Kanchanaburi  & the Mai Klong River

Thailand Map | Home Bridge On The River Kwai  

The bridge was part of the infamous Death Railway built in 1942-43 by prisoners of war and local labour under Japanese occupation.  The curved spans are original, the angular spans in the middle were rebuilt by the Japanese as war reparation after they were bombed out by the allies at the end of the Second World War. Pedestrians and motorbikes are now the main traffic over the bridge

Three trains per day make a slow crossing of the bridge.   Anyone walking across at the time takes refuge beside the track


It is estimated that of 30,000 POWs and over a 100,000 civilians in forced labour, 16,000 POWs and almost all the civilians died due to beatings, starvation, sickness and exhaustion in the building of the Railway, 6982 of those allied soldiers are buried here in this beautifully maintained cemetery

Close by is the JEATH Museum, where original photographs and artefacts associated with  the building of the railway are housed in replica bamboo POW huts. The name commemorates the main countries involved.   Japan,  England, Australia, Thailand and Holland

It is New Years Eve and we are to spend the next 2 days on a river raft cruising the River Kwai  With the amazing Mr. Sun Ya Rux.  High school chemistry teacher, entrepreneur, dare devil, comedian and superb host


Some of the rafts are very intricate and resemble small villages but they are not motorized and have to be towed down the river

This apparently is a traditional albeit forbidden pastime when cruising the Kwai.  You clamber from raft to bridge then drop into the water and the tow boat picks you up 

Sun Ya couldn't join in as he had broken his arm in a motorcycle accident but he directed enthusiastically from the top deck of his raft


From this tiny kitchen one cook brought forth a magnificent spread.  There were 11 dishes for our New Years Eve feast.  It was some of the best food we had on the whole of our trip













 We danced and played games until we were exhausted.  Then drifted off to find a quieter and darker spot to unroll our sleeping bags and fall asleep under the stars


We awoke the next morning on the Mai Klong River 20km SE of Kanchanaburi to find a temple complex off our port bow.  There are two distinct temples here. The Chinese temple and pagoda of Wat Tham Khao Noi   ( Little Hill Cave Monastery) and the Thai Chedi of Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Monastery)

Wat Tham Khao Noi


The Chinese community temple and pagoda were complete but the Thai buildings were still under construction.  The sides of the massive mosaic Buddha were covered in scaffolding.  A conveyor belt carries donations to the alms bowl in the Buddha's lap

 In The body of The Naga -  Wat Ban Tham

Wat Ban Tham temple complex on the Mai Klong River, also under construction in 1992, the balustrades with rebar awaited the installation of Nagas.  A monk ascends through the dragons body to a series of caves which contain images of the Buddha
















  The temple and dragon steps then  - and now
 Thanks to Guy Jonsson from Lapland for this image
















Cave Temple of the Golden Dragon  

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