Published: July 19th 2012July 19th 2012
Finally left Bangkok and headed west to Kanchanaburi, the city (in)famous for its Death Railway, which was built by the Japanese using POW forced labour during WWII. Literally hundreds of thousands of European and Asian labourers perished under the utterly inhumane working conditions, all to realize ambitious Japanese plans to connect Thailand and Burma by rail through otherwise seemingly impenetrable mountainous terrain, as a new transportation link for their war supplies. The Death Railway of course bridges the equally (in)famous River Khwai, whose mention must certainly bring to many a mind images of the movie of the same name.
It was especially poignant to read about the plights of the labourers, and to see for myself the exact location of their efforts, in what must have literally been a living hell. Kanchanaburi today of course is a peaceful city with a relatively small town feel, one that thankfully now evokes more positive vibes, feeding off the bustling tourism generated from its otherwise depressing history. Just outside Kanchanaburi also lay the Erawan National Park and its waterfalls, which I visited and trekked through.
Additionally I should mention meeting Adrian and Ashlie, a couple from Texas doing a long trip too,
Blue Star Guesthouse
Lovely bamboo bungalow/ huts by the river.
and who were also staying at the same Blue Star Guesthouse as me. Adrian had in fact already been travelling for several years since he graduated from college, and was now introducing Ashlie to long-term travel, starting with the very friendly Land of Smiles. They had also just started their own blog, the very aptly-named www.thebeautifuloccupation.com
. The writing is extremely thoughtful, and the pictures very professional (Ashlie is a photographer), so do pay a visit! At least you’ll get to see Kanchanaburi through better lenses than my iPhone!
There are more photos below