Thailand Adventure Tour – Kwai River

Kwai River Adventure

famous bridges in SE Asia,

Bridge on the River Kwai – this bridge has been rebuilt since the War and looks like it is kept in good shape as you can see.

Kwai River – Travel Feature

Kwai River – History of the building of the railroad of the Kwai River

Kwai River is located deep in the thick jungle of the Eastern part of Thailand. Another name they call this historic railroad is “The Death Railway” dating back to WW 2. This is the Kwai River Story, but could easily be called the River of Beauty and Death

This story is Written for both Travelers who want to go to the Kwai River and the Arm Chair Travelers.

Kwai River is one of the most popular and interesting tours in Thailand. Ride the train from Bangkok to see the Bridge on the River Kwai and visit the memorial sites to see what happened here years ago. From Bangkok you can be on the bridge in a few hours. You can elect to come back to Bangkok by late afternoon for a one day tour but many people stay longer. When you see this historic area its easy to spend 3 to 5 days here and explore all the history and attractions.

How to Get There

Thonburi Train Depot at Bangkok will take you to the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi

Train Schedule at Thonburi Station Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

Tracks along the Kwai River, Thailand Adventure Tour - River Kwai,

One of many overpasses with a view of the River Kwai in the background.

The Story of the Kwai River

Toward the end of World War 2 the Japanese needed to resupply their troops and building a railway was their plan; they were desperate and their resources were running low during a time when they were losing the war. Building this railroad was a better way to get supplies to Burma rather than by sea because of enemy ships. The Japanese decided to use prisoners of war from Australia, Great Britton, Burma and Thailand to clear a path and build bridges.

Today, there are several memorials to honor the prisoners who died here. These memorials are a reminder of the struggles and brutal treatment the prisoners endured. River Kwai his still functioning railway along the Kwai River. The Japanese were desperate!

River Kwai Work Camps, Map of River Kwai,

Each yellow triangle you see is a labor camp. This is a large area and there were many miles of track laid, passes made and bridges built.

Scenic view of the River Kwai, Kwai River,

Scenic view of the Kwai River which is past the famous Bridge on the way to Hellfire Pass.

Train to the Famous Bridge Over the Kwai River Part l

Local Thai’s Ride the Train

Kwai River lies in the eastern part of Thailand, close to the Burma border. The train today does not cross into Burma, but the train tracks go over a large geographic area in eastern Thailand. The main reason travelers ride the train today to this area is to see and learn about this historic area. Many people also ride the train that are native to Thailand and live in the area, or come to visit their relatives. Locals also go to Bangkok by train for many reasons whether its to shop, repair something or even go to school in Bangkok. We begin by boarding the train at Bangkok and riding it to Kanchanaburi where we will get off before boarding again to crossing the river (video). 

Train Station in Bangkok, River Kwai Story, A Place in History - Story of River Kwai

Train Station in Bangkok – the green building houses a market and the left side is where the trains come and go.

People waiting for the train, Kwai River,

Train station, ticket office and small snack shack

Boarding the train, Kwai River,

Boarding the train for the River Kwai and Hell Fire Pass

The Train Leaves the Station

The following photographs were taken from windows on both sides of the train. The terrain varies and on each side. On the south side you see few small towns, crops, and empty spaces, while on the north side more farming, and small mountains in the not too far off distance; some of the landscape is beautiful, sometimes not, run down shacks here and there but a few nice homes too.

Vendors outside of Bangkok Train Station, Kwai River

On our way, riding the train from Bangkok Train Station.

Viewing a rainbow off in the distance from a storm on the way to the River Kwai Bridge

Viewing a rainbow in the distance from a storm on the way to the River Kwai Bridge.  (Sitting on the seat with window facing the south side.)

Thailand Adventure Tour - River Kwai

Not far out of Bangkok there are houses hidden close to the water. Thailand has many canals and rivers.

row houses Thailand, Thailand Adventure Tour - River Kwai,

A scene from my train window.

This video (below) begins after stopping at a small station before we get to the river area and Kanchanaburi. 

River Kwai Story, Thailand Adventure Tour - River Kwai,

Kwai-train-scenes from the Train windows. Sitting on the seat with window facing the north side.

There are many small train loading areas all along the way.

There are many small train loading areas all along the way. Sitting on the seat with window facing the south side.

Small towns and open land from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi.

Kwai-small-town-train station-

Small town train station between River Kwai and Bangkok

Getting Close to the Bridge On the River Kwai

Now we are close to the Bridge and the scenery changes (the video below) and you get a feel of what the prisoners had to do to build this railroad. This is just the beginning of what they had to endure.

Author: TL

Editor & Chief, professional photographer who’s passionate about fine arts, travel and food photography. Traveling in SE Asia currently. Thomas Levine Photography sells photo stock, products designed with his images, and educates others on how to take great photographs. Travel Food & Health is Tom’s way of sharing the world. Geared for both travelers or arm chair travelers.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the article.
    It is a sad place in history, but people should visit the sites to remember that this cruel things never happen again.

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    • It’s a beautiful but wild area and not a good place for these prisoners to endure what they did. Thank you for the comment Ursula.

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