THAILAND | The Death Railway Tour at Kanchanaburi | Lakad Pilipinas

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over The River Kwai

We really didn’t have any set plans for the Bangkok leg of our two-month Same Same Summer Trip. And our stay at the metropolis was even lengthened after rebooking our flight to Ho Chi Minh since we weren’t aware that we were only allowed twenty one days of free stay in Vietnam. So, with too much time on our hands, and since we’ve been to Bangkok countless times already, we thought of booking a tour to one its the nearby provinces, Kanchanaburi.

Death Railway Tour Train
INSIDE THE DEATH RAILWAY TRAIN IN KANCHANABURI

Why Kanchanaburi? Well, there really was no particular reason, it’s just that we booked our tour online via Klook, checking out the daytours they have coming from Bangkok. And Kanchanaburi’s daytour package [CHECK DISCOUNTED RATES], with a ride on the Death Railway, seemed to stand out. Anyways, we love train rides, so why not? Kanchanaburi it is!

Booking was easy enough. From the Klook website, it’s just a matter of inputting Bangkok on the search field, then from the list of general activities—Attractions & Shows, Tours & Sightseeing, Activities & Experiences, Food & Wellness, and Transport & WiFi—I chose the second one and browsed through the available tours. I clicked on the Kanchanaburi tour, signed in using my Facebook account, chose our date, then selected from the package options whether I would join a tour or a private group. I chose the former, since it’s cheaper by half, entered two persons joining, filled in my details and my credit card (they also have the option to pay via Paypal), and that’s it! Prices gets even cheaper if you have a promo code, which you can check on the site itself and the Klook Facebook page.

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall
CHECKING OUT A WATERFALL IS PART OF THE ITINERARY

We were fetched by our tour van from the posh lobby of Hilton Sukhumvit right on time. Call time was at six thirty in the morning, and they were there right on the appointed time. The van was comfy enough, and while it made the rounds to other hotels for other tour participants, we made the rounds on our take-away breakfast of fruits and bagels.

After about two hours of westward drive, we arrived at the third largest province in Thailand and headed right to our first stop.

 

KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY


The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery was a good overview of the Kanchanaburi Death Railway tour. On a well-manicured lawn lie 6,982 graves; World War II prisoners of war from Australia, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. All of them died from the construction of the infamous Burma Railway or the Death Railway by the Japanese Imperial Army.

The war cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the same organization who manages the American War Memorial in Taguig.

It was a somber first stop. We silently read the inscriptions on the cemetery entrance, imagining the bravery and horrors these men had to go through.

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

 

 

JEATH WAR MUSEUM


I thought I read it wrong, but yes, the second stop indeed starts with a J. The JEATH War Museum. It’s actually an acronym, meaning Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland—nationalities that were involved in the making of the Death Railway.

The museum depicts the inhumane condition during the construction of the railway that was meant to connect Thailand to Burma (present-day Myanmar) with life-sized dioramas and relics and implements from the period. From one of its view decks, you can actually see one of the more famous parts of the railway, the one popularized by the novel and movie, the Bridge Over the River Kwai.

The war museum is actually built inside the grounds of Wat Chai Chumpon Chana Songkhram, a Buddhist temple, and the whole complex is managed by monks who reside within. The temple can also be accessed by guests, its walls adorned by very detailed artwork depicting an ancient battle between the Thai and Burmese people.

Death Railway Tour JEATH War Museum

Death Railway Tour JEATH War Museum

Death Railway Tour JEATH War Museum

 

 

BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI


And just a hop away from the museum is the famous Bridge Over the River Kwai. It really isn’t a proper bridge and the river isn’t actually named Kwai, but that’s what stuck to people’s mind especially after the movie adaptation came out during the fifties.

The bridge is really part of the Death Railway, a rail spanning the Mae Klong River. The construction of the railway passes through most of the valley of the Khwae Noi River, and this was where the name River Kwai came from. Due to the popularity of the movie, the part of the Mae Klong River where the bridge spans was then renamed the Khwae Yai River. Talk about life imitating art.

The Japanese actually built two bridges across the river, the first one made out of wood in 1943, followed by a concrete and steel one they refer to as Bridge 227 four months later. Both of these were bombed by the Americans several times, and was rebuilt every time right after.

We were supposed to ride the actual train from this area, but the carriages were packed as soon as it chugged to a stop. The idea of standing on cramped non-air conditioned train for more than an hour wasn’t really our idea of fun, so we proceeded to lunch first, hoping to catch the train later that afternoon.

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over the River Kwai

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over the River Kwai

Death Railway Tour Bridge Over the River Kwai

 

 

LUNCH AND BAMBOO RAFTING


Lunch was on a riverside raft about an hour away from Bridge 227. The floating restaurant was actually still on the River Kwai. Our midday meal consisted of two servings of vegetables with chicken chunks, stir fried veggies, Thai omelet, and unlimited bowls of steamed white rice. Drinks were not included on the package, but the restaurant has beers, softdrinks, and bottled water for a reasonable price. Us, we have our drinking bottle with us.

A few minutes after finishing our lunch, we were herded towards a Thai longtail boat and were soon zooming across the tributary. We then transferred to a bamboo raft which slowly drifted back to the restaurant. Quite an ingenious and scenic way to rest after lunch, lol!

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Lunch River Rafting

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Lunch River Rafting

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Lunch River Rafting

 

 

ELEPHANT TREK


A quick drive away from the river, our van stopped on an elephant camp. A few of our tour friends went riding with the gentle giants while we waited on a shaded hut. I’m not really that keen on riding elephants, seeing firsthand how trainers bend their will to obey commands using cruel pointed steel goads. But if other people want their elephant rides, I really wouldn’t lecture them about it.

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Elephant Trek

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Elephant Trek

Death Railway Tour Kanchanaburi Elephant Trek

 

 

SAI YOK NOI WATERFALL


I was actually quite excited for the last part of our Kanchanaburi Tour (well, it was supposedly the last, were we able to board the train before lunch), a visit to a waterfalls!

Our van parked on a wide road beset on one side by stalls hawking all sorts of street food and fruits, then our driver pointed us to a park across the road. Sai Yok Noi Waterfalls is located at the Sai Yok National Park, and at first, I thought we’d have to hike or trek to get there. But it turns out, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the road where we parked!

The climb going to the cascade itself didn’t take two minutes, but we were disheartened to find it bone dry. Since we visited during the summer months and there were hardly any rains in the region, there wasn’t a single drop on the ten-meter waterfall.

But no matter, the park also has other attractions beside the falls. There are two caves in the area, Krasae and Dawadung Caves, the latter I heard has remarkable stalactite formations. The Death Railway also passes on the park and there’s even an actual station within. I actually thought that’s where we’re gonna ride the train from.

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Death Railway Tour Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

 

 

THE DEATH RAILWAY TRAIN RIDE


We waited for the rain to abate before proceeding to a train station about half an hour away from the waterfalls. And we were just in time.

A few saffron-robed monks were boarding as we alighted from our tour van, then the train whistle choo-chooed. It slowly chugged to life as soon as we sat on its uncushioned wooden benches. Excited, we each took a window-seat.

The train operates on the revived parts of the Thai-Burma Railway and passes along the tracks literally made with blood, sweat and tears by 60,000 war prisoners and 180,000 romusha or forced laborers. 106,000 of these died in the making of the railway we were passing on. These thoughts were on my mind as we passed through rocks blasted for the rail to pass through, rivers and ravines spanned by wooden and steel trestles.

Passengers started to get excited as we started to cross the Tham Kra Sae Overlook. It’s one of the most scenic parts of the Death Railway train ride, the tracks riding along a sheer rock face with an expansive serene river below. The train crawls slowly through the path, letting everyone take their photographs and selfies, before pushing to regular speed again.

Our accidentally missing the midday train ride turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was the perfect ride to cap our day in Kanchanaburi.

Death Railway Tour Train Ride

Death Railway Tour Train Ride

Death Railway Tour Train Ride

 

 

Kanchanaburi Death Railway Tour
Address: Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand
Duration: Whole Day
Inclusion: Air-Conditioned Van, Guide, National Park Entrance,
               All Admission Fees, Lunch, Hotel Pick-Up & Drop-Off
Package Options: Join in Tour | Private Group 2-3 Persons | Private Group 4+ Persons
Free Pickup: Sukhumvit 24, Siam, Silom, Sathorn, Pratunam and Khao San
►► BOOK THE TOUR ONLINE

THIS POST IS MADE POSSIBLE BY KLOOK. VIEWS AND OPINIONS, ALL MINE.






Posted by Christian Sangoyo on Sunday, July 9, 2017

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