The World War 2 Museum in Kanchanaburi

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The Bridge on the River Kwai was a famous movie made in 1957 detailing the events surrounding the Thai-Burmese railway being built by the Japanese during World War 2. I remember seeing this movie on television as a child, but it wasn't until I visited Kanchanaburi that I understood its significance.

Go to any guesthouse in the Kanchanaburi locale and you will find a large posters and information books listing activities and prices for day trips to visit some of the only World War 2 memorabilia in Thailand. For a very reasonable cost, you will be transported directly from your Kanchanaburi hotel to a piece of history.

Some tours half and half days involving tours of other favourite Thai and tourist locations such as Erawan National Park before heading for World War 2 submerged afternoon. Be aware that the experience can be overwhelming, especially for those somehow affected by World War 2 directly or indirectly. Those that had family members in the war may want to take extra time to explore history and impending emotions surrounding the controversial and divisive past. If you choose to skip the Erawan National Park portion of your journey, you can opt for a full-day tour of the World War 2 museum and historical counterparts or simply rent a car at one of the many day hire places and take a stunning drive through the Thai countryside.

Roads leading to Thai tourist destinations tend to be relatively easy to navigate. In an effort to increase and support the Thai tourism industry, the Tourism Authority of Thailand has spent quite a lot of money in developing the infrastructure of tourist destinations, even when other parts of the country go to the pits. Maps are also available in English though you will need to be cautious in the roads as motorcycles can often get caught in blind spots and disorient the driver. Some road rules also differ that the West, though the main problem being that Thai drivers sometimes don't abide by the rules at all. Be particularly careful at cross streets and traffic lights where right of way does not always equal right to drive. Please make sure that your car is fully insured. On the plus side, renting a car or perhaps a personal driver for a very reasonable cost, will give you more time to explore as well as give full attention to loved ones.

To start you will want to head to the World War 2 history museum. Developed with the help of the Tourism Authority of Thailand as well as benefactors from families involved in World War 2, this mature and handsome museum offers a peek into what it was like to be a Prisoner of War during World War 2. Historical and well-preserved photographs line the walls, as do genuine artifacts such as ankle cuffs and work tools. There is even a documentary played for each visit to help inform today's generation of the gruesome details of the World's sordid past.

Following the video you will be guided down to winding hillside path, which leads to Hellfire Pass, also known as Konyu Cutting. This was an unfinished portion of the Burma-Siam Death railway where many men lost their lives and suffered severe injuries from torture and endless days of work in spite of cankerous sores covering their bodies. Many died of sepsis; a blood infection from unhealed wounds. Many were also murdered by Japanese camp officers for being weakened and failing to comply with work demands. The dirt solid tunnel is haunting, especially as a quick wind sweeps through what is normally a peaceful and stunning mountainside.

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Lek Boonlert has 1 articles online

Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Kanchanaburi Hotels content.

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The World War 2 Museum in Kanchanaburi

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This article was published on 2010/10/20