the end of the day’s last journey, each lasting about 15 minutes
thai-kwaibridge-130412-0043.jpg: The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The rounded metal arches were those built by the Japanese; the ones in the centre are restorations after the end of World War II
The Bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The rounded metal arches were those built by the Japanese; the ones in the centre are restorations after the end of World War II


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