Riding the Death Railway

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The two hour scenic journey along the notorious Thailand – Burma Death Railway from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok is a must do when in the area. Though the views are magnificent, it’s the history that makes the ride so special.  If you have the time, visit the Death Railway Museum in Kanchanaburi before making the trip.  This will give you a perspective for the huge loss of life and the extraordinary feat of engineering behind the Thailand – Burma Death Railway’s construction.

Bridge over the River Kwai

Bridge over the River Kwai - Kanchanaburi

Leaving Kanchanaburi via the Bridge over the River Kwai, the train winds through the Kwai Noi valley, stopping frequently at country stations. At Wang Sing, also known as Arrow Hill, the train squeezes through thirty-metre-deep solid rock cuttings, dug at the cost of numerous POW lives.  6km further, it slows to a crawl at the approach to the Wang Po viaduct, where a 300mt long trestle bridge clings to the cliff face as it curves with the Kwai Noi.  Almost every man who worked on this part of the railway died.

The station at the northern end of the trestle bridge is called Tham Krasae, after the cave that’s hollowed out of the rockface beside the bridge.  You can see the cave’s resident Buddha image from the RHS of the train. North of Tham Krasae, the train pulls in at Wang Po Station before continuing alongside a particularly lovely stretch of the Kwai Noi, its banks thick with jungle and not a raft house in sight. Thirty minutes later the train reaches the end of the line at Nam Tok.  Songthaews will be waiting here to take passengers on to the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum.

Wang Po Viaduct Kanchanaburi

Death Railway crossing the Wang Po viaduct

Alternatively, take the bus straight up to the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, just north of the line’s current Nam Tok terminus, which provides an equally illuminating introduction to the railway’s history, then return to Kanchanaburi by train.  Any bus going to Sangkla Buri will stop to let you off at the memorial museum..

 

Train schedule & prices

  • Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok:  5:57am, 10:50am and 4:19pm
  • Nam Tok to Kanchanaburi:  5.20am, 12.55pm and 3.15pm
  • Fare is 100 baht each way

No reservations are necessary, just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on.

 

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Updated: September 9, 2011 by admin

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