So on Friday 3rd Feb we set off at 7am and got the train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi - the town where bridge on the river Kwai is. We left our rucksacks with the hotel in Bangkok as we would be returning there, and it was lovely to just have a small bag for once! Train took 2.75 hours to get there and we found ourselves some cheap accommodation on the river in a hut 'VN Guesthouse'. We hired a scooter for 24 hours for a few pounds and Andrew drove us the 100 mile return trip to see Hell Fire Pass. Was quite a long journey on a scooter - we had sore bums and stretched faces by the time we got there! Free face lift for me I guess!
Hell Fire Pass gets its name from the hellish lights of the fires that the POW used when working at night to build Death Railway - its name comes from the 16000 Allied POW and 100,000 Asian laborers that dies while working on the train line. Was very sad to see and we walked around it listening to the audio commentary explaining it all. The workers at Hell Fire Pass had the near impossible job of breaking through masses of rock to build the railway and many died doing it. The railway took 15 months to complete and was 415km long to join Thailand and Burma so that Japan could have better links in the war. On the way back from the Pass we stopped off on the scooter at the River Kwai bridge which was good to see. It has made us want to watch the film when we get home! We walked across the bridge, which is till in use and there are wee platforms to stand on, out of the way when the train passes over as it is still a working bridge.
On the Saturday morning we visited the war cemetery in the town which was sad to look around and read the plaques of the soldiers who died. We saw a little poisonous snake on the pavement in the town today which was a bit scary…and then saw it get run over several times by cars and scooters when it slithered out onto the road, was awful! But I wasn't going to intervene and go and save it!
We enjoyed seeing the history here and learning more about the building of the awful Death Railway.