The River Kwai, or Khwae Noi as it’s more correctly known, is located in Western Thailand. Near but not crossing over the border of Myanmar, the river begins at the confluence of Ranti, Songkalia and Bikhli Rivers, and merges with the Khwae Yai River at Kanchanaburi, a town located 180 kms west of Bangkok. Both rivers converge into the Mae Klong River, which empties into the Gulf of Thailand.
The River Kwai is historically known for David Lean’s film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, in which Australian, British and Dutch prisoners of war were forced by the Japanese to build two parallel bridges during World War II. The two bridges, spanning Mae Klong River, just north of Kanchanaburi, were to be a part of the Burma Railway, also known as the Railway of Death, for the many lives lost during its construction.
The first temporary bridge was made of wood, while the second, which still exists, was made of concrete and steel. The bridge was a target of frequent allied bombing raids, and was rebuilt after the war ended, as is evident in the replacement of two curved spans with two straight ones.
With the bridge still in use today, it is now surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops. While visitors on trips to Thalland can walk along the bridge, there are still 3 trains a day that pass through each way, following the historic route from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok Railway Station. The city of Kanchanaburi is home to Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, The Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, and the JEATH War Museum, which are must-see museums.
Visitors can stay overnight in a River Kwai Jungle Raft, a floating hotel situated in the river, and journey along the River Kwai to enjoy some of Thailand’s harmonious nature. There are beautiful waterfalls to bathe in, wild orchids to collect on jungle treks, deep and fabled caves to explore, and native Mon villages to visit on a Thai vacation.
An excursion to the River Kwai is a great way to experience some of Thailand’s history, culture, and nature.
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