Take a walk over this historic landmark,which has become the symbol of the infamous Thailand-Burma railway.
Justupriver from Kanchanaburi stands a rather ordinary looking bridge that hasbecome a national landmark. Made world-famous by the 1957 Hollywood film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, thisconcrete and steel bridge is still in use today, serving as a vital transportconnection and link to the past.
Twobridges, one wooden, one steel, were built here in 1943 by local laborers andAllied prisoners of war. These bridges were part of the Japanese “DeathRailway” from Thailand to Burma, so-called because its construction led to thedeaths of more than 100,000 men due to accidents, brutality and starvation.
In1945, Allied bombs destroyed the two bridges. The bridge that stands today onceagain lets trains cross the Kwai Yai River. Take a train over the bridge fromthe station on the east bank, or walk along the path that has been built on thesides of the bridge and enjoy the views.
Strangely,the bridge was not originally over the River Kwai, but over the Mae Klong River.The film The Bridge on the River Kwai,though loosely based on the story of this bridge, was made under the mistakenimpression that the bridge passed over the River Kwai. When the film gainedinternational popularity, Thailand decided to change the name of the river, sothat it would have a bridge on the River Kwai, after all.
Today,the bridge is a major tourist attraction, with many restaurants and shopsnearby. To see more of the winding Kwai Yai River, take a boat tour with one ofthe many local operators.
Theeasiest way to reach the bridge from Kanchanaburi is by train, taxi or bicycle.Admission to the Bridge Over the River Kwai is free.