This steel bridge is one of important historical landmarks and memorials in Thailand. It is almost a symbol of the province and is a recommended place in Kanchanaburi travel guide. The history of the bridge is well known, as it was part of the railway lines in World War II and had seen its share of conflict and bloodshed. After World War II, the damaged bridge was renovated by the Thai government in 1946. The Bridge of the River Kwai Memorial Week is held during late November to early December every year, where there is an exhibition about World War II and the history and archaeology of the bridge. Folk performances, local goods markets, and other entertainment are also scheduled at the event.
Situated not far from the bridge is Don Rak or Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, another important World War II-related place as it is where remains of the prisoners of war who had died while building the railway were buried.
The JEATH War Museum is a war museum in Thailand about the Death Railway built from 1942 to 1943 by Allied POWs under the direction of the Japanese, a part of the Thai-Burma railways.
The museum was founded in 1977 by the chief abbot of Wat Chaichumpol Venerable Phra Theppanyasuthee. It is located on the grounds of a temple at the junction of the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi rivers in Kanchanaburi and it is a part of the famous The Bridge over the River Kwaisaga.
The acronym JEATH stands for the primary nationalities involved in the construction of the railway: Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland.
The museum is divided into two sections, one depicting the construction of the Death Railway which is meant to recreate the quarters used by Allied POWs, and the other consisting of reconstructed bamboo huts containing such items as paintings, drawings and photos of and by former prisoners, weapons, tools, and maps.
Tourist photos are not permitted in Section I of the museum.
The Death Railway was built during World War II by the labor of the war prisoner and the Asian labor forced by the Japanese troop. During that time, Thailand was the alliance of Japan and also gave a big support to the Japanese army. The Death Railway was a route to pass Myanmar and to invade India. Japan was aware that by using the sea troop to fight with England, their armies would be attacked by the alliances. From this reason, they decided to build this railway. The railway was named after the event in the history. There is a saying that the numbers of the railway is equal to the numbers of the death labor used to build this railway.
The Death Railway starts from Nong Pladuk station, Amphur Baanpong, Ratchaburi to Kanchanaburi crossing the Kwai Yai River to the west, passing Chedi Sam-Ong to the destination at Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar, which is 415 kilometers altogether with 37 stops. This railway was completed on 25th October 1943. During the building period, there were many labors who sacrificed their lives with sickness and by the torturing of the Japanese army. The bridge here was named River Kwai Bridge. This construction built a big motivation for the Japanese armies and also a big scar in the labors’ heart. The history was still unforgettable among the people’s heart.
Nowadays, the Death Railway was opened for the tourists to visit. However, there are some parts that were deserted since Japan lost the war. The State Railway of Thailand has offered the Thonburi-Namtok line for the tourists who wish to visit this place and a special line Bangkok-Namtok on the weekends and holidays. The most popular point is the River Kwai Bridge and the Krasae Cave, which is a curve bridge that follows the bank of Kwai Noi River. The train stops at Krasae Cave at 1:30 p.m. The tourists can travel in advance in order to be on time to see the picture of the train arriving at this station.
Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, known by local residence as Nam Tok Khao Pung, has been widely famous for a long time. The name Khao Pung which means crumbled mountain derived from the natural occurrence of the waterfall: eroded limestone cliffs became steeps that descended down in many levels to the foothills. Water comes from top of the mountain flowing down small waterways and finally falls down to the 15 metres high limestone crag. Freely gliding water on slopes of the hill under peaceful shades of various kinds of trees together with some reeds growing along the waterside and cool breeze is such a breathtaking beauty. All in all, Sai Yok Noi waterfall gives wonderful impressions especially on nature lovers so it attracts great numbers of tourists annually.
The immediate vicinity features several sites of interest including the Krasae Cave, a small Buddhist shrine next to a section of rail tracksof the Death Railway and, to the west, Dawadung Cave, a secluded collection of stalactites. Hellfire Pass Memorial, a museum and tribute to those lost during the construction of the Death Railway and trestle bridges, lies about 35 km to the west of Sai Yok Noi falls. A small market geared toward travellers is also nearby. Sai Yok Yai waterfall, some 40 km to the west lies offset from the main road, adjacent to the Sai Yok National Park Headquarters. It comprises a 10-metre (32 ft) picturesque cascade which drops directly into the Kwae Noi River.