The popularity of

The Bridge of The River Kwai over time

The Bridge of The River Kwai

The Bridge of the River Kwai is no ordinary bridge, telling the dramatic tale of World War ll; this historical landmark commemorates the part of the life-altering history of the world and serves as a memorial for those who lost their lives in the ruthless World War ll.

This black iron bridge is located in Kanchanaburi and is very popular amongst the Thai locals and travelers. The bridge is the extension to the death railway line and stretches to the hellfire pass. Having its fair share of bloodshed, tears, pain, and suffering, this bridge was renovated over the years to pay homage to those who lost their lives and the survivor of the World War. The first-ever renovation tool place in 1946 by the Thai government.

In fact, every year from late November till early December, The Bridge of the River Kwai Memorial Week is held, where tributes are paid, history is exhibited, accompanies by many folk performances and other entertainment options. The memorial week also has a local goods market that sells souvenirs relating to the history of the bridge.

The event highlights the importance of this landmark and the history to the Thai people; hence despite having such a tragic tale associated with the bridge, they find the good, the positive in it and celebrates the win, the survivors, and the idea/fact that they are at peace today.


The Bridge of the River Kwai


The Bridge of The River Kwai in 1942

The history of the bridge of the river Kwai dates back to 1942 when Japan seized Myanmar from the control of the British army and swiftly worked towards building a railway network linking to Thailand. Their idea was to have a secure supply route from their forces away from the absurdity happening around. However, in an attempt to prevent the absurdity, they inflicted pain, torture, and absurdity on the allied prisoners of war. Since because of the Allied Submarines, the obvious route via Sea was hard to use without causing bloodshed; hence the alternative was the rail link.

The route Japan opted for connecting the bridge of the River Kwai with was initially rejected by the British in the early 20th century. They were discouraged from building a railway track there as jungle, numerous rivers heavily occupied the area, and the heavy rains in that area followed by diseases made the conditions un-ideal. However, on the other hand, the Japanese had no concern about the condition and worked towards building the link as it was an important part of their campaign during the war.

After inspecting the sites and getting the proper know-how of the areas from the Japanese engineers, the construction started in September in the year 1942. The estimated time given for the link to establish five years, however since at both ends of the route, the construction started simultaneously, on almost 16 months, both the construction met in Kanchanaburi Province (today, the bridge of the River Kwai is considered the landmark of the province).

The Japanese's determination and goal orientation made the construction happen way earlier than expected despite using force labors who were demotivated and were only give one hand tool to work with. They had to cut large rocks to make way for the rail to pass. The forced labor included local slaves and Allied POWs. These laborers were forced to do work 18 hours a day and were kept in worse conditions; they were beaten, starved, and had barely any time to rest; due to these conditions, many of the laborers died (almost 15,000), and that is from where the name 'death Railway' is derived from.

The bridge of river kwai was initially finished in February 1943, but since it was a wooden bridge and was a prime target for Allied bombing, the forced laborers had to repair the bridge repeatedly, which adds more weightage to the whole historical scene exponentially.


History of The Bridge of The River Kwai


The Bridge of The River Kwai now

It may seem unsettling, but today, the bridge of The River Kwai is a popular touring spot; people near Bangkok or Kanchanaburi Province plan their trip to the bridge and the riverside to view the scenic beauty around the area. There are many national parks there, plenty of temples such as Khmer temples and the raw beauty of mother nature, including the Erawan Falls, large water pools perfect for swimming; there are bamboo rafting facilities, jungle trekking, and so much more.

Despite the dark history of the bridge and commendation of the place with artifacts of the tome, memorial walking tails, tour guides telling tales, and the JEATH museum that houses all the historical belongings of world war ll, touring the area reinforces the sense of comfort with the unease eerie aura of the place.

Disconnecting the history from the scenic beauty and recreational activities may not be the easiest, but the limitless possibilities to enjoy nature's paradise will elevate your Thailand trip exponentially once you do.

For an experience that makes your water eyes from the history and happiness from the fun activities, The bridge of The River Kwai is a must place to visit.