Kanchanaburi ~ In The Land of Trains and History

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December 20th 2007
Published: December 30th 2007
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Day 2 ~ History looks on in Kanchanaburi

After the "not so friendly" breakfast encounter, we left the comfy Somerset Residence this morning. The taxi whizzed us to the Southern Bus Terminal in the suburbs for our 2 hrs bus journey to Kanchanaburi. (Tip: Do not be shy to "remind" your dear taxi uncle to switch on their meters in case they have "conveniently forgotten". Flag down fare is about S$1.50. A journey within the city limits shouldn't go beyond $4.00.)

Lying some 127km west of Bangkok, we arrived safely at Kanchanaburi's bus station shortly after 12.30pm. After checking into River Kwai Hotel at the town centre (feel free to read our reviews here), we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Railway Museum and the Kanchanaburi War Cemetry. For first-timers, we lost half an hour finding our bearings in town.

Our pit stop was the Thailand and Burma Railway Centre (aka the Railway Museum). It was easy to be affected as the moving display of pictures, exhibits and videos of the Death Railway and the POWs stood before our very eyes.

The verdict: Definitely worth the 80 baht (S$3.50) entry fees we paid for. If you are a hardcore history and train buffs like me, this is the place for you. On a brighter note, I was glad even for A who did not show much interest for History in school would be captivated by the materials in the Museum!

We paid our final respects at the peaceful Kanchanaburi War Cemetry, which provided the final resting place for the 7,000 odd POWs who died while building the 415km Railway line between Thailand and Burma (1942-1943). Official death toll stood at about 116,000 (100,000 civilians and 16,000 POWs). Their legacy has been left behind till this day. 3 daily train services continue to ply along the Death Railway route, providing an affordable transport link for the local people.

The verdict: The beautifully landscaped War Cemetry provided a peaceful place for self reflection especially after a "sorrowful" visit at the Railway Museum. Give her a visit if you are not "Ban Dang". It was a nice ending for our Historical Tour of Kanchanaburi Town.

For tomorrow, we finally have a chance to venture out of town for a ride on the historical Death Railway.

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