Bangkok Journals

The Bridge on the River Kwai - Katachanaburi

A September 1998 trip to Bangkok by actonsteve

Erawan National Park Photo, Bangkok, Thailand More Photos
Quote: A small tropical town in western Thailand with the river Kwai meandering through, handy for trekking, elephant riding and Erawan National Park. It also has a dark side, the start of the infamous 'Death Railway'. A must for any traveller visiting Siam.

The Bridge on the River Kwai - Katachanaburi

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Overview

This is why you came to the tropics Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
West of Bangkok, tucked away in jungly hills is the town of Katchanaburi. This is where the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai' stands along with trekking, elephant rides, waterfalls and floating guesthouses, all ready to greet the traveller. But it has a dark underbelly, and was the start of the 'Death Railway' whose cemeteries and memorials are a must for any visitor to Siam.Quick Tips: Trains leave from Bangkok Noi station which is on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya river. But cheap backpacker buses are available along the Khao San Road and will drop you directly outside your accomodation. There are number of excellent tour agencies which do trips in the surrounding area including tre...Read More
Quote:
This is a huge guesthouse on the banks of the river Kwai and charges only 150 baht a night (£1.50). The rooms are around a green, which is lit by globes at night and it overlooks the brown lazy river Kwai and its jungle banks. You can pay extra and stay on a houseboat bobbing on the river. The main restaurant is large and the food good and cheap, and the place is run very courteously and cheerfully. Outside are excellent tour agencies which do economical trips to the Death Railway and Erawan National park. My only gripe about the Jolly Frog is that is is too large and can be a little impersonal at times. But if you enjoy the tropics and cicadas chirping at night outside your room - this place i...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 14, 2000

Jolly Frog Guesthouse
Maenam Kwai Road
Bangkok, Thailand

JEATH War Museum

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Attraction | "The JEATH museum"

Quote:
There is a very dark side to Katchanaburi. JEATH stands for Japan, England, Australia, Thailand and Holland - the five nations who lived and died on the 'Death Railway'. The town contains two cemeteries to the dead, which number over 100,000, and are just as much part of Katchanaburi as the bridge and houseboat guesthouses. The best of these and the most moving is the JEATH museum. This is a little way out of town, to the south, along the Pak Praek Road. It can be easily walked or cycled and opposite is the gaudy Wat Chakkadan, a fully fledged Buddhist monastery. The abbot of Wat Chakkadan opened the museum twenty years ago to remind future generations of what happened in the war. Following the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 9, 2001

JEATH War Museum
Wat Chaichumphon
Bangkok, Thailand

Erawan National Park

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Attraction | "A touch of paradise - Erawan National Park"

Erawan National Park Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Although I saw the islands and the ruins of Ayutthaya - I still count this as one of my highlights of Thailand. Not far from Katchanaburi, you can take a tour or catch bus 8170 to the entrance - this national park is not to be missed, especially if you have never seen the jungle before. What makes it famous and draws in the Thais are its eight waterfalls, one after the other along a 3 mile trail leading up into the jungle. The jungle itself is very exciting, trees block off the sunlight, insects buzz around and the humidity could bowl over an elephant. If you are lucky you can spot birds, lizards, butterflies and monkeys - there are still elephants and tigers in Erawan but they are very rare....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 21, 2000

Erawan National Park
western Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

Quote:
This is the draw which brings people to Katchanaburi, the bridge immortalised by Pierre Brouelle's novel and David Lean's film. In actuality, the real bridge was destroyed at the end of World War II and this is a black steel girdered replacement - but it still has presence. Constructed by POW labour during WWII when 60,000 men toiled to build it in horrendous conditions (my grandfathers brother was one). The railway was to provide easy access for Japanese troops to reach Burma and it is estimated that one man died for each girder of track. It is quite a walk from the centre of Katachanburi, so taking a tuk-tuk or hiring a bicycle as we did is a good option. It is west of town along the Manaem Kwa...Read More