More than 100.000 people died in building The Death Railway (also known as The Burma Railway). Mostly Asian forced workers but also more than 12.000 POW’s (Prisoner of war workers) mostly British, Dutch and Australians. The railway was build by the Japanese to avoid the sea way to Burma with the purpose of carrying freight from Bangkok to Burma. Read much more on Wiki.
In 1957 the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai directed by David Lean was released. Not that the history of the railway and the 100.000 lives isn’t interesting but because of that movie Kanchanaburi is today a goal for tourist in Thailand. With only 125 km to Bangkok it is reachable and with tiger temple etc. in the surrounding area The Bridge on the River Kwai have made Kanchanaburi a tourist attraction.
That is clearly walking over the bridge if possible. Selfie sticks is all over and you have to step around a lot of people smiling, blinking and doing the fish mouth to their phone on the end of the stick just to get across.
So what about this bridge? Is it fantastic? Well – it’s nice, it got history and the surroundings are beautiful. Is it worth going 125 km from Bangkok to see. No – I guess not. Fortunately I was only 30 km away so it would be stupid not to go and a one day trip from Bangkok including the bridge, Erawan National Park and the tiger temple would seem reasonable.
The Bridge crossing the river Kwai is in my humble opinion only an attraction because of a 1957 movie. Not because of the horror behind the story. Is that sad? No not at all. A lot of people visit one of the war museums in town an everybody learns something on their vacation. That’s just perfect. Do I like big tourist attractions? No I don’t so a little advise when visiting the bridge. Cross it and walk down to the temple on the other side. Preferable late afternoon around 4 pm. You could be lucky to get some alone time looking at the bridge from the other side and since it is symmetric the angel doesn’t matter and maybe you’re lucky that the train comes along just as I were and instead of jumping to the side on the bridge you can just enjoy the train slowly crossing the bridge from the distance and think about all the tonnes of freight that have been crossing during the World War II and all the lives wasted.