The iconic Bridge on the River Kwai is part of the world’s collective historical memory. The site of many POW’s deaths during World War II, it is now the site of the JEATH War Museum and is close to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
The bridge that spans the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi forms part of the notorious Burma Railway, a rail link between Bangkok and Myanmar that was built during the Japanese occupation of Thailand in the Second World War. The railway was built by Allied prisoners of war, and over 10,000 died of starvation, overwork, and terrible living conditions in the process. Over 90,000 local forced labourers also died during the construction.
The bridge is still a functioning rail link, and trains cross regularly on their journey to and from Bangkok. Take a train across the bridge, and visit the adjacent war museum, which examines the atrocities; to get a deeper look at the bridge’s history, join a guided tour of the area.Things to know before you go
How to get there
- Exploring the area around the bridge and the train ride may both prove challenging to people with limited mobility.
- If you’re visiting the cemetery, remember that you are in a place of quiet contemplation.
- You can combine a train trip with a visit to the museum for a single price by joining a pre-booked tour.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is located in Kanchanaburi Province. The site is accessible by train from Bangkok or as part of a guided tour that includes transportation. Alternatively, you can drive a hire car from Bangkok, which is about 80 miles (128 km) away.When to get there
The railway station and museum are open all year round. The best time of year to visit Thailand is from November to March, when the weather is generally dry and relatively cool. Swim in the Waterfalls at Erawan
Many trips to see the Kwai bridge include a visit to the beautiful Erawan Waterfalls in Erawan National Park. This 7-tiered waterfall is considered one of the most beautiful in Thailand; cool off by climbing the natural rock steps and swimming in the pristine pools at the base of the falls.